Thursday, February 9, 2012

Crazy for Coconut

Every February for the last two years, Brian and I have traveled to Hawaii to visit my sister and her husband.  They live in Kailua, on the windward side of Oahu, where the weather is always warm and the breeze always smells like coconuts and plumeria flowers.

It is truly the most visually inspiring place I have ever visited.  Breathtaking mountains arise out of the sea, white sand beaches offer unobstructed views of the bluest water you have ever seen, tropical plants like red ginger, bougainvillea and orchids grow wild.  We prefer the funky little surfer towns of the North Shore to touristy Honolulu and Waikiki, but there isn't a single place on the island that I don't wish to return.

This year, we're not going to Hawaii.  At least not this month.  We're planning another big trip for this summer so we had to forgo the annual tropical vacation, and since we saw Colleen and Ben over the Christmas holiday, we decided we should wait a little longer before our return trip.

Perhaps it's because I feel like we should be packing for our yearly Hawaiian trip, but my mind keeps returning to Oahu.  The foods, the sights, the hiking and paddle boarding.  I may not be able to go to Hawaii this month, but I decided to bring a little bit of Hawaii to me.

This recipe calls for only 5 ingredients and no eggs so it's rather quick and simple to prepare.  I chose not to strain out the shredded coconut after steeping it in the simmering milk mixture, but in retrospect I would recommend that you do, as I thought the texture was a little odd with it in.  I used an ice cream maker to churn the finished product, but if you don't have one you could try David Lebovitz's no-machine method.

This isn't too sweet, perfect for my taste buds.  It was marvelous with some toasted coconut and a drizzle of Nutella.  I absolutely recommend the toasted coconut, it adds so much.  

5-Ingredient Coconut Ice Cream
makes about 2 pints
loosely adapted from David Lebovitz

1 can coconut milk (not light)
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons palm sugar (or substitute the same amount of regular white sugar)
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut (or substitute unsweetened coconut, but you may need to increase the sugar by a few tablespoons)
1 tablespoon coconut-flavored rum, I used Malibu (or substitute unflavored vodka or rum)

Toasted coconut to garnish (NOT optional.  Do it.)

Add the coconut milk, heavy cream, sugar and shredded coconut to a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and stir in the coconut-flavored rum.  At this point, if you desire strain the cooked ice cream base through a mesh strainer to remove the shredded coconut.  Chill ice cream mixture over an ice bath to cool quickly, then place in the refrigerator for several hours until thoroughly chilled.  Once completely chilled, pour ice cream mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.  Transfer ice cream into an air-tight container and store in the freezer.

For the toasted coconut:  heat your broiler to high and move the rack to the top-most position.  Sprinkle shredded coconut onto a foil-lined baking sheet and place on the top rack of the oven.  Broil about 1 minute, watching carefully, as it will burn very quickly.  Remove from oven and sprinkle on top of ice cream.

All Hawaii images used in today's post are courtesy of my AMAZINGLY talented sister, Colleen Cordle.  She is a photographer located in Kailua, Hawaii and specializes in infants, children, families, couples and portrait photography.  Not only is Colleen one of the most talented photographers I have ever met, she is one of the nicest and most down to earth people and will put anyone at ease.  If you ever travel to Hawaii, you have to check her out!  She loves to document the beautiful landscape and would be happy to photograph your family in the gorgeous surroundings there.  Please check out Colleen's website here for more samples of her work.  



  1. Yay! I love this post!! I think I am going to have to make some of that coconut ice cream... Ben would especially LOVE it!! ps. have you tried Adagio brand Coconut tea?! it's DEEELISH!

    1. Um NO I haven't but it sounds AMAZING! I'm about to order some like asap! And yes, you have to make it. No excuses, you have an ice cream maker.

  2. This looks AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! and your sister's photos are gorgeous too! =)

    1. Thanks Jenn, it really is amazing! I hope you give it a try!

  3. Colleen's photos are amazing - major pangs to go back!


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