Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Coconut has kind of been the flavor around here this year. Perhaps you’ve noticed? In large part it’s been due to my discovery of coconut oil, and my subsequent infatuation with it. When I want to bake these days I no longer reach into the fridge for a stick of butter. Instead, my first instinct is to look for my jar of coconut oil in the pantry!

This year’s other obsession has been homemade ice cream. Sure, I’ve been churning it for years, but never in the quantities seen over the last six months. You know it’s bad when you’re taking food out of the freezer to make room for more ice cream :)

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

So, it only made sense that eventually I’d combine these two things I can’t get enough of lately. Wait, maybe I should clarify – there’s coconut in this ice cream, but not coconut oil. Though that would be interesting…

Coconut flavor is infused into this creamy, rich ice cream in two ways. First, unsweetened coconut is steeped in a milk/cream mixture to create the base of the ice cream. The result is so fantastic – you wind up not with a really fruity coconut flavor, but rather one that’s sweet and nutty. For even more coconut flavor and some texture, sweetened toasted coconut is added as a mix-in in the last minute of churning. There are also a ton of mini chocolate chips in the ice cream; coconut and chocolate belong together and this ice cream is just further proof!

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

For the most part, I’ve been really good about churning lots of ice cream this year, but not eating much of it. Luckily we have friends and family who are more than happy to help with that part! But this toasted coconut chocolate chip ice cream was my downfall. I found myself on the couch with a spoon and the carton a lot more often than I’d like to admit… If you’re a coconut fan, it really is a must try!

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
adapted from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones by Kris Hoogerhyde, Anne Walker, and Dabney Gough (via Brown Eyed Baker)

{Note: to toast the coconut: spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and place in a 350 F oven for about 5 minutes. Keep a very close eye on it – it can burn quickly!}

2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups 2% milk
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
heaping 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Add the heavy cream, milk, 6 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt to a medium saucepan. Set over medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir in the unsweetened coconut, then once again bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let steep for 20 minutes.

Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl. Be sure to press on the coconut to release as much liquid as possible. Transfer the liquid back to the saucepan, and throw away the coconut. Place the pan back over medium heat and bring the cream mixture to a simmer.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and the remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar in a heatproof bowl until combined and pale in color. Slowly add the warm cream mixture to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Pour back into the saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (about 170-175 F on an instant read thermometer). Pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled (overnight is good).

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When the ice cream reaches soft serve consistency, add the sweetened shredded coconut and chocolate chips, and continue churning until incorporated, another minute or two. Store in an airtight container in your freezer.

Makes about 1 quart