*based off a recipe by Ambitious Kitchen*
Guys. This was the first ice cream I have ever made, and it is still my favorite. It is sweet (but not too sweet!), creamy (but not too rich!), and perfect for a summer afternoon. The blueberries are refreshingly tart, the coconut base is luscious and smooth, and the lavender lends a comforting note that will take you back to summers of relaxing in the hot sun and enjoying an ice cream cone. This is the ice cream that dog day dreams are made of. I wish I could take credit for the original recipe, but it comes from Ambitious Kitchen, who creates healthy (and delicious!) recipes. I added a few twists to make it even tastier, but honestly, I could have devoured it all straight from the ice cream machine. If you really want to experience this ice cream in all its luscious, floral goodness, though, find yourself some quality balsamic vinegar and some wildflower honey to drizzle over the top. I used lavender-infused balsamic from a local oil shop, Art of Oil, and lavender honey from Blue Ridge Apiaries, a beekeeper who sells goods at the Saturday farmer’s market here. (Can you tell I like lavender? That poor is going to be plucked bare by the end of summer!)
Although you will need an ice cream maker and some patience for this recipe, don’t let it scare you—the waiting is the hardest part! You will also need culinary lavender, but I’ll let you in on a secret: I used the lavender from my garden that I bought from Lowe’s. If you have lavender in your yard or garden, it’s probably edible (I don’t know if there’s any kind of lavender that you’re not supposed to eat.) To dry it, simply cut the buds roughly four nodes above the wood, bind them together with string or rubber bands, and use a paper clip to hang them somewhere dark and dry. After two weeks, your bookshelf/cupboard/closet will smell like a dream, you’ll have homemade dried lavender perfect for making scrumptious floral recipes, like this blueberry lavender coconut ice cream!
Ah, just look at that drippy, frosty goodness…I’m wishing I had a scoop right now! Do yourself a favor and make this ice cream. It’s worth every minute!
- 2 cans full fat coconut milk or coconut cream
- 1/2 cup regular coconut milk or almond milk
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender
- 1 and 1/2 cup blueberries (Ambitious Kitchen suggests wild ones, which I’m sure would be wonderful)
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar, turbinado sugar, or brown sugar
- For topping: fresh blueberries, quality balsamic vinegar, honey
- Place both canned coconut milk, light coconut milk, and honey in a medium saucepan and whisk over medium heat until combined and mixture starts to simmer (do not let it boil!)
- Once it is simmering slightly, whisk once more and then pour into a blender with lavender and vanilla. Blend for about 30 seconds and let cool for a bit.
- When the mixture is cool, move to a large bowl and cover directly with plastic wrap, so that the plastic is touching the liquid. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours—do not skip this step! If you have an ice and salt machine, place the canister in the freezer for the time that the milk is chilling. (I left mine overnight)
- While the mixture is chilling, add blueberries and sugar to a saucepan and cook over medium heat, mashing the berries as they warm. Continue to stir until mixture thickens like syrup (around 15-20 minutes) then cover and refrigerate.
- Once the ice cream is chilled, pour into cold canister and churn according to directions. (Optional: add a splash of unflavored alcohol like vodka to the milk before you churn to keep it from freezing as hard. I did not do this with this recipe, but it worked well for me in other recipes. However, this one was still good without it, so it probably doesn’t matter all that much!) The thicker you can get it, the better, but I wouldn’t go over 40 minutes. If using a Rubbermaid or another normal container, place it in the freezer while the ice cream churns.
- Just before the ice cream finishes churning, take out your Rubbermaid or ice cream container of choice. Get a spatula, paper towels, and the blueberry sauce and prepare for the race. Once the ice cream is out, work fast! Pour half of the ice cream in the container and spoon half of the blueberry syrup over the top then repeat with the rest. Swirl with a knife or spatula to create layers. Cover directly with plastic wrap, making sure it touches all the corners (this is very important! It prevents ice crystals from forming on the top, which taste pretty nasty and watery) Quickly place in the freezer—the less it melts, the smoother your ice cream will be!
- Freeze 4-6 hours. Before serving, take the ice cream out and let it thaw for 20-30 minutes so that it is scoopable.
- Top with blueberries, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Enjoy!