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The 25 minute bus ride to and from work is my least productive time of the day. I might check Facebook or the blogs I keep up with, but mostly I just space out. My thoughts don’t usually get much deeper than wondering why the guy sitting next to me has bad breath even though he is breathing through his nose or what the bus driver does if he has to go to the bathroom mid-shift. Occasionally, though, my mindless wanderings can lead to something good. This week it was ice cream.

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I’ve failed at making ice cream more often than I have succeeded. Attempts at homemade frozen yogurt have yielded frozen bricks once it has a chance to sit in the freezer. Real ice cream doesn’t always cut it for me because there’s something really counterintuitive about heating up a kitchen to make something frozen.

Given the quantity I eat, it was time to come up with a quick, healthier alternative that I could make at home.

So all of my ice cream issues were solved with two ice-cold cans of coconut milk. Now it’s almost too easy to whip up a batch. The only planning ahead is remembering to keep a couple cans of coconut milk in your refrigerator at all times…just in case.

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This time I played up the coconut flavor by adding in two big handfuls of deeply toasted shredded coconut at the last minutes of churning. I’ve also made a chocolate version by whisking in cocoa powder to the coconut milk. I used honey as a sweetener the first time and can imagine real sugar does the trick as well. Agave is great if you’re looking to keep it vegan. This ice cream can be made a thousand different ways depending on what you have on hand.

Toasted Coconut Ice Cream
{gluten-free, vegan}

2 cans of full-fat coconut milk
½ cup agave
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 big pinches of salt
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Optional: ½ cup fruit puree*

Refrigerate cans of coconut milk overnight, or for at least eight hours.

To toast the coconut flakes, heat in a dry skillet over medium heat, tossing every minute or so until they are thoroughly browned. Chill in refrigerator or freezer while you’re making the ice cream.

Empty coconut milk cans into a large mixing bowl and add in agave, vanilla and salt. Whisk very well or use an electric mixer to combine the ingredients thoroughly.

Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and churn according to the machine’s instructions. When the mixture is a thick frozen yogurt consistency, add in the coconut flakes and let churn until thoroughly mixed in. Next, drizzle in the fruit puree (if using) and let churn for another minute or so. Serve immediately if you like softer ice cream, or freeze for a few hours for a more solid texture.

*Fruit Puree: I made a raspberry puree using raspberries we picked last summer and froze. Once they were thawed, I blended them in a Vitamix with a tablespoon or two of water. Next, I pushed the puree through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds. Voila!

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