After growing up in Illinois where icy, cold wind can whip right across the flat, open land and chill you to the core, I can’t really complain about winter in Austin, Texas where I live now. That is, I can’t complain about the temperatures. What I can and do frequently complain about is winter allergy problems. January is ‘cedar fever’ time, thanks to the abundant pollen from mountain cedar, or ash juniper, trees. Coughing, sneezing, congestion, and lack of sleep become a way of life, and I’m willing to try any and every home remedy I can to combat those issues. One common allergy remedy is avoiding dairy. That seems simple enough except for the fact that I really enjoy eating cheese, and I bake quite a lot with things like butter, cream, and milk. However, when I’d suffered allergy symptoms to the point of almost losing my voice, I decided to put more serious effort into avoiding dairy until the worst part of the season passed. I remembered from reading In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite that author Melissa Clark’s husband doesn’t eat much dairy, and she had created a frozen treat for him using coconut milk. If I could still have something a lot like ice cream for dessert, while not having cream, I could do this dairy-free thing for a short while.
Not only is this an ice cream kind of dessert with no cream, it also has no eggs. It’s made with coconut milk which is naturally rich, but the end result is still a bit lighter than an average ice cream recipe. You begin by warming coconut milk and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Then, chopped bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder, dark rum, and a little salt were added, and that was whisked until the chocolate was melted and the mixture was smooth. Once again, I used a mix of regular cocoa powder and some black onyx cocoa powder which gives the mixture a good, dark color. The coconut mixture was then transferred to a measuring pitcher and chilled before being refrigerated for a few hours. Once completely cold, it was churned in an ice cream maker.
The chocolate coconut sorbet was creamy and richly chocolate-flavored. There’s a suggestion in the recipe to serve it with shredded coconut and a chocolate sauce to make it reminiscent of a Mounds bar, but instead, I topped it with toasted, shredded coconut, chopped almonds, and pieces of candied orange peel. All those crunchy, chewy toppings made it an especially fun dessert, and the almonds took it in more of an Almond Joy direction in the end. And, you know, I didn’t miss the dairy one bit.