baked oats green chile chicken enchiladas chow mein bakery-style butter cookies

copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2023 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent

let’s get tropical!

Recipe: toasted coconut ice cream

Crazy month is off to a crazy start, but it’s the Good kind of Crazy. Wanted to check in and make sure everyone is having fun, keeping off the streets, being good. Yes? Great! Some highlights from the week:

My night-blooming cereus (Queen of the Night) bloomed! Grandma always says it is a sign of good luck. While I believe we make our own luck, I’m not going to argue with Grandma and it’s such a gorgeous flower that you can’t help but feel a little special when it opens at night for a few precious hours. Last year was the first time my plant sent forth blooms. This year, the first one had a much stronger fragrance… how to describe it? Floral, delicate, lighter than a rose and in my opinion, slightly sweeter yet sharper. One blossom filled my entire house with that heady scent for the 8 hours it was open. I photographed it for four hours and because it is a *night-blooming* cereus, I used flash(es). [As I’ve tweeted in the past, for those who say to only shoot in natural light, I say to you “Stick it!”] I have some of the photos of the Queen of the Night bloom on the photo blog.

this flower is as big as my face

My parents and some very dear friends of the family were in Breckenridge this week for a Colorado vacation. Jeremy and I went out to meet up with them for lunch yesterday and since we were making the 2-hour drive, we figured we may as well grab a hike in the morning. We hiked Quandary Peak – our first fourteener in Colorado (14ers are peaks over 14,000 ft.) – as training for an upcoming trip. We saw four full rainbows on our way up the mountain and then lowered our heads as we plodded through the associated squalls (including stinging hail). We got to summit just as another dark front neared. I am not a peak-bagger. I love walking through the mountains and forests because the journey heals me. But standing on Quandary, I felt a small victory. I grinned and flipped an imaginary middle-finger to cancer (imaginary b/c there were other people at summit around me) while the winds tried to knock me over while Jeremy took a snappie.

i doode it

It’s very entertaining when my parents go someplace I’ve been to (or live in) and tell me things like, “There’s a ski resort in Vail!” :) It means they are having fun discovering things for themselves in their retirement, which is the very least they deserve since they worked hard all their lives. At lunch, my mom said there was an error in the Chinese spaghetti recipe – that I wasn’t supposed to use sweet red bean paste, but sweet bean paste. Of course, I have never heard of sweet bean paste other than sweet red bean paste. The ingredient was lost in translation, so I’ll have to go back and fix that (and perhaps FIND this mystery paste). My parents and our friends got a good laugh out of that one. My parents’ friends are like family to us, so the visit was doubly sweet. I love their daughters as if they were my younger sisters. It felt great to catch up and see that they have become beautiful and fine young women – both doctors now (one MD, one PhD).

I noticed that my queue of recipes is piling up with ice cream lately. Better post those before it’s too cold to want any… Although, when is it too cold for ice cream? When I made coconut macaroons a few months ago, I found unsweetened shredded coconut at my local Whole Foods and made a mental note to return for more later. As a kid, I always felt this ridiculous guilt for choosing certain flavors of ice cream over chocolate because you’re supposed to love chocolate and I just – I just didn’t! My heart belonged to butter pecan, pralines and cream, and toasted coconut. It still does.

you’re so toast(ed)!

infusing with vanilla bean and toasted coconut

The other night when M was over for dinner, we began to talk about her upcoming trip to France. She’s French and she goes back every year for a month before she heads down to Antarctica for four months of field work. The conversation with M *always* comes back to food at some point. I’ve directed her to a couple of my favorite French/France-related food blogs and sometimes while we’re sitting at the dinner table, I’ll reach behind me and pull a cookbook from the bookshelves. This time, it was The Perfect Scoop. Ah yes, I told her, you’ll love this guy, this David Lebovitz fella. He is hi-larious. While talking and flipping through the book I saw the toasted coconut ice cream page and it wedged itself into my very little brain until I finally made a batch.

