Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Low Carb Coconut Ice Cream with Saffron

David Lebovitz posted a recipe for Quick Coconut Ice Cream with Saffron on his website. For David, this is certainly a “quick” recipe since he’s not making a custard, straining liquids, etc. I don’t normally need to use a stove when making ice cream, so for me, I don’t consider it quick.

I’ve never tasted palm sugar, but from what I’ve read, it’s got a brown sugar kind of flavor with a touch of caramel. To accomplish this and keep it low carb, I’ll add a little blackstrap molasses, brown sugar flavoring, and Da Vinci Caramel Sugar Free Syrup, too. I don’t know if I nailed the flavor of palm sugar, but whatever I did, it tastes awesome! Heating is still required since the blackstrap molasses, saffron threads, and coconut cream won’t blend together as well without it.

There are two basic kinds of canned coconut “milk:” coconut milk and cream of coconut. Coconut milk usually comes unsweetened, but cream of coconut almost always contains sugar. The one exception I found is Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream. It contains no added sugar. I expected it to be a very thick liquid, but it has an almost paste like consistency. If you don’t use this particular brand of coconut cream, I cannot guarantee that the results will be the same. You might notice that I didn’t include any stabilizer in the ingredients list. That’s because the coconut cream from Trader Joe’s has two kinds of thickeners in it that should do the job.

Since there are no eggs in this recipe, I was a little concerned that the ice cream might have an icy texture. Egg yolks act as an emulsifier that helps bind the water and fat molecules together. I assume that simmering for ten minutes, as directed in the original recipe, causes some of the water in the coconut cream to evaporate. Also, I ran my ice cream maker longer so that it would freeze harder (and I assume quicker) before transferring it to the freezer. I usually set the timer for 42 minutes. (I toss in solids with about 2 minutes to go.) I added an additional 10 minutes for this recipe, but I don’t know if it made any difference. Just a judgement call on my part. The faster the freeze, the smaller the ice crystals. The lack of eggs did make the texture slightly crumbly.

One word of warning: saffron is friggin expensive! I tried two brands. One from Amazon and the other from Trader Joe’s. In both cases, I used the entire container for each quart of ice cream made.

CAUTION: Not every form of glycerin is fit for human consumption. For example, diethylene glycol is toxic and should not be consumed. Always verify the product is safe to use.


2 cups (464 g) heavy cream
1 can (14 fl oz) Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream
1½ tablespoons Truvia
1 teaspoon (7 g) blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon saffron threads
Big pinch salt
21 drops EZ-Sweetz
1 tablespoon (18 g) vegetable glycerin
1 tablespoon Da Vinci Caramel Sugar Free Syrup
½ teaspoon brown sugar flavoring


  1. Put the container for the ice cream including its cover upright in the freezer now. This serves two purposes: it keeps the container cold and it forces you to make sure that there’s space in the freezer.
  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the heavy cream, coconut cream, Truvia, molasses, and saffron threads to a boil.

    Simmering liquid.

  3. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the salt, remove from heat, cover with lid, and let stand for one hour. It should be room temperature by then. Add the EZ-Sweetz, vegetable glycerin, Da Vinci Caramel Sugar Free Syrup, and brown sugar flavoring and mix with a silicone spatula. Move pot with lid into the refrigerator and and chill the mixture thoroughly.
  4. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Once churned, be sure to scrape any saffron threads clinging to the dasher back in to the ice cream.
Scoops of ice cream.

Scoops of ice cream.

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