Lemon juice, lemon extract, and lemon-flavored shortbread cookies add layers of lemon flavor to this delicate diary-free frozen dessert. Look for cookies with the simplest and fewest ingredients in a natural foods store or the health food section of supermarkets. If I like gluten-free brands, such as Pamela’s that doesn’t contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn sweetener, or artificial ingredients. If using bottled lemon juice, taste it before you use it; if left to sit too long in the refrigerator, lemon juice can develop an unpleasant harsh and bitter flavor. SERVES 8 TO 12
• 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
• 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin or agar agar powder (not the flakes)
• 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons maple syrup OR 1/3 cup honey or agavé nectar; additional tablespoon as needed
• 1/4 and 1/8 teaspoon pure stevia extract powder; additional 1/8 teaspoon as needed
• 1/8 teaspoon finely ground, unrefined sea salt
• 1/2 cups (two 14-ounce cans) unsweetened, preservative-free canned coconut milk (regular, not lite)
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract OR alcohol-free vanilla flavoring
• 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract OR alcohol-free lemon flavoring
• 1 to 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped OR crumbled lemon shortbread cookies or lemon snaps*
1. Add 1/3 cup lemon juice to a small saucepan. Slowly sprinkle with gelatin or agar agar powder. Let stand for 2 minutes until soft and any dry spots disappear. Warm over medium-low heat, without stirring, until gelatin or agar agar dissolve. Scrape the mixture into a blender, Vita-Mix, or food processor. Cover and blend until smooth.
2. Add honey, stevia, and sea salt. Blend. Add the coconut milk, vanilla, and lemon extract. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides with a spatula. For a sweeter taste, add 1/8 additional stevia and/or 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey. Blend, taste, and repeat one more time as needed.
3. Pour into 1 or more wide-mouth jars. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours before churning. Alternatively, chill the mixture in an ice bath until cold and slightly firm, then churn.
4. Scrape the chilled custard into the canister of your ice cream maker. Add the optional rum. Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When Ice Dream reaches the soft-serve stage (thick, fluffy and voluminous), add the crumbled cookies to the machine. Mix for 1 or 2 more minutes.
5. Serve immediately or spoon into several cup- or pint-sized containers. Cover and freeze for 3 or more hours for a firmer texture.
6. Soften solidly frozen dessert by placing it in the refrigerator for 30 to 45 minutes or on the counter for 15 to 30 minutes to soften before serving.
Don Matesz, L.Ac., is a nutritionist, board-certified herbalist and acupuncturist. He lives and practices in Arizona. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609 for a detailed reference list for this article.
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