Low Sugar Cacao and Coconut Milk Freezer Treats
The Seattle area went through one of the wettest winters in twenty years. We didn’t see much sunlight for almost eight months, and almost all my professional friends took turns posting pictures from winter vacations in the Hawaiian islands, soaking up some rays and getting our Vitamin D.
My Asian skin lost its usual brown tint , and when springtime hit in late May, I still wore long-sleeved shirts and pants to match the grey outside. To throw some perspective, our local lakes were still too cold to swim in comfortably until the very last weekend of May, and even then, it was a bit on the brisk side.
So you can imagine the surprise when the area transformed from winter snow one day to sizzling summer heat the next. All my ads on Facebook turned into local ads for air conditioning units. You’d think that I would have the routine down, as June is often called, “Juneuary” among those of us who have lived here many years. Mornings start out at a chilly 52 degrees Fahrenheit, and can jump into the 70’s or 80’s by afternoon.
We were gobsmacked by a heat advisory one weekend, with the thermometer hitting 102. The only one happy about that in our household was my cat Loomi, who made it known to all that she is truly a desert animal! The house got warm, and she insisted on sleeping in her heated bed. I, however, started craving summertime frozen treats and cold foods, such as an AIP coleslaw, and chilled slippery rice noodle salads. Even a Bacon and Avocado salad, minus the nightshades, was making my stomach growl.
What’s a guy or gal who can’t eat ice cream supposed to do?
Make your own freezer treats, that’s what!
A Freezer Treat Is Formed
While walking through a Fireworks store a couple of months ago, I spotted a “Big Cube” silicon ice cube tray and thought to myself, “Self, wouldn’t you like to serve up something yummy in that tray besides a big block of frozen water?”
Yeah-huh I would! And then, my Low Sugar Freezer Cacao Treat was born! I mean, formed. Because it needs a mold to shape it, in, and these king cube trays are awesome sauce!
Cacao and Coconut Milk Freezer Treats
Here’s your basic ingredients, which you may have to adjust to your tastebuds and your gut. I suggest keeping sugar and sweeteners on the down low.*
1-3/4 cups (13.5 ounce can) full fat emulsifier free coconut milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1-1/2 tablespoon dark cacao powder
Optional: a sprinkle of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
Blend the three ingredients on low-speed in a blender** for your freezer base (optional items, if you prefer), and pour into the silicone tray, leaving room for an optional filling and/or a topping later.
Freeze for at least 45 minutes, or just until the frozen base would prevent a filling or topping from sinking to the bottom.
Optional filling: inject with a piping bag and tip, or insert with a small spoon, smoothing over the insertion point when finished. Optional fillings could be blended fresh strawberries, or for a quick solution, an organic jam with low sugar content.
Optional topping: for those of you without a nut allergy, crushed pistachios or crushed cashews make a great freezer treat topping. If you can’t have nuts, I found a sprinkling of cacao nibs gives it a nice choco crunch to it that does not disappoint. Add this just as the top of the freezer base is beginning to freeze solid.
Presentation: stack a couple of big cube treats in a ramekin, and let it sit 10 minutes to begin melting. It will be frozen solid like a popsicle. If you insist, melt for 15 seconds max in the microwave; a better option is to take it out in the middle of preparing a meal, or a bit before serving, to soften.
*Note: if you are recovering from SIBO, you should wait until you are completely asymptomatic before you eat anything with sugars in it. This treat could give SIBO guts enough sugar to keep feeding a bowel overgrowth, causing GI symptoms from hell. Gluten is not the only thing that kicks our guts.
** if you blend this on high speed, such as in a single-speed blending unit such as a Magic Bullet, the speed will whip the coconut milk into ugly clumps. But if that is all you have, no worries! Simply transfer to a saucepan, heat slowly, and the coconut milk clumps will dissolve into the cacao powder. By the way, this makes an excellent base for cacao milk to add to coffee. Just sayin’.