Happy St. Patrick's Day!
While I am not Irish, well, at least not that I know of, I can still celebrate the holiday. To be honest it's entirely unavoidable in New York but I ain't hatin'. Who couldn't use a little bit of leprechaun luck?
I do have a confession to make, however; ever since I discovered the deliciousness of the seasonal McDonald's Shamrock Shake in college I've been secretly obsessed. I know, I know. It's embarrassing. Liking anything from McDonald's is not PC anymore, especially if you are slightly lactose intolerant. Milkshakes are possibly the worst thing in the world for a dairy-free girl, because they contain both milk and ice cream but why would I let that stop me from enjoying a creamy, cold treat? The solution lies in making it yourself... wait for it... DAIRY-FREE.
This is the dessert to end all desserts for St. Patricks. It's green, it's (optional) spiked, and it's easy on the stomach after all the Guinness. I do admit, dairy free ice cream takes a bit of prep work (basically just a lot of time in the freezer) this minty concoction is well worth the wait. Top of your coconut milk base with a little whipped coconut cream and sprinkles and you're in for a real treat.
1 large can coconut milk (25.5 oz), well mixed
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure mint (not peppermint) extract
2 drops green food coloring
1 tablespoon creme de menthe (optional)
In a small mixing bowl whisk together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of the coconut milk until smooth. Set aside.
Prepare an "ice bath" for your ice cream base by taking a large mixing bowl and filling it halfway with ice cubes and a dash of water. Have a gallon size freezer bag ready for your base so you can place it in the ice bath once it's cooked.
In a medium sized sauce pan, combine the rest of the coconut milk, salt, sugar, and corn syrup. Bring to a light boil over a medium heat. You don't want it to boil furiously because the coconut milk will froth over the sides of the pot. Stir gently for 4 minutes and reduce heat. Scoop 1/2 a cup of the hot coconut milk into the mixing bowl with the cornstarch. Stir and then pour the mix back into the pot. This is to ensure the cornstarch dissolves evenly into your ice cream base. Simmer for about two minutes until slightly thickened and then remove from heat. Stir in mint extract and food coloring. After a couple of minutes pour your ice cream base directly into the gallon size freezer bag over the ice bath. This is to quickly cool the base so you can churn it in thirty minutes. Once the base has cooled from the ice bath churn according to your ice cream makers manufacturer instructions. For my Cuisinart, the mint ice cream took about twenty to twenty five minutes to reach a good consistency. Place ice cream in airtight container and freeze for a couple of hours to stabilize.
Once you are ready to form your milkshake, take the ice cream out of the freezer twenty minutes before serving. This makes the ice cream melty and a perfect milkshake consistency on it's own. You could also add coconut milk to make it thinner. For each "scoop" you put into your milkshake glass, add a dash of creme de menthe. That will make the pretty darker green swirls in the cup. Remember: with creme de menthe, a dash goes a longggggg way.** Top with coconut whipped creme or regular whip cream if you so please and a festive sprinkle. Enjoy!
**While creme de menthe is an extremely low proof alcohol, to make this kid friendly, you can substitute it with a mint simple syrup dyed green! Just combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan and whish until dissolved. Then remove from heat, add a drop of mint extract and two drops green food coloring!