I honestly wasn’t much of an ice cream lover until I lived in Japan for a few years and discovered the matcha (powdered green tea) version. The bitter and sweet flavour balance completely changed my relationship with this creamy dessert. Once back home though I discovered matcha ice cream to be both difficult to find, and often without the intense matcha flavour that I loved so much. That, and the fact that I eat very little dairy these days, meant I hadn’t enjoyed matcha ice cream for some time. That recently changed when I realized that I could probably make it myself with things I always have in my cupboards, mainly matcha, coconut milk and maple syrup.
My kitchen has been a mess of bowls and green tea powder ever since I began trying to work out a method of making this without an ice cream maker. The recipe below is my current work in progress. Who knew that making ice cream was a bit of a science. This recipe actually doesn’t have that many ingredients and it has turned out to be pretty creamy and tasty.
Matcha is known to be packed with anti-oxidants, and coconut milk is often touted for its MCT oil benefits so I guess you could call this a healthy ice cream. It is so yummy that I didn’t require that designation, but I will admit that it makes me feel less guilty about having a second bowl.
2 cans of Coconut milk (Just the thick creamy part- not the watery portion) 4-5 tbsp Maple Syrup (or use your favourite sweetener and adjust to taste. I prefer it on the less sweet side so stop at 4tbsp) 2 tbsp Matcha (more or less depending on how much bitter flavour you enjoy) 2 tbsp vodka (this stops the mixture from freezing too hard) 1 tsp vanilla 1/2 tsp guar gum or xanthan gum (I left this out once and it still seemed to work, but it is supposed to decrease ice crystals, so I suspect its value increases the longer your ice cream is in your refrigerator. Mine got eaten way to fast for that to happen! This ingredient is available in most grocery stores it seems. I have also read that egg yolk is also a natural emulsifier so may also do the trick. ) A pinch of salt
Directions: Place all ingredients in the refrigerator overnight. Also put your bowls/pans in the freezer overnight (this helps to decrease crystallization of the mixture). Once ingredients and bowls are cooled scoop the thick creamy portion of the cans of coconut milk into a blender (I use a vitamix). Then add all the other ingredients and blend. Pour into a cold metal bowl. Place in the refrigerator to cool. Pull mixture out every hour or so for a quick mix with a hand mixer etc. That should make it creamier. Serve when it is firm enough to scoop. I found this to be the creamiest and tastiest version when I was serving the day I made it.
Storage: The ice cream seemed to get really hard when kept overnight so I decided to spread extra mixture in the bottom of a frozen bread pan (a shallower spread decreases the ice crystals). Once frozen I tipped it out of the pan, sliced it into ice cream sticks, and wrapped them in parchment paper for easy portions. Then I would take it out and let it soften in a bowl for 10 minutes or so before eating.
Popsicles: This seems to work really well because the mixture freezes kind of hard and this is an easy way to pull out a portion. Yum!
Ice Cream Maker: I don’t have one. This probably makes things easier. I wouldn’t know. Those who have one can follow whatever you usually do for making ice cream I would guess.
Green Tea: I used high quality drinking matcha because that is all I had in my house. I probably could have bought an ice cream maker with the cost of all the top grade matcha utilized in figuring this recipe out. If you are buying matcha you could look for cooking grade matcha since most people use that for baking matcha sweets etc with good results. Matcha should be used when fresh. The flavour changes when kept for long periods and it’s bright green colour fades.
Coconut Milk left Overs: I just couldn’t throw it out. So I made a new batch of ice cream with it. I just followed the same process above and added a bit more stabilizer (guar or xanthan gum). It was a bit icier but worked well for popsicles.
Summer is coming to an end so don’t wait to try these out. Of course you could just turn up the heat and eat this throughout the fall and winter. I probably will.
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