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In the Kitchen - Watermelon Coconut Ice Cream

In the Kitchen - Watermelon Coconut Ice Cream

I realize that saying I'm "really into ice cream this summer" sounds pretty stupid--kind of like saying I'm "really into wood-burning fireplaces this winter" or I'm "really into antihistamines this spring," but this summer, I've noticed a marked increase in my craving for, and consumption of ice cream. I've been going through at least a pint a week (at least). It currently accounts about 60% of my diet--the other 40% being comprised of white wine and BBQ potato chips. I'm healthy.

With so much ice cream on the brain, I've become borderline-obsessed with the idea of making my own ice cream, venturing to the far corners of the internet for exotic-sounding flavors like blackberry-lavender, balsamic-strawberry, and rose-pistachio. After weeks of so many intoxicating recipes sitting pinned and bookmarked, ready to be churned and devoured, I decided to pull the trigger on easily the most unnecessary appliance I've ever purchased: a Cuisinart ice cream machine.

Two days later, it arrived at my door. I ripped open the box, anxious to behold the machine that would make possible the unusual floral flavors of my ice cream dreams, and then, as soon as it was out of the box, I came to the jarring realization that... "Oh right, I live in a New York City apartment, with a "kitchen" that literally doesn't have a counter. I have absolutely nowhere to put this microwave-sized machine that's sole purpose is making ice cream." Bubble burst. Dreams crushed. Back in the box it went.

Still determined, I took a stab at the recipe below, which claims no ice cream machine is necessary. So, welcome to Adventures in Ice Cream Making Take 1 - The "I Don't Need an Ice Cream Machine Edition" in which I learn that yes, I probably do need an ice cream machine. 

The flavor of this recipe is lovely, it's subtle and not overly sweet. And, since it employs the food trend du jour of using dates in lieu of added sugar, it's not terribly unhealthy. However, I found that the double blending technique used in this recipe doesn't adequately break up the teeny-tiny ice crystals that form during freezing, meaning you don't get that smooth, creamy texture. Maybe if you have a Vitamix or some super high-power blender, you'll get better results (I'll be honest, I don't even have a real blender) but my immersion blender/mini food processor method failed to produce exactly what I had in mind. 

My bootleg, apartment-life techniques aside, this recipe is really delicious and would make a perfect dessert for a light, fresh summer dinner. But, if your kitchen has more than say, one cabinet, and your home is big enough to host a dinner where all of your guests get to sit in an actual chair, maybe spring for the ice cream machine. Just a suggestion.

Watermelon Coconut Ice Cream

Recipe by Christal Sczebel


- 1 can full fat coconut milk

- 5 pitted medjool dates

- 1.5 - 2 cups cubed watermelon

- 1/8  teaspoon vanilla extract


Put all ingredients in a blender (ideally a high-powered blender, like Vitamix, but something less fancy will also work) and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into a cake pan and place in the freezer.

After about 3 hours, the mixture should be frozen. Break the frozen mixture into chunks and place back in the blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. 

Pour the mixture back into a bowl and place back into the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour, until your ice cream has firmed up.

Scoop and serve.

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