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How to make a cherry coconut ice cream with crushed Oreos

Addie Broyles
Homemade cherry sauce and crushed up cream-filled cookies add flavor and texture to this honey-sweetened coconut ice cream. [Addie Broyles/American-Statesman]

If you can't make ice cream in July, when can you?

That was my thought earlier this week when I had a bag of cherries that needed some love. I'd been thinking about freezer-based desserts for our upcoming Austin360 Heat Week, so I pulled out this coconut ice cream recipe from "Jude's: A celebration of ice cream in 100 recipes" by Chow Mezger and Alex Mezger (Kyle Books, $19.99).

After making a simply cherry sauce with cherries simmered with sugar, I set out to make a cherry-and-dark chocolate swirled ice cream, but my attempt to make a swirlable chocolate sauce failed miserably. (Note to self: Don't microwave sweetened condensed milk that has been mixed with melted chocolate in an attempt to re-melt the chocolate.) So, I did what any well-meaning chocolate lover would do: I crushed up some of those coconut-flavored H-E-B cookies and added them to the mix.

This coconut ice cream base is a great place to start for your own ice cream creation. I used honey to sweeten the mix, so it's not vegan, but you can more easily find coconut cream, coconut milk and agave syrup if you want to make yours without any animal products.

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Coconut Ice Cream

This vegan ice cream is so easy to create at home. It’s unexpectedly creamy, with a fresh coconut flavor that makes your mind instantly wander to tropical islands. We’ve used cornstarch for extra smoothness and love serving it with toasted coconut flakes, which give nutty taste and texture, but if that’s not your thing, simply serve it straight up.

— Chow Mezger and Alex Mezger

1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 pint coconut cream

6 ounces agave syrup (or honey, for a non-vegan option)

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Handful of coconut flakes, toasted, to serve (optional)

Combine 1 tablespoon of the coconut milk with the cornstarch to make a paste. Gradually add a further 2 tablespoons of the coconut milk, stirring constantly. Pour the remaining coconut milk into a saucepan over a low heat with the coconut cream and agave syrup. Bring slowly to a simmer, then stir in the cornstarch paste and salt. Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring constantly until slightly thickened, then remove from the heat. Cover the pan, cool and chill in the refrigerator overnight, or if you don’t have time, for at least 2 hours.

Pour into an ice-cream machine and churn to a soft set following the manufacturer’s instructions, or until the blade stops. Spoon the soft ice cream into an airtight, freezer-proof container and put in the freezer for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight, until firm. Remove from the freezer and allow the ice cream to soften for 5 to 10 minutes before scooping. Serve with toasted coconut flakes, if using. Serves 6.

— From "Jude's: A celebration of ice cream in 100 recipes" by Chow Mezger and Alex Mezger (Kyle Books, $19.99)