Otherwise known as the loves of my life (third to John and the pets, that is), nature’s candy, perfection in one bite…
Clearly I adore these plump and naturally sweet little pillows of deliciousness. Delectable as is, stuffed with cheese and nuts, wrapped with prosciutto, stirred into oatmeal, baked into quick breads and muffins, or dunked into peanut butter, dates have become a staple in my pantry.
I’ve recently become enamored with using Medjool dates as the sole sweetener in desserts, as a healthy and unrefined sugar substitute. Thus, when I came across Wing-It Vegan‘s recipe for Date-Sweetened Vanilla Ice Cream, I knew I had to make it immediately.
As expected, it was delicious! After polishing off the batch of rich vegan ice cream, I set to work altering the recipe to be a bit lighter. I used a combination of light coconut milk and coconut milk beverage, and turned to Wheeler Del Toro‘s technique of creating a “slurry” to thicken the ice cream base. I also tossed in a touch of vodka in an effort to keep the ice cream from freezing rock solid.
The verdict? Although not as rich as the original recipe, this lightened version is mighty good. The cooking technique ensures a thick and creamy base, and the dates lend the perfect amount of gentle sweetness. About 10 minutes on the counter at room temperature renders the ice cream soft enough to scoop.
Date Coconut Milk Ice Cream
inspired by Wing-It Vegan
- 8 oz pitted soft Medjool dates, coarsely chopped (about 2 unpacked cups chopped dates)
- boiling water
- 1 cup So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk Beverage, divided
- 1 (14 oz) can light coconut milk
- 3 Tbsp arrowroot powder
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 1 Tbsp vodka, optional (this is used to keep the ice cream softer and more scoop-able as it freezes)
- Place chopped dates in a medium bowl. Cover with boiling water and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain.
- While the dates are soaking, whisk together 1/4 cup coconut milk beverage and arrowroot powder in small bowl to create a “slurry”; set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining 3/4 cup coconut milk beverage and light coconut milk. Bring to a simmer (bubbles are starting to form on the surface, but are not rapidly breaking), stirring often; remove from heat, and immediately whisk in the coconut milk beverage/arrowroot slurry mixture. Mixture will thicken noticeably. Whisk in the vanilla bean paste or extract and vodka (if using).
- Combine drained dates and thickened coconut milk mixture in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender. Process/blend until well-combined and smooth. There will be some very small pieces of date remaining; if you would prefer the ice cream without the bits of date, simply pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. I kept it as is straight from the food processor
- Pour ice cream base into a large bowl and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2-3 hours. Freeze according to ice cream manufacturer’s instructions. Serve immediately as soft serve or chill in the freezer until “ripened” (hardened).