Practical food tips for parents from a RD and mom of three

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Coconut Gelato

My sweet tooth is showing these days!

I revisited Weelicious, the blog where I found the infamous beet hummus recipe in search of a brilliant new summer recipe. Success! I found a recipe for coconut gelato that inspired me to break out the ice cream machine in our basement.

My children LOVE making ice cream but I often forget that we have the machine and rarely have cream in the house. This recipe impressed me with it's simplicity – how could I not take a few minutes with the kids to mix coconut milk, agave nectar, and vanilla to create this treat? Catherine McCord is a genius! You can bet I'll be trying her recipe for yogurt, honey and cinnamon gelato as well.

Coconut milk (the liquid obtained by pressing and straining the liquid out of coconut meat) does contain saturated fat, but studies of healthy populations that consume a great deal of coconut milk have found that it does not raise bad cholesterol. I was surprised to read that the main fatty acid in coconut milk, lauric acid, is also found in breast milk where it plays a role in building brain cells and healthy bones. Plus lauric acid has antimicrobial properties – coconut oil is being tested as a medical treatment for diseases such as HIV and influenza. It will be interesting to see future research on this topic. That said, it is important to limit your intake of saturated fat, so stick to a small scoop!

This recipe uses agave nectar for natural sweetness. Agave nectar is extracted from a cactus-like plant. It is cooked down in a process similar to maple syrup (although at a much lower temperature). It also has antimicrobial properties. Agave nectar's sweetness is mainly from a complex sugar called inulin, which has a low glycemic index. It does not cause the rapid spike in blood sugar (followed by a quick crash) that other sweeteners can cause.

The smooth, creamy coconut gelato is vegan and gluten-free. It is a delicious treat for hot summer days. We will definitely make this simple recipe again soon! Next time I may mix the ingredients in the blender, since the coconut cream tends to separate from the milk when chilled.

Today's tip: Whip up some homemade ice cream with your kids for a wholesome summer treat.

1 comment:

  1. This recipe was the PERFECT texture straight out of the ice cream machine, but froze solid in the freezer. Leave it out for a few minutes before scooping or dip the container of frozen gelato in a bowl of warm water for a minute.