Nothing says fun like frozen desserts–– the symbol of warm weather refreshment and birthday celebrations. For those who follow dairy-free, low-sugar, or egg-free diets conventional ice cream is off limits. But who wants to miss out on the dessert course, particularly if that means shunning frozen desserts during the heat of summer?
The first of it’s kind
During the summer of 2007, I started working on what was then the first cookbook to feature delicious, naturally sweetened dairy-free frozen desserts made from coconut milk with wheat- and gluten-free, naturally sweetened cookies, fruit compotes, and sauces. This was before the coconut milk ice cream craze began.
I filled the book with information about the health benefits of coconut; tips for using a non-caloric herbal sweetener, stevia; charts to help people modify their favorite dessert recipes; a guide to buying ice cream makers and other kitchen tools; an ingredient glossary; 80 recipes with more than 200 variations; clear and detailed instructions; nutrition breakdowns, four appendices, a thorough index, and illustrations.
A dream come true
During the summer of 2008, I published the book as The Ice Dream Cookbook: Dairy-Free Ice Cream Alternatives with Gluten-Free Cookies, Compotes & Sauces. It was my attempt to show people how to make the diva of desserts healthier—not just lower in fat and dairy-free but also lower in sugar.
Since then, many people have published dairy-free coconut milk ice cream recipes online and some have featured them in cookbooks; however, many of their recipes contain 50% to 100% more added sugar than my recipes. This is an important distinction because high intakes of sugar has been linked to so many health problems, including major degenerative diseases. According to USDA figures, per capita consumption of sugar and other caloric sweeteners rose 19% between 1970 and 2003, from 119 pounds to 142 pounds per person per year.
According to health experts, we should be consuming no more than 10 teaspoons of added sugar per day (and less would be even better!) on a 2000 calorie a day diet. Surveys show that most of Americans are consuming at least twice that amount. “Sugar consumption is off the charts,” said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “Added sugars–found largely in junk foods such as soft drinks, cakes, and cookies—squeeze healthier foods out of the diet. That sugar now accounts for 16 percent of the calories consumed by the average American and 20 percent of teenagers’ calories.” For some, sugar intake makes up an even higher proportion of their daily food intake.
How do you satisfy your sweet tooth without refined sugar?
How do you make delicious desserts with minimal added sweeteners? My cookbooks and recipes show you how to use fresh fruit, dried fruits, and 100% fruit juices or with modest amounts of honey or maple syrup combined with the non-caloric herbal sweetener stevia to create satisfying, low sugar desserts. Even people who thought they didn’t like stevia, have tried many of my recipes and found that they do like the results. This is because of the brands and forms of stevia I use and the way that I use it. How much I use and what I combine it with to smooth out the flavor, make all the difference.
Don’t be shy, give it a try
I encourage you to try my Ice Dream Recipes so you can see for yourself whether my recipes are comparable to other frozen desserts you’ve dried. Many of my students, clients, and friends have said that my Ice Dream Cookbook is the best collection of dairy-free, gluten-free, low-sugar frozen desserts they’ve tried. I’ve posted several recipes from this book right here on my blog. You can find them by clicking on the links below. You’ll even find Youtube videos I’ve created for some of my frozen desserts and sauce recipes.
My book contains flavors of coconut milk ice cream alternatives that you won’t find in stores and they’re much lower in sugar than the conventional brands, even those found in natural foods stores. I’ve posted my Mango Orange Ice Dream recipe below. I would love to hear your comments after you’ve tried it.
Mango-Orange Ice Dream
Hands-on: 30 minutes Churning: 20 to 25 minutes Yield: 4 to 5 cups; 8 servings
Mangoes give this frozen dessert a sherbet-like texture. You can use any variety of mango, just makes sure its ripe. A ripe mango should yield to gentle pressure and give off a fruity fragrance. Store hard mangoes at room temperature in an open bowl, a wire basket, or in a paper bag next to at least one ripe banana or apple. The ripe fruit gives off ethylene gasses that will help the mango ripen faster. Once ripe, use the mangoes within a couple of days or refrigerate to prevent spoilage.
Note: I recommend that you buy an extra mango or two, just in case one turns out bad––which you won’t discover until you cut it open. You can always peel, seed, slice, and freeze the excess for a future fruit smoothy or fruit sauce.
1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange or tangerine juice (see variations below)
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin or 3/4 teaspooon agar agar powder (not the flakes)
3 tablespoons honey; additional 1 to 2 tablespoons as needed
1/4 teaspoon pure stevia extract powder* or clear stevia extract liquid; additional 1/4 teaspoon as needed (Nu Naturals or Wisdom Natural Brands)
1/8 teaspoon finely ground, unrefined sea salt (Celtic, Redmond Real Salt, or Himalayan Sea Salt)
2 large or 3 medium-size ripe mangoes
2 cups unsweetened, preservative-free coconut milk (regular, not lite)
1 tablespoon coconut rum or dark rum, optional
* If you use powdered stevia, make sure it contains no fillers or starches, just pure stevia extract powder.
1 serving (regular): 173 calories, 2 grams protein, 19 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams fat, 56 mg sodium
1 serving (half lite): 138 calories, 1.3 grams protein, 17 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams fat, 47 mg sodium
* Replace orange or tangerine juice with pineapple juice or apricot, peach, or nectarine juice or nectar above.
* Mango-Hazelnut Ice Dream: Add 1/2 chopped, toasted hazelnuts, skins removed when the mixture reaches the soft serve stage (thick, fluffy, and voluminous). Mix for 1 or 2 more minutes.
* Mango-Ginger Ice Dream: Add 2 tablespoons peeled and finely chopped or grated fresh gingerroot or ginger juice to the blender or food processor with the mango in step #3. If desired, when the mixture reaches the soft serve stage in step #4, add 1 cup of crumbled gluten-free Ginger Snap Cookies to the machine. Mix for 1 or 2 more minutes.
* Tropical Mango Ice Dream: Replace orange/tangerine juice with pineapple juice in step #1. Add 1/4 chopped, unsweetened dried pineapple bits and 1 teaspoon grated fresh lime zest to the machine when the mixture reaches the soft serve stage. Mix for 1 or 2 more minutes.
* Lite Mango Ice Dream: Replace half of the coconut milk with lite (reduced fat) coconut milk. Alternatively, use 100% lite coconut milk, but plan to use the batch immediately or within 24 hours before it becomes hard and icy.