When I think of summer I think of the cool dishes that make summertime meals so refreshingly satisfying––salads of every creation, chilled soups, blanched veggies with dips, salsa, cool drinks, like stevia sweetened lemonade and herbal sun tea, and juicy fruits. I think of frozen desserts as the epitome of summertime desserts. Nothing says fun like ice cream, the symbol of warm weather refreshment and birthday parties (along with cake). A simple scoop goes with just about anything from cookies, cakes, and brownies to fruit compotes, crisps, and poached fruits to fruit salads, and sauces.
Going dairy free? Reducing your sugar intake?
If you or your loved ones need to avoid dairy products, soy, refined sugar and artificial colorings and flavoring, or you don’t care for the aftertaste of soy or rice based frozen desserts, you may wonder what you can eat when everyone around you is indulging in their favorite frozen treats.
The good news is that you can still enjoy the silky smooth texture of freshly churned ice cream, the nostalgia of sucking on popsicles, and the satisfaction of sharing chocolate or caramel covered treats with your family and friends.
With a little ingenuity, you can enjoy the scrumptious sweets of summer. Your secret weapon will be an arsenal of remakes of your family’s favorite recipes using wholesome, natural ingredients in innovative ways.
Coconut milk can stand in for milk and cream to make nondairy forms of familiar frozen desserts. Unsweetened cocoa powder and unsweetened baker’s chocolate can stand in for sweetened chocolate in less refined versions of the sauces and popsicles you’ve known and loved. Vine ripened fruits can yield delectable sauces that rival store bought varieties. Honey (or agave nectar if you’re vegan) –––with or without the addition of a little bit of stevia extract powder or liquid––can replace refined sugar.
Beyond stevia stereotypes
If you haven’t liked stevia in the past, give it another try measured meticulously and used judiciously in combination with a little bit of honey or agave nectar. I’ve watched people change their minds about it for the better with my recipes.
Conventional eaters accustomed to sugar sweetened treats have sampled many of my dessert recipes and said that they tasted better than conventional ice cream, blondies, and sauces. So don’t be shy, give my recipes and techniques a try.
How to convert from sugar to honey or stevia
My Ice Dream Cookbook contains a chart that shows you how to convert recipes from sugar to honey (or agave nectar if you’re vegan) and then how to cut the amount of honey in half and supplement with trace amounts of stevia to reduce total sugar calories.
If you haven’t already acquired a copy of my this one-of-a-kind, first-of-it’s kind book, The Ice Dream Cookbook: Dairy Free Ice Cream Alternatives with Gluten Free Cookies, Compotes and Sauces You can order it from Planetary Press.
Here’s a sample of one of the recipes from my new book that uses juicy summer berries. For additional recipes, check the side bar of my blog and the reviews posted here.
Strawberry Ice Dream
Hands-on: 25 minutes/ Churning: 20 to 25 minutes/Yield: 4 1/2- 5 1/2 cups; 8 servings
Look for small, preferably organic, strawberries grown in your state, region, or bio-region. They should have dark red skins with moist green leaves and stems, and should smell sweetly aromatic. Avoid berries with white or green shoulders and wilted leaves; they were picked long ago and far away, before they were fully ripened.
For a special treat, top this Ice Dream with Hot Fudge or Chocolate Sauce, or layer a scoopful over my Gluten-Free Brownies or Chocolate Chip Blondies, or arrange it next to a scoop of Dark Chocolate, Chocolate Hazelnut, Blueberry, Peach, or Vanilla Ice Dream (see index of The Ice Dream Cookbook for recipes).
FYI: Did you ever wonder what it means to hull strawberries? Simply cut out the stem with a small, sharp paring knife. Mystery solved.
2 cups unsweetened, preservative-free coconut milk (regular, not lite!), divided
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin or 3/4 teaspoon agar agar powder (not flakes)
1/3 cup honey or agavé nectar, additional 1 to 2 tablespoons as needed
1/8 teaspoon finely ground, unrefined sea salt
3 heaping cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, drained, and hulled (see notes above)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pure stevia extract powder or clear stevia extract in the recipe above.
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or alcohol-free vanilla flavoring
1. Add 1/3 cup coconut milk to a small saucepan. Slowly sprinkle with gelatin or agar agar powder. Let stand for 2 minutes until it softens and dry spots disappear. Warm over medium-low heat, without stirring, until gelatin or agar agar dissolves. Scrape the mixture into a blender, Vita-Mix, or food processor. Add 1/3 cup honey and sea salt. Cover and process until smooth. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.
2. Purée the strawberries in a blender, food processor, or Vita-Mix. You should have about 2 cups purée. Combine this with the gelatin mixture, remaining coconut milk, stevia, and vanilla. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides with a spatula. For a sweeter taste, add additional honey or agave nectar 1 tablespoon at a time or stevia 1/8 teaspoon at a time. Blend, taste, and repeat if needed.
3. Pour into one or more wide mouth jars. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before churning or cool the mixture more quickly using an ice bath.
4. Scrape the chilled custard into the canister of your ice cream maker. Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve immediately or spoon into several 8- to 16-ounce freezer-safe containers. Cover and freeze for 3 or more hours for a firmer texture.
5. Soften solidly frozen dessert by placing it in the refrigerator for 30 to 45 minutes or on the counter for 15 to 30 minutes before serving.
* Lite Strawberry Ice Dream: Replace half of the coconut milk with lite (reduced fat) coconut milk. Plan to use it within 36 hours before it becomes hard and icy.
* If you don’t have stevia: Use 1/3 to 1/2 cup honey or agavé nectar in the recipe above.
For the Hot Fudge Sauce, stay tuned. I’ll post it next week.
Source: The Ice Dream Cookbook: Dairy Free Ice Cream Alternatives with Gluten Free Cookies, Compotes and Sauces. Click here to order and receive prompt shipment.