strain the liquid

stir cream into the custard

I like the crunchy munchy of coconut bits in my ice cream, but this recipe first infuses the cream-milk mixture with the coconut and then strains the coconut out (to be tossed). I was tempted to toast some more coconut to stir into the ice cream, but trusted that a smooth and creamy version would surely be irresistable. The fragrant vanilla and coconut overtones that wafted up from the pot as I stirred the custard transported my mountain kitchen to the tropics without the annoying sand in awkward places. Nice. Before I ran the custard through the ice cream machine, I added a teaspoon of rum which picked the flavor up just enough without making me look like some booze hound. Better. If you love coconut, this is a no brainer. If you don’t like coconut, consider that Jeremy, He Who Shuns Coconut, really enjoyed this treat – and that was before I made the waffle cones dipped in chocolate and sprinkles!

yo ho and a bottle teaspoon of rum

tropical island life in a cone – with sprinkles, fo shiz!!!

Toasted Coconut Ice Cream
[print recipe]
from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

1 cup (70g) dried shredded, coconut (unsweetened)
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
3/4 cups (150g) sugar
big pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
5 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or 1 tsp rum (go for the rum)

Sprinkle the coconut evenly over a baking sheet and bake in a 350°F oven for 5-8 minutes until it is golden brown. Stir it frequently so it toasts evenly (I managed to not stir it at all and it toasted unevenly, but it was still great!). Heat the milk, a cup of the heavy cream, the sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan until just steaming. Pour in the coconut. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the heated milk along with the vanilla pod. Cover and remove from heat. Let steep for an hour. Reheat the milk mixture and then strain through a mesh strainer making sure to squeeze out any liquid from the solids. Throw out the coconut and reserve the vanilla bean for some other use. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl and slowly pour the warmed milk mixture in while continuing to whisk. Scrape the contents back into the pan. Stir mixture over medium heat with a heatproof spatula until the mixture thickens and reaches a nappe consistency. Strain the custard through a sieve and stir in the remaining cup of cream. Stir in rum or vanilla and chill completely (over ice bath or in refrigerator) before turning the mix into your ice cream machine per your manufacturer’s instructions.

44 nibbles at “let’s get tropical!”

  1. charlane says:

    I love coconut so this sounds so yummy.

  2. TheKitchenWitch says:

    What a flurry of fun, friends and activity. Congrats of flipping the bird to cancer and scaler your first 14er!

    I love all things coconut. Will be making this. Maybe with crushed almond joys stirred in…or is that overkill?

  3. Phoo-D says:

    What a fun week! I made this recipe from David recently and took his suggestion to marble in a batch of his mango sorbet. Oh. My. It was the best ice cream combo ever. We were in a state of tropical bliss. (Also, according to Mr. B it is never too cold for ice cream!)

  4. Irina (PastryPal) says:

    That last shot takes the cake-erm-ice cream. And you made the cones, you say? Now I’m not sure which I’d want to get at first–ice cream or cone.

  5. Crystal says:

    I’ve never liked chocolate ice cream either :) It’s neither chocolatey enough to satisfy a chocolate craving nor creamy enough to satisfy an ice-cream craving…

  6. Anh says:

    Yes yes go for the rum!!! I love this ice-cream.

  7. Pat says:

    Oh! I think I love you for loving David, and especially *toasted coconut*! Mmmm… I keep picking up his book in the store, and putting it back… Thanks for posting this one, I think you’ve pushed me over the edge to commit to buying! (Meanwhile I’ve sent this home in an email to myself, heh.) I continue to enjoy your blog, and how much you two (no, three) celebrate living!

  8. Rosa says:

    Congrats on reaching that summit!

    Toasted coconut is so much more fragrant, yummy! What a beautiful cone!



  9. Jaime says:

    ooh, that looks really good. Perfect for a hot Colorado day, where it’s as hot as heck right now, but not hot enough, or rainy enough, for long enough, to grow anything tropical.
    Thank you!

  10. Fiona says:

    Ok, Hi: we are clearly soul mates. I say this because I *love* (lovelovelove) pralines and cream. So few people appreciate its glories.

