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Homemade Chilly Treats

Coconut Milk Ice CreamNothing beats hot like cold! This summer, make time to chill out with homemade icy-cold sorbet, granita, gelato, ice cream and frozen yogurt. My personal favorite is Coconut Milk Ice Cream — a creamy, delicious non-dairy alternative. I always add dark chocolate chips! And this time of year you can’t go wrong with the classic Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream.

Making delicious cold treats is really pretty simple. Here are some tips:

  • A good ice cream maker is a must-have. Be sure to read the instructions before beginning.
  • If using fruit, make sure it’s ripe. Mashing or pureeing will carry the fruit flavor throughout.
  • Add extracts if desired, such as vanilla, mint, chocolate, lemon, etc.  Start small!
  • If adding chocolate chunks or chips, nuts, seeds, fruits, candies, etc., freeze before adding for better results.
  • Once made, indulge ASAP. If that’s not possible, freeze, but be sure to allow about 10 minutes at room temperature before serving. 
  • Remember, the consistency of homemade ice cream and other frozen desserts is not exactly the same as store-bought. Equally delicious, but not exactly the same!
  • Serve in ice cream dishes. Garnish if desired with fruit sauces, chocolate or caramel sauce, roasted nuts, berries and/or other fruits, even a favorite sweet wine or anything else you can think of. How about some chopped crystallized ginger?
  • Don’t let special dietary needs stop you. There is something for everyone, and most ingredients can easily be substituted. For non-dairy treats, I use coconut milk in place of whole milk or cream, but you can also use almond, soy, rice, or any favorite non–dairy milk alternative.  

Here’s my primer on frozen treats:

Fresh Berry GranitaGranitas are an Italian favorite! Originating in Sicily, it’s a semi-frozen dessert made from various flavorings, fruits, water and sweeteners. Try this Coffee Granita, this Watermelon Granita or this Fresh Berry Granita.

Gelato is the Italian word for ice cream. It’s made from the same ingredients including milk, cream, fruit, nuts and sweeteners.  What’s the difference? Gelato has less butterfat and less air than traditionally made ice cream, making for a dense, creamy treat. Our recipe for Peaches ‘N Honey Soy Gelato is gluten and dairy-free. 

Sorbet is a non-dairy frozen dessert typically made from fruit, sugar or other sweetener and water. It can also be made with wine or chocolate or any number of ingredients. Try this fruity Peach and Mango Sorbet.   

Raw Banana Ice CreamSherbet is similar to ice cream but made with fruit and dairy. Try our Lemon Basil Sherbet. For a non-dairy version, consider substituting coconut milk and/or almond milk. 

Frozen yogurt generally has less fat and calories than traditionally made ice cream. This Cherry Frozen Yogurt uses Greek yogurt and plenty of fresh cherries.  For fun, this Kid-friendly Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream makes summertime a breeze! Lemonade Ice with Whipped Yogurt is made from frozen lemonade and whipped Greek yogurt and honey. Truly unique!

For non-dairy treats, try this Raw Banana Ice Cream, sweetened with dates and raw honey, Peach-Banana Nice Cream, made with almond milk and almond butter, and or this Raspberry Nice Cream, made from cashew nuts, bananas and raspberries.  

Got a favorite homemade frozen treat you love? Let me know.

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Dildar says …

Ice cream is a delicious cold treat! I think it is one of summer must-have as every one is an ice cream lover so who would not like to take it? I am just savoring in the delight of images. Good tips you have made for us. Thank you, Alana! DbaiG Bolee.com

Janet says …

I have been thinking of buying an ice cream maker for a long time. I like being able to substitute my own ingredients. This article has definitely inspired me. Thank you for all of the creative suggestions.

June Siegel-Hill says …

I made the banana ice cream today, but don't like the taste of the coconut oil. How would it come out without that? It's the only bad ingredient in there. If anyone has made it, I'd like to hear about it. Thanks.

Mom says …


Kathy says …

Hi any diabetic desert recipes?