Dairy-Free Ice Cream Tips From Wooden Spoons Workshop’s Deb Cazavilan

coconut_DF_icecreamEarlier on our blog, shared eight tips for foolproof homemade ice cream.

But what about those of you wanting to try more exotic recipes? Or make homemade frozen treats for someone who’s going dairy-free?

We checked in with Deb Cazavilan, ice cream lover and owner/instructor of Wooden Spoons Workshop, a cooking school in Ankeny.

Deb shared some of her best tips and tricks for dairy-free ice cream:

I’m no “expert” [we beg to disagree – editor] but I have learned a thing or two along the way.

Several things to consider when using non-dairy substitutes:

1) Only coconut milk and coconut cream (together) will contain enough fat to duplicate the results of using dairy cream and milk products. (not almond, soy, or hemp)

2) I actually do try to bring the fat content up to about the same as when I use dairy.  I add coconut cream to the already full fat coconut milk (not the kind in the aseptic carton that is sold as a beverage or a milk substitute-but rather the canned variety that has a big glob of solid coconut fat floating on top).  So it is really quite rich and has wonderful “mouth feel.”

Wooden Spoons Workshop
Wooden Spoons Workshop

3) Heating my mixture with the sugar and bringing it to a simmer to completely dissolve the sugar works wonders for helping to prevent crystallization.  Just be sure to chill the batter over night before freezing in your ice cream machine.  Even with dairy, heating then chilling is an essential step in preventing crystallization.

4) Booze also assists with preventing crystallization, in that it inhibits the frozen mixture from freezing too hard.  Just a TBS or two added to the batter is great.  Personally I love to use cognac, bourbon, scotch or dark rum in my ice creams.  (yum)

5) While you can really experiment wildly with flavors, I’ve found that the best ones are those that are more compatible with the slight taste of coconut that will naturally linger.  So my favorites have been tropical fruits, vanilla, chocolate, coconut, coffee, banana, and believe it or not….mint chip!

Not coincidentally, there are two homemade ice cream workshops coming up in the next severals weeks:

  1. Deb Cazavilan is teaching a series of classes on homemade ice cream – making (with dairy-free options included) next month, August 9 – 12. Check out the Wooden Spoons Workshop calendar for dates and times, and the Wooden Spoons Facebook page for updates and more details.
  2. And we’re teaming up again with our neighbor for an ice cream/gelato class August 25 at Cooking With Alessandra.  Make ice cream, sorbet, and gelato with “an AllSpice twist.” Make your own waffle cone, and enjoy it with a selection of ice creams and unique toppings alongside an Italian Affogato. More information at the Cooking With Alessandra class registration webpage.