    For crunch, I might make this ice cream (I have The Perfect Scoop, too, the only cookbook I’ve purchased in the last couple of years) and then make macaroons and then make ice cream sandwiches with them. Crunchy/chewy/creamy/cold…

    And finally, trivia: one of the stories about the Louisiana Purchase is that Thomas Jefferson was quite curious what was out there. He had a library about the far west but it was full of pretty incredible stories. These included things like salt mountains and woolly mastodons, but for our purposes the important thing is that according to the books I’ve read people thought that the Appalachians might be the tallest mountains in the US. Imagine the shock when they got a load of the Rockies.

  11. Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy says:

    First of all, your Queen of the Night bloom is magnificent! That photo takes my breath away! And, good for you for flipping the proverbial bird to cancer. You kicked its ass, and should be very proud of that.

    That ice cream looks too dreamy for words! Coconut is one of my all time favorite flavors. I’m not a fan of chocolate ice cream either. I’ve never made David’s recipe before, but you’ve inspired me to try it. I even have a bottle of Malibu rum lurking around here somewhere. Woo hoo!

  12. Memoria says:

    I’m not really crazy about coconut, but your ice cream does look tempting!! How did you make the waffle cones??

  13. wing@foodarts says:

    Queen of the Night photographed by Queen of the Food blogs! You have an amazing eye (and taste buds). I recently had gotten some unsweetened coconut and grated frozen coconut at my local ethnic market and this looks to be a perfect way to use it. I may just roll small scoops in toasted coconut too. Congratulation on conquering both summit and cancer!
    P.S. Being in Albuquerque, thought you might like to know that NM is in for a record bumper crop of green chile this year,.

  14. Valérie says:

    I love you picture atop the mountain. And the one of the flower is stunning!

    I’ve always felt guilty for not liking vanilla and strawberry ice cream flavours. I’m told the first ice cream I ever picked out, at the age of two, was blue – but no one remembers what flavour it actually was. (All I know is that the scoop fell off the cone when I took my first lick, and my mom had to get me a new one.)

    Coconut ice cream makes perfect sense to me, but I don’t think I’ve ever tried it. Another great idea!

  15. Judy says:

    We have a local ice cream business (in Santa Barbara) that has an island coconut flavor, one of my favorites. I think, with a freezer full of unsweetened coconut, I’ll have to give this recipe a try so I can have this ice cream whenever I want. Also another excuse to replace my rum supply. Love the dark sky, too!

  16. Kathy says:

    I just know when I read your blog, that I am going to smile. Thanks!

  17. Kristin says:

    Congrats on your 14er. I’ve been avoiding David’s coconut because my son doesn’t like coconut (plus we are addicted to Tartelette’s cardamom saffron ice cream) but I think I’ll have to make it now. I’ll make the boy some mint choc chip & he’ll be happy. I will also try to follow your example & be entertained when my dad tells us things we already know & he should KNOW we know…getting annoyed is stupid & wastes too much energy. Are ya tryin’ to be a life coach as well as cooking & baking?!

  18. BrownEyedGirl says:

    Your photos are stunning as usual. I’m curious as to what type of ice cream maker you use?

  19. Tartelette says:

    You know my heart and tastebuds are all over that one!! And I am likely to have no one here fight me for the last spoon! Ah! I love when you post coconut stuff…love it love it love it…
    And you made that waffle cone….and dipped it into chocolate….Now that I love even more!!
    Yes on flash photography. Anyone who asks me is referred back your post!
    That picture at the summit makes my heart jump for joy! Yeehaw!

  20. Rus says:

    +1 on the vanilla and add a bit of cinnamon (1 tsp) == one of the favorites around here on hot summer days … toasted coconut cinnamon ice cream. try it out.

  21. peabody says:

    I say Stick It to all natural light too. These are the people who don’t live in cloudy weather. ;)
    That ice cream sounds really quite lovely!

  22. Suzanne says:

    Congrats on the 14er and enjoying your parents visit! We just got back from mine. Remember laughing about the absurd similarities between our parents at that Thai place in Pasadena?
    Those pics almost make me want to TRY that ice cream! Not a coconut dessert fan either. I miss you and am thinking of you all the time!

