Coconut and Cacao Ice Cream Popsicles.
For the past year or so I have secretly harbored a love affair for two rather specific foods - coconut and cacao. Funnily enough, I never liked either of these whilst growing up but nowadays you’ll almost always find me sneaking some kind of coconut or cacao into most things I eat. Quite simply, I think that the both of them are the epitome of deliciousness.
Unless you’re an obsessed foodie or healthy chocolate connoisseur, you’ll probably be wondering what the heck cacao is. You’ll probably also now be wondering how someone can be a healthy chocolate connoisseur because traditionally chocolate cancels out any kind of healthy label.
It was a rather traumatic day that I decided I seriously wanted to get healthier and lose some weight. Evidently that is a huge decision to make and commit to, but far more concerning for me was the prospect of having to seriously reduce my chocolate intake. I come from a long line of chocoholics. You could even go so far as to argue that to not be a chocoholic would be a failure to the family. In his own opinion, my dad likely considers himself the king of chocolate and I genuinely cannot think of a moment that dad has ever refused to eat something in which the main ingredient is chocolate. The apple absolutely did not fall very far from the tree because here I am in all my red-headed glory with a serious addiction to chocolate. Therefore, quite potentially the best day of my life was the one in which I discovered cacao.
Cacao is essentially the healthier older sibling of the more commonly known and used cocoa powder, which is traditionally the base ingredient for chocolate. However cacao has no added sugars, salt, or anything else and is simply the shelled and crushed seedpods of the cacao tree. It’s raw, it’s gluten free, dairy free, vegan, and it’s downright delicious. Conveniently it’s also a great source of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron and copper – i.e. a whole bunch of minerals that your body needs to be healthy. The upside of all this is that it is 100% possible to be a healthy chocolate connoisseur (my unofficial title).
When you combine cacao with the equally delicious coconut and a few other natural, raw ingredients, you end up with these ice cream popsicles, which are so delicious that they almost shouldn’t be legal (not that I am biased or anything…). Perfect for a dessert without need for any guilt, or for a hot summer day, these ice creams are so healthy that you could probably even have one for breakfast, which is exactly what I plan on doing tomorrow morning (with no regrets, and also assuming that they survive the night – not likely!).
400ml can coconut milk
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
3 tbsp pure sweetener (maple syrup/agave syrup)
1. Take the can of coconut milk and shake it up. Canned coconut milk has a tendency to separate into a more solid part and then a liquid, so by shaking the can you will combine those two parts ensuring that you have a thicker, creamier liquid, which is better for ice cream.
2. Pour the contents of the shaken can into a bowl. Add in 2tbsp of pure sweetener and mix well.
3. Take approx. 4 tbsp of the sweetened coconut mixture and set aside.
4. Take some popsicle moulds (readily available from kitchen shops and supermarkets) and carefully pour the sweetened coconut mixture into the moulds, filling them up to the top. Place a paddlepop stick in the centre, being careful to ensure it doesn’t sink down too far! Then, place in the freezer to set for at least a few hours, preferably overnight.
5. Take the coconut mixture that you previously set aside and add in the cacao powder and 1 tbsp more sweetener. Mix this really well until all the powder is fully mixed in. I used a blender to do this but that isn’t necessary, though I would recommend if you’re a bit lazy! The chocolate coconut mixture will keep well in a sealed container in the fridge whilst the ice creams fully set.
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil (in its liquid form)
Small handful chopped raw hazelnuts
1. Remove the frozen ice creams from the freezer and gently pry them from their mould. Then, dip the tip into the chocolate coconut mixture and set on a flat plate/tray. When all the ice creams have been dipped, place back in the freezer while you make the raw cacao to drizzle over the top.
2. In a small bowl, mix the three ingredients together really well. If you’re in a cold climate, sometimes the coconut oil will set a little, in which case a bowl of warm water underneath will keep it fully liquid (although this will then not make it fully raw as such).
3. Remove the ice creams from the freezer and, using a spoon, drizzle the raw cacao mixture over the top.
4. Sprinkle some chopped hazelnuts over the top of the cacao drizzle (quickly otherwise it will set). Repeat for all the ice creams and then return them to the freezer for a few minutes to set the raw cacao drizzle. Keep in an airtight container in the freezer until ready to serve (my bet is that they won’t be there for very long!)