Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Coconut Milk Sweet Treats for Valentines
For starters, you have choices. Chocolate or strawberry. Mousse or frozen confection. All from the same basic technique that takes advantage of full fat coconut milk. I gave you a recipe in the February Diner News for Chocolate Mint Mousse. Yes, it is paleo if you allow some sweeteners. I chose stevia, but you can add whatever you like. The mousse recipes don't need too much of a sweet boost. What we are doing here, is taking advantage of the natural thickness of the chilled coconut milk. I tested two brands, and both worked really well. Thai Kitchen and Badia both passed my test. Some other brands did not. Hint: if you can hear liquid sloshing around inside the open can, chances are you don't have enough to work with. I can't even hear movement in these brands while they are still room temperature. That is what you want for mousse.
I got the idea for coconut milk mousse last fall, when I discovered that ingenious cooks were using coconut milk as a whipped cream substitute. I took my instructions from The Nutty Kitchen blog. It worked for me with hardly any whipping, so why not flavors? I had the idea stuck in my notebook for a paleo themed newsletter, so that is when I tried it. Well, come to find out, there are others similarly as brilliant as I. Go figure. Chocolate Covered Katie actually calls the mousse, frosting shots. Her version did not go with mint flavoring like I did, but they are remarkably close. After I saw hers, I decided you might be able to pipe the mousse out. It worked. From there, I piped some onto parchment paper and froze them. Delight! They are like gorgeous little bites of chocolate mint ice cream. Oh yeah. Easy storage and portion control! Just pluck the frozen bites off the parchment and put them all in a freezer bag. They will be waiting to make you feel better 24/7.
But back to Valentine's Day. As much as I like the chocolate mint, I wanted pink. Strawberry Mousse to be precise. Another hit! Light and airy, a berry cloud with the slightest touch of coconut. Perfect for the sweetest day. This mousse is a little thinner than the chocolate, given the wetness of the strawberry puree. I don't think this could be piped as a frosting. Think of it more like a whipped cream consistency. It could be dropped onto parchment from a spoon like little pink clouds. I decided to try the pink mousse out in my heart shaped ice cube trays. Perfect pale pink hearts. Being larger than my piped chocolates, these are just a little trickier to eat. They melt a little, but need about 5 minutes out of the freezer to avoid breaking a tooth. That would spoil a romantic evening... The look is so fun, though, they are worth the timing trouble.
Ready for the recipes?
Chocolate Mint Mousse
1 can full fat coconut milk, chilled overnight
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp mint extract
1/8 tsp stevia extract (OR 1-2 packets of sweetener)
Open the can of chilled coconut milk. Scoop out the solidified portions, leaving the coconut water in the can. Reserve that for a smoothie or soup. Add the creamy portion to a small bowl. Stir in cocoa powder, vanilla and mint extract. Hand whip or use a hand mixer to incorporate all ingredients. Spoon into dessert glasses and chill. Makes 2 large desserts, or 4-6 dessert shots.
To make frozen swirls, fill a pastry bag with the mousse. Place on a star tip. Pipe the mousse into bite sized mounds on parchment paper. Freeze. Once firm, remove individual mounds and place in a freezer bag. These must be kept frozen, but are best about 5 minutes after removing from the freezer. Too much longer, and the outsides will melt in the hand.
Strawberry Coconut Mousse
1 can full fat coconut milk, chilled overnight
6 frozen strawberries
1/8 tsp stevia extract
Allow frozen berries to thaw about 30 minutes on the counter. Use a blender or food processor to puree the berries. Add the solid portions from the can of coconut milk. Reserve the water in the can for another use. Blend the berries and coconut milk. Add the stevia, and adjust taste to your preferences. Spoon into dessert glasses. Makes 2 individual desserts or 4-6 dessert shots.
To make frozen strawberry clouds, spoon the mousse onto parchment paper in bite sized mounds. Freeze two hours or more. For strawberry hearts, pour the mousse into ice cube trays and chill two hours or until firm. Remove from trays. Allow the hearts to warm 5 minutes before eating. Store remaining hearts in a freezer bag.
These are pretty, easy, healthy and delicious. What more could we want for a fun Valentine treat?