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The Perfect Dairy Free Ice Cream Base

I simply couldn’t let summer come to a close without taking one honest to goodness stab at dairy free ice cream.  And I’m not talking about a stab that kind of sort of tastes like ice cream but still makes me long for the real thing.  I’m talking about the “holy mother of Mary that’s the best dang ice cream I’ve had in a long time and I demand proof to the contrary that it’s dairy free” kind.  That’s what I aimed for.  No less would suffice.  And honestly?  I’m still pinching myself to make sure I’m not crazy, but dag gone it, I think I’ve done it.  This one’s a winner.  You know you’ve done something right when your child who can still eat dairy actually requests that you brew up another batch of the milk free version.
We’ve had a lot of fun playing with this basic recipe and have concocted several different flavors over the course of the summer; each one better than the next.  I’m going to share three of our favorites below and I hope that you’ll have fun trying out a couple or better yet, attempting to create a few of your own!

Let’s swirl a little ice cream shall we?   Start out with a handful of eggs and a pour of sugar.  Whisk them together and add into a medium saucepan.  The picture below just happens to be mint chocolate chip – yummzies!!  The mint leaves are added into the eggs for that version.  Leave them out if you’re working with either of the other two recipes.

Now, turn your burner up to medium and whisk the mixture constantly until it begins to thicken.  Remove the pot from the stove and whisk it for about 30 seconds more to form a custard.  Don’t panic if some of the egg cooks up.  It happens on occasion.  We’re going to blend the bejebuzz out of it in the next step anyway, so all will once again be right with the world.

Ok, so you have a custard.  At this point you’re going to grab up a blender and pour that yellow gold right on in.  Add the coconut cream and the salt and give ‘er a whirl.

Notice, and this is REALLY important, how my plastic blender cap is a bit cockeyed and my top is just sitting on top?  When you blend hot liquids you must, Must, MUST leave a bit of an opening for the heat to escape.  If you don’t you’ll have a hot mess all over you and your kitchen.  Literally.

So it’s blended and your base is done.  Just like that.  All you need to do it cool it for at least 8 hours or overnight and then run it through an ice cream machine.  Of course base is boring so add a bit of pizazz into your blender.  For the mint chocolate chip I cooked the mint leaves with the eggs, blended them in for a bit of green (you can remove them after cooking if you want), and added a teaspoon of peppermint extract.  Not a mint fan?  How about coffee?  In addition to the base ingredients, add a bit of strong coffee and some kahlua to the blender.  Mix and chill.  Delish.  Maybe you’re in the mood to embrace the coconut flavor.  Simply add a banana and a teaspoon of vanilla to the base and chill.   As you can see the possibilities are endless.

Enough chatter.  I’m off to scoop myself a bowlful of homemade ice cream.  I highly recommend you grab a bowl and a spoon and join me.

The Perfect Dairy Free Ice Cream Base

Yield: about 1 Quart Ice Cream

Total Time: 45 min

Ingredients:

4 Whole Eggs
2 Egg Yolks
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 14 Oz. Can Coconut Cream
1/4 tsp Salt

For the Mint Chocolate Chip:

10-12 Fresh Mint Leaves
1 tsp Peppermint Extract
4 Oz. Dark Chocolate, Roughly chopped

For the Kahlua Coffee:

6 Tbsp Kahlua
1/3 Cup Strong Coffee

For the Hawaiian Delight:

1 Ripe Banana
1/2 Cup Shredded Coconut
1 tsp Vanilla
1/3 Cup Macadamia Nuts, Roughly Chopped (optional)

Directions:

For the base you'll want to whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar in a bowl.

Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and heat on medium, whisking constantly.

Once the mixture begins to thicken, remove it from the burner and continue whisking for about 30 seconds longer.

Transfer the custard to a blender, add in the coconut cream and salt. Spin until smooth.*

Fridge at least 8 hours or overnight before running through an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers directions.

*NOTE: When blending hot liquid in a blender, ALWAYS make sure to leave a little bit of the top off so that the heat has a place to escape. I usually take the plastic top off my lid and just set it back on cockeyed so it covers the top but lets in a little air. If you don't leave a crack open, chances are high you could get an ice creamy mess!!

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For the Mint Chocolate Chip:

Add the mint leaves into the egg/yolk/sugar mixture and proceed with cooking the custard.

After transferring custard to the blender, in addition to the salt and coconut cream, add in the peppermint extract.

Blend smooth and proceed with the above mentioned fridge time.

When running the ice cream through the maker, add in the chocolate for the last 15 minutes of your ice cream machine's run time.

For the Kahlua Coffee:

Make the base as described above.

In addition to adding coconut cream and salt, pour in the measured amounts of kahlua and coffee listed above.

Blend until smooth and continue on with directions above.

For the Hawaiian Delight:

Make the base as described above.

In addition to adding coconut cream and salt, add in one ripe banana.

Blend until smooth.

Proceed with the aforementioned fridge time.

When running the ice cream through the maker, add in the shredded coconut and nuts for the last 15 minutes of your ice cream machine's run time.