We are quickly approaching the dog days of summer and nothing beats the heat like a frozen treat. When my son first went gluten-free, we ate a lot of ice cream. I always felt bad that he couldn’t have all the other gluten containing treats during holidays, birthday parties or other gatherings, so his treat was the ice cream or frozen yogurt shop. However, as I began to take a closer look at my family’s nutrition, I decided to cut out a lot of dairy and replace it with plant-based alternative milks such as almond milk and coconut milk. Don’t get me wrong, we continue to visit the ice cream shop and we especially like the frozen yogurt places with their vast selection of toppings (only the gluten-free ones of course), but we swap out the dairy where we can.
One of the easiest places to swap out dairy is ice cream. I think full-fat coconut milk does a fantastic job mimicking the properties of cream. I have had great success using coconut milk in my ice cream maker (recipes coming soon) that every family member has enjoyed. There are also a variety of coconut milk based ice creams hitting the supermarket. However, an easy way to make a non-dairy frozen treat at home, is popsicles. You won’t need a fancy ice cream maker, but you will need Popsicle molds and a blender.
One of my other tricks is using gelatin. I got this idea from Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D. of The Paleo Mom. She is a great Paleo blogger and author who does a great job explaining the science behind nutrition. Gelatin serves 2 purposes in these popsicles. Gelatin chemically reduces the formation of ice crystals in the Popsicle, making a smoother consistency during freezing. Also, gelatin is a fantastic supplement to anyone’s diet. Gelatin, not Jell-o, is great for your skin, hair, muscles, and joints. It is high in protein, collagen, and essential amino acids. Adding gelatin to this Popsicle recipe is an easy way to sneak this great supplement into your kid’s diet.
You can use unflavored gelatin available at the supermarket (typically Knox brand), in packet form, but I highly recommend using a high quality gelatin. I really like Great Lakes brand beef gelatin (reddish orange container available on Amazon), which is harvested from grass fed cows.
This recipe is very versatile. You can easily replace the liquid ingredients with your combination of choice. My kids love chocolate, so we like to add a little chocolate to everything. Also, I use agave nectar because it is a liquid, it doesn’t have a strong flavor, and a little goes a long way. However, you can easily swap in honey or maple syrup.
I hope you cool down this summer with a healthy Popsicle!
- 1 cup almond milk (preferably a brand that does not contain carrageenan)
- 1 Tbsp unflavored gelatin
- 1 can (13.5 oz) full-fat coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened baking cocoa
- ¼ cup agave nectar
- Pour almond milk into a saucepan.
- Add gelatin and allow it to “bloom” for a few minutes. Meaning, the gelatin will not dissolve, but you will see it begin to turn translucent.
- Gently heat almond milk and gelatin just until gelatin dissolves.
- In a blender, add coconut milk, baking cocoa, agave nectar, and almond milk/gelatin mixture.
- Blend until thoroughly combined.
- Add mixture to Popsicle molds and freeze for 4-6 hours or overnight.