  23. Suzanne says:

    Also wanted to tell you that my MIL has outrageous numbers of blooms all the time! Maybe the different climate? Or because she has older plants? She keeps them outside here in TX, in the shade. It’s around 103 today. 8 blooms in one night last week.

  24. Lori says:

    Oh my yum! Ok I think this is next on the ice cream agenda!

    That night blooming flower looks like fireworks. It’s so utterly captivating. Utter is a good word here huh, like milk, udder, man am I a dork or what?

  25. angy says:

    superbe ! lovely !!! see you soon … bye ! from France !

  26. Mary says:

    You made waffle cones too? I feel so…….inadequate….
    The ice cream looks darn good tho…Can you run some of that down to Colorado Springs for me? :D

  27. Eesh says:

    Do you have a little webcam in my pantry? I’m amazed at how often I see your recipes and think to myself, “oh, I bet that will be a perfect home for “. I have dried coconut and vanilla beans I need to use up sometime soon, and seeing as how we recently bought an ice-cream maker, I can’t wait to make this! Thanks Jen, you really, really do rock.

  28. Manggy says:

    Hee, if you have found soul mates in the comments here, I think Jeremy and I would get along very well :P But yeah, toasting coconut takes a LOT of the edge off the raw coconut taste. I think it’s the main reason I like macaroons! I love the shot– magazine cover! I wonder if I could make a coconut ice cream that also has the flavor of condensed milk in it, hmm ;)

  29. Patricia Scarpin says:

    Aren’t you all posh with a decorated cone and all? So pretty, Jen!
    I love coconut but haven’t tried making ice cream with it yet – your version looks and sounds amazing.
    As for the flower, I wasn’t familiar with that kind and am completely blown away by its beauty!

  30. Hilary says:

    I love when my family comes to visit. I love showing them around where I live and just having them near for long conversations over dinner and drinks. I’m glad you had a good week! And keep flipping off cancer! I (mentally) do it every day too, to remember my dad.

  31. Adrienne says:

    lol about the bean paste incident. sweet bean paste, tian mien jian (sorry about the pinyin) is also known as ground bean sauce. i had my own adventure with it after your last post about zha jian mien (again, the pinyin).
    in case you want to see what ground bean paste looks like –

  32. Whitney says:

    I love the Perfect Scoop. So very much.

  33. Terry's wife says:

    Hi Jen,
    Love your blog! Have you ever made ice cream with real coconut milk? I’m wondering how that would work?


  34. Margie says:

    (I think I see Georgia O’Keefe hiding behind a petal)


    Beautiful work…but then it always is. :)

  35. dana says:

    i’m doing a couple of 14-ers next month and will offer some summit-worthy “birds” to the big c for myself (just finished my reconstruction) and my sis (in the midst of chemo). and when i get back, you better believe i’m making your coconut ice cream. thanks for the inspiration, smile, and recipe — woohoo on all fronts :)

  36. Eileen says:

    Thanks for sharing photos of that incredible bloom! And I am so excited for this ice cream recipe–please advise if this is for a quart-size machine or otherwise? Thank you!

  37. jenyu says:

    Charlane – it’s wonderful!

    TKW – it’s not actually my first 14er, just my first Colorado 14er :) How can ice cream with candy be overkill??

    Phoo-D – I would have done the sorbet, but Jeremy isn’t a big mango fan so we kept it simple.

    Irina – oops, I should have said I doctored the cones. I purchased the waffle cones and dipped them in chocolate and sprinkles myself :) I have had horrible luck making my own ice cream cones.

    Crystal – actually, David Lebovitz’ chocolate ice cream is really amazing – you should try it!

    Jaime – oh hon, I think it’s hotter there than it is here too. Hope you are all keeping cool.

    Anh – hee hee!

    Pat – it is a terrific book. One of my favorites. Thanks :)

    Rosa – thanks!

    Fiona – tis true, only the pure of heart can appreciate good pralines and cream :) Mmmm, your idea sounds great. Ha ha, I can only imagine the wonderment when they got to the Grand Canyon too.

