If you don’t like coconut flavor, you should probably read no further. Good, now that we coconutophiles are alone, there are three things I miss about dairy:
whipped cream on desserts
The first is easy. I have found (unsweetened) vanilla hemp milk to be yummy and creamy and a great alternative to dairy based coffee creamers. It’s delicious in a chai latte and I live in a city where no one looks at you twice when you tell them you are vegan, intolerant of gluten, and allergic to fun. I am none of these things (at least I try with the last one) but Los Angeles is a weird place where the demand for really specific foods is met by a supply of restaurants who serve local lemonade in mason jars with mint grown from the garden out back. You get my drift.
For cheese, it’s proved a bit more difficult. Cashews are great and work really well on dishes where cheese is not the main focus but rather the garnish (vodka sauce, sour cream, etc) – but I have yet to try a cheese alternative that doesn’t taste like plastic. I think if I gave up cheese all together my taste buds would change making the texture of fake cheese more alluring – but since I haven’t and I still eat cheese as a treat every so often, I leave cheese out of my recipes and savor it when I eat it every so often. I find that goat cheese doesn’t turn my stomach the way that cow cheese does so I mostly stick with goat base cheeses from this place – a goat rescue that uses the sales of their cheeses to fund the rescue operation. They rescue dogs, sheep, pigs, and all sorts of animals. Unlike most goat farms they don’t euthanize the male goats (because they can’t produce milk) and let them live out their lives peacefully nibbling on the brush. It’s the best goat cheese I’ve ever had and is a wonderful treat. I’d much rather this stuff than the soy or nut based “cheeses” from the supermarket.
And now for whipped cream. I discovered coconut cream about a year ago and I can’t believe I never knew this stuff existed. It’s thick, creamy, and naturally sweet – decadent for sure but also much more gentle on our tummies. If you just add a bit of raw honey and some vanilla, and then whip it with a hand mixer for 5 minutes – voila, you have whipped cream that most folks will find even more delicious than the dairy based stuff. I put this on my coconut almond truffles last night and it really completed the dish (along with some fresh fruit).
1 can coconut cream (I used the kind from Trader Joe’s but they also sell some on amazon )
1 tablespoon raw honey (make this vegan by using agave nectar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Add the coconut cream (leaving out any water in the can), vanilla and honey to a large mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, whip the cream for 5 minutes. Chill before using. Note: the cream may look less solid than dairy cream but once it’s chilled, it will be perfect!