Healthy Coconut Ice

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Coconut ice will always have my heart. Did you ever go to a school fair and not get a piece? Here’s my easy low-sugar-vegan version, with just 5 ingredients and 10 mins.
Prep Time 10 mins
30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
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bowl with pink and white squares of coconut ice

Coconut ice will always have my heart. Did you ever go to a school fair, and not get a piece? Here’s my easy, low-sugar, but still stunningly tasty version.

And – if you tried my coconut butter last week, you’ll be even more ready to take this one on. Here’s what we’re talking:

  • A smooth fudgey near-perfect replica of the classic coco ice texture
  • Creamy and sweet, but with a fraction of the sugar in most recipes
  • No artificial food colourings, preservatives, or unwanted hangers on

All you need is 10 mins, 5 ingredients, and a food processor. Watch my vid below in less than 40 seconds, and see how easy it is. Then make yourself a slice of nostalgia this weekend!

How to Make Healthy Coconut Ice

Why is it called coconut ice?

Coconut ice, it’s a kiwi classic. We can’t take all the credit though – it actually originated in Britain, and can now be found in school fairs across NZ, Australia, and South Africa. It’s called coconut ice as it’s made predominantly from coconut, but looks like little blocks of pink and white ice.

Girl eating a piece of coconut ice

What is coconut ice normally made from

So what is it typically made from? A quick search of a classic recipe gives this line up:

Icing sugar, dairy milk, butter, desiccated coconut, coconut essence (flavour, water, preservative 202), salt, red food colouring (water, food colour 122, citric acid 330, potassium sorbate 202, sodium benzoate 211).

I should put measurements on those though, to really put things in perspective:

6 cups icing sugar, 100g butter, 1 cup full fat dairy milk, 1 cup desiccated coconut, 2 tsp coconut essence, 1 tsp salt, 3 drops red food colour.

Quite apart from it being an absolute sugar and fat bomb, it’s also topped off with synthetic red food colouring, otherwise known as food colour 122 or azorubine. One 2018 animal study found moderate to severe changes in ovary function and hormone levels with azorubine consumption, with the authors concluding the substance to be a significant cause of infertility, hormonal disturbance, and irregular menstruation, and that it should be banned from the food industry.

All in all, a super fun thing from our childhood, but really not something we wanting to be repeating as adults (or giving to our kids).

girl holding a piece of coconut ice with a bowl of coconut ice below

Natural alternatives to red food colouring

So what can we use as an alternative when we’re wanting our food to look pink? Luckily there are a bunch of options, my favourite two being:

  • Beetroot juice or powder
  • Freeze-dried strawberries or raspberries

What gives  them their rosy hue? For beets, it’s a compound called betanin, for strawberries and raspberries, it’s their anthocyanin polyphenol content. Either way – a much better option than synthetic colourings, and I’m sure you’ll agree the end result looks just as great.

girl holding a piece of coconut ice with a bowl of coconut ice below

Ingredients for this healthy coconut ice

This low-sugar vegan coconut ice uses just 5 core ingredients, plus our pantry favourite – salt. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Desiccated coconut
  • Freeze-dried strawberries or raspberries
  • Brown rice syrup (or another liquid sweetener)
  • Coconut oil
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
girl holding bowl with pink and white squares of coconut ice

Tips for making the best coconut ice

  • Use enough coconut –  you need enough for it to weigh down on the blades and turn into butter. It looks like a lot when you start, but it’ll quarter in size.
  • Use a food processor – a food processor uses an S blade which helps bring the ingredients back down onto the blade. A blender in contrast has a claw-style blade, which flicks the food up, better for sauces and smoothies.
  • Have patience – it takes a while for the coconut to move to coco butter stage. Stop and scrape down every minute as you go, and if it’s not liquifying, add 1-2 tablespoons of melted coco oil to get it moving. It can take up to 10 minutes depending on your processor.
  • Use a light liquid sweetener – like brown rice syrup, light coconut nectar, or light agave syrup. This will make sure you keep a nice white colour to the base and crisp pink to the topping. If you use maple syrup or coconut sugar it’ll go brown.
  • Don’t add your berries until the end – the final add-ins make the mix seize up a little, so make sure you’ve reached the same consistency as in my vid above, before you add your sweetener, vanilla, and berries.
bowl with pink and white squares of coconut ice

How to store your coconut ice

This one’s a fridge baby. It goes too hard in the freezer, and you’ll also lose some of the natural sweetness (something that always happens when you freeze things). I love storing most of my sweet treats in the freezer for that firm chewy texture, but this one is definitely better off in the fridge. It’ll keep there for a good 3-4 weeks in a sealed container. You can pop it in the freezer if you want it to last longer (2-3 months).

Want more bite size sweet treats like this? Try these:

If you try this Healthy Coconut Ice, let me know! Leave a rating and comment below (it helps others find the recipe), or tag me @begoodorganics on Instagram.

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Healthy Coconut Ice

Coconut ice will always have my heart. Did you ever go to a school fair and not get a piece? Here’s my easy low-sugar-vegan version, with just 5 ingredients and 10 mins.
5 from 2 votes
AuthorBuffy Ellen
Servings 12 squares
Prep Time 10 mins
30 mins
Total Time 40 mins

Ingredients

  • 5 c desiccated coconut
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil melted
  • 4 tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt
  • c freeze dried strawberries/raspberries

Instructions

  • Blend 4 cups of the coconut in a food processor until a smooth butter forms (save the last cup until the end). This may take anywhere from one to ten minutes depending on your food processor. Scrape down the sides each minute as you go. It should end up being relatively pourable, similar to smooth peanut butter (and slightly warm from blending).
  • Add the remaining ingredients including the final cup of coconut, but excluding the berries, and blend on low until combined.
  • Pour half the mixture into a loaf tin lined with baking paper, and press down with a spatula until flat.
  • Add the berries to the remaining mixture and blend until combined (leaving a few chunks of berries). Press on top of the white layer then freeze for 30 mins until firm. Slice and serve. Will keep in the fridge for 3-4 weeks, or in the freezer for 2-3 months.

Equipment

  • Food processor

Recipe Notes

  • Sugar free: Swap the syrup for the double the amount of date paste – it will go light brown though in colour. Or use a large pinch or stevia or 4 tablespoons of xylitol.
  • Oil free: Swap the coconut oil for 1/4 cup of coconut cream, and keep in the freezer (it will set a little softer).