It’s no secret that ice cream is the ultimate dessert to enjoy on a hot summer day. When I was a kid, and through high school, my parents and I would travel to Sanibel Island, Florida every spring break to meet up with my dad’s family. It was a vacation that I looked forward to every year.
I enjoyed the long, hot days of swimming in the pool and lounging on the beach while temperatures in Wisconsin were fluctuating between winter and early spring.
One of my favorite things to do while I was in Sanibel was enjoy ice cream in the middle of the blistering hot day. There was this little ice cream shop located in an outdoor strip mall. You ordered your ice cream and ate it on the deck. Life was good.
I still remember a particular flavor they offered, it was called Sanibel Crunch. I can’t remember exactly all the ingredients or flavors that were in it, but I remember it was a vanilla ice cream that was loaded with crunchy ingredients. The ingredients that stuck with me were some kind of nuts, shredded coconut, and some mini chocolate chips.
The idea of making a version of Sanibel Crunch ice cream at home popped into mind. I immediately thought of creating a coconut ice cream, rather than your traditional cream base, mostly because I am addicted to that subtle coconut flavor.
“Hi, my name is Emily and I am a coconutaholic.”
To keep things simple I mixed in some toasted coconut flakes, toasted pecans, and of course, mini chocolate chips. They are the ultimate combination!
This vegan coconut crunch ice cream turned out beautifully. It wasn’t exactly what I remember getting in Florida, as a kid, but it is a delicious runner-up.
I just know you will love it. It’s:
Cold & creamy
Subtly coconut flavored
Easy to make
Did I mention that it is the perfect companion to my rhubarb peach crisp? Double yum!
- 2 cans full fat, unsweetened coconut milk
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons agave nectar
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons good quality whiskey or bourbon (optional but it helps to prevent ice crystals from forming; you can’t taste it)
- ¾ cup raw pecans, chopped
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
- ½ cup mini dark chocolate chips
- Place the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer for at least 8 hours.
- In a small sauce pan bring both cans of coconut milk to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat. Add the agave nectar, coconut oil, and salt. Puree the coconut milk in a blender, or use an immersion blender for 1 minute, or until frothy. This process helps to break up all the fat so that the ice cream is smooth when it’s frozen.
- Transfer the coconut milk mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the vanilla and the whiskey. Allow to come to room temperature. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 to 5 hours, or until completely cooled.
- Once the ice cream mixture is completely chilled turn on your ice cream maker; follow manufacturer’s instructions for how to use the machine.
- Add the coconut cream and allow the mixture to churn for 20 to 45 minutes, or until the mixture has become frozen and creamy. It should be the consistency of soft serve.
- While the ice cream is mixing preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place your chopped pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, spread them out evenly. Toast them for about 5 to 8 minutes, flipping half way through. They should become browned and fragrant. Allow them to cool completely before adding to the ice cream.
- If you need to toast your coconut flakes spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet and place them in the 350 degree oven for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they are slightly browned. Keep an eye on them because they can burn quickly. Allow to cool completely before adding to ice cream.
- Once the ice cream has turned to the consistency of soft serve, add in most of the pecans, chocolate chips, and coconut, reserving some for topping. Allow the ice cream maker to stir in the pecans, chocolate chips, and coconut.
- Transfer the ice cream from the ice cream maker to a freezer-safe container (I like to use a bread pan). Smooth the ice cream out evenly. Sprinkle on the remainder of the coconut, pecans, and chocolate chips, cover and place in the freezer for at least 4 hours to harden. (Or you can eat it right out of the ice cream maker; it will just have similar consistency to soft serve).
- Allow the ice cream to sit out at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes to soften before scooping. Serve immediately. Store the remainder in the freezer for up to 1 month.