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Chocolate-Covered Toasted Coconut Macaroon Ice Cream

  Here's a challenge, I've got 15 days to learn how to cope without gluten.  No, I'm not intolerant (thank heavens), but guess who's got another catering job?  This girl.  I'm smacking post-its on the desk, creating my own business cards (say whaaat?), researching flour, desperately pinning any gluten-less appetizer ideas, trying to keep up with the dishes and food that my ill mother isn't able to deal with, and shoveling s'mores brownies into my face.

  And yet, I find time for Sundays with Joy, and this blog.  I even put a creative-ish twist on this week's recipe.

  I guess that means I like you guys or something.

  And I do like you, I really do!  But, I did majorly procrastinate on this assignment until like two days ago.  My sainted father stopped at an Asian grocery store to pick up my coconut milk, and I blame the heat and disorderliness of trying text grocery lists for his forgetting the coconut oil.

  So, there was no homemade coconut magic shell for my ice cream.  Boo.  But, the ice cream itself quite made up for the lack of it.

  I've tried a couple macaroon recipes, and while both tasted great, they were a pain.  Both times I ended up meticulously peeling off the runny cooked egg whites that had formed an unsightly ring around the cookies.  I was pretty sure I'd just never make them right.
  But, lo and behold, Joy's macaroon recipe came out of nowhere.  Seriously, I was searching her site for something completely different, when that page came up and inspiration hit.  I knew what I wanted to do with my ice cream.

  When I first read the title in Joy's book, everything seemed to scream, "Score!!"  But as I perused the ingredients, my heart sank a little bit.  But just a little!  You see, when I read the title Chocolate Covered Coconut Macaroon Ice Cream, I was envisioning creamy vanilla ice cream filled with chunks of frozen, chewy chocolate-covered macaroons.  So you can imagine my brief disappointment in finding the base to be made up of nothing more than coconut milk and sugar, later mixed with some toasted coconut.  The chocolate topping seemed to be its only saving grace.

  To anyone else, of course that sounds amazing!  But I had a vision, and I wasn't going to give that up; not when I'd already lost my coconut oil. 

   So, while making a pie for a gathering with friends, I mixed up the macaroons.  And, incidentally, the recipe was spot-on.  Definitely the best I've made yet!  However, the macaroons screwed up my timing, and the pie seemed to take forever because of it.  But I diligently tore the sticky cookies apart, and drizzled them with chocolate.  I let them set in the freezer while I stuck my coconut milk mixture in the ice cream maker (And, you know I couldn't resist adding just a dash of my rummy vanilla extract!  It really did seem too plain.).  I was quite crabby by then, and was mumbling to myself that the extra step I was taking had better be worth it. 

  I later tried my first spoonful after the photoshoot.  And oh, my friends, it was worth it.  This recipe is coconut to the core, and only gets better as it starts to melt.  The delicate crunch of smooth chocolate as you bite into a just-thawed macaroon chunk, the softness of the ice cream as it puddles...it's gorgeous.

  If you wish to try the coconut magic shell, I definitely recommend the purchase of Joy's book!  Oh, and thanks for letting me yab.  Then again, you don't really have a choice, do you? 

Chocolate-Covered Toasted Coconut Macaroon Ice Cream
Yield:1 quart

Ingredients for the ice cream:
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans coconut milk
  • Scant 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Dash of pure vanilla extract

Ingredients for the macaroons:
  • 6 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups) sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 large egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped

To prepare the ice cream, in a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk and sugar.  Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.  Place milk mixture in a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Put in the refrigerator and allow to cool completely (Overnight is preferable.  When you remove the chilled mixture from the fridge later, don't be disconcerted if you find an icy layer of sorts on top.  Just leave it, and pour it all into the ice cream maker.)

While the milk mixture chills, prepare your macaroons.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  On a separate, unlined sheet, spread the coconut out into an even layer and place in the oven.  Allow to cook, stirring every 4-5 minutes, until evenly browned (about 10-15 minutes total).  Remove from the oven and scrape coconut into a separate bowl, allow to cool. (Be sure to leave the oven on.)

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and salt on medium speed until they become white, very foamy, and begin to stiffen.  With the mixer on medium-high speed, add the sugar in 3 parts, whipping well after each addition.  Continue to whip until the egg whites hold stiff, glossy peaks.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the toasted coconut.

Drop a teaspoon of the mixture onto the parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving 1-2 inches around each cookie.  Place in the oven (still at 350 degrees F) and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the outsides are golden brown but the insides are still moist.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. 

Once cool, move onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Break each cookie into 2-3 bite-sized pieces.  In a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water (be sure the bowl does not touch the water, and don't let the water boil), melt the chocolate.  Allow to melt until just a few discernible chunks are left.  Remove from heat and stir until smooth.  Grab a rubber spatula and drizzle the bowl of chocolate evenly over the torn-up macaroons on the baking sheet.  Place in the freezer to set.

Once the milk mixture is chilled, remove from the refrigerator and freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.  Once it reaches the consistency of soft-serve frozen yogurt, it's done.  Place in a freezer-safe container.  Remove the macaroons from the freezer and quickly break up any chunks stuck together by chocolate.  Fold the macaroon bits into the ice cream, then place in the freezer to harden.  Once hardened, serve the ice cream in scoops, or as desired (I found that it froze rather hard, so I recommend letting it sit at room temperature for a few minutes, so it's easier to scoop.).

Sources: ice cream adapted from Joy the Baker's Cookbook, macaroons adapted from Joy the Baker as well