    Susan – Thank you, sweetie. If you love coconut, this one will not disappoint you – I promise!

    Memoria – I didn’t make the waffle cones, I purchased them. I should have said I “doctored” them b/c I dipped them in tempered chocolate and then added sprinkles.

    Wing – you’re very sweet – thanks. Yes! We just returned from southern Colorado where we enjoyed several awesome green chiles. Mmmmm, so good.

    Valerie – don’t feel guilty! I love those flavors too. Perhaps people who only like chocolate are the ones missing out? ;)

    Judy – mmm, that sounds awesome! A freezer full of coconut? *sigh*

    Kathy – awww, thank YOU.

    Kristin – ha ha. Jeremy says I’m more of a life drill sergeant than a life coach ;)

    BrownEyedGirl – I have a $40 Cuisinart ice cream maker. It works like a dream for me!

    Tartelette – I’m not surprised you like coconut too – we’re all a little nuts ;) ha ha ha! Nope nope nope, I didn’t make the cone, I merely dipped it . I have had crap results each time I try to make my own cones :(

    Rus – mmm, that sounds great!

    Peabody – or people with tons of time on their hands ;) yeah!

    Suzanne – thanks hon! Great to hear from you and yeah, that was a great lunch and discussion :) I’m not surprised your MIL’s plant is doing so well – they love tropical climates!

    Lori – hee hee, we all have our loopy moments. I really love that flower too.

    Angy – thanks.

    Mary – nope, I bought those! :) So don’t feel inadequate, my dear. You are super duper. I just dipped the cones and chocolate and sprinkles. Easy peasy!

    Eesh – you’re sweet. Thanks :)

    Mark – I’m sure condensed milk would work. That sounds pretty sweet!

    Patricia – thank you, dear! I think the flower originates from Mexico, but it’s all over the place now. I wonder that it might grow well where you are?

    Hilary – thanks and keep on flipping that bird. I’m so sorry about your dad.

    Adrienne – thanks! my dad sent me a picture of the sauce when they got home! ha ha ha.

    Whitney – it’s a great book, no?

    Terry’s wife – I have not tried that before, but I don’t see why you couldn’t use some (maybe reduced so it’s not too watery?) I wouldn’t know how to get my hands on real coconut milk :) Someone surely must know though.

    Margie – :) Thanks dear.

    Dana – yay! You go!

    Eileen – yes, it makes about a quart of ice cream. Good luck and enjoy!

  38. Mrs Ergül says:

    Did you say you made your own waffle cones???????????? I want to visit you simply for that with this coconut ice cream!! and of course, other treats from your kitchen that can spring up along the way!

    Yummy yummy there!

  39. » Ice Cream Man Smackdown! says:

    […] Other delicious ice cream flavors on the blogs: Use Real Butter:  Toasted Coconut Ice Cream Smitten Kitchen:  Butterscotch Ice Cream Simply Recipes:  Easy Pumpkin Ice Cream What We’re […]

  40. jenyu says:

    Mrs Ergul – Well, I dipped them, I didn’t make them. I have a horrible time making my own ice cream cones :(

  41. BITA: Samoas ice cream « the lovely ride says:

    […] Toasted coconut ice cream (from The Perfect Scoop, via use real butter, but really, just buy the book) […]

  42. Donald says:

    Oh joy! I LOVE coconut and will be making this concoction this weekend! So glad I found your blog. I’m getting The Perfect Scoop too. Thank you!

  43. Toasted Coconut Ice Cream | A Hint of HoneyA Hint of Honey says:

    […] (Adapted from The Perfect Scoop via Use Real Butter) […]

  44. Stephanie Reese says:

    This made a wonderful ice cream! I like the addition of rum. I couldn’t bring myself to discard the toasted coconut, so I topped the banana brown sugar ice cream I had with it. Yum! I love David Lebovitz! I met him at a book signing/chocolate event in SF. I have to get The Perfect Scoop now. I love that you post so many of his recipes.

leave a reply