Why You Should Use Freshly Grated Cinnamon (and Cinnamon Coconut Ice Cream with Candied Cinnamon Cashews)

Cinnamon Coconut Ice Cream sweetened with pure maple syrup and candied cashews (dairy free, egg free)

Fresh cinnamon spikes this coconut milk based ice cream that is sweetened with pure maple syrup and dotted with candied cinnamon cashews. This dairy-free (and egg-free) ice cream is incredibly delicious! And I made it using something special – recently harvested cinnamon.

This ice cream is beautiful on its own, but it also makes a great ice cream to serve with sliced fruit, cobblers, and pies. Think of serving this with apple pie, for example. Mouth watering.

As a side note, don’t make the mistake of enjoying cinnamon only in the deep winter, as it is a lovely addition to summer and spring as well. It pairs especially well with stone fruit such as peaches, so I topped fresh sliced peaches with this cinnamon ice cream and it was divine!

Homemade cinnamon ice cream (dairy free, egg free) with peaches and candied cinnamon cashews --- The Nourishing Gourmet

Homemade cinnamon ice cream with sliced fresh peaches and candied cashews. A great combination!

Why “Fresh” Cinnamon?

I had never heard of using cinnamon fresh before, and found the idea fascinating when one of our sponsors, Cinnamon Hill, approached me about trying their freshly harvested cinnamon out. Cinnamon is the inner bark of the cinnamon plant. Do you know that fresh, woodsy smell that cedar wood has when you are carving it? And do you also notice how cedar wood will lose that lovely scent over time?

In the same way, cinnamon, a bark, will lose much of its flavor and lovely scent when it is kept too long. When cinnamon is fresh you will smell its fragrance as you raise the cinnamon stick to your nose. When you use a special cinnamon grater, and freshly grate cinnamon you will be surprised at how much more flavorful it can be.

Freshly harvested cinnamon! So flavorful and delicious.

Store Bought Cinnamon Can Be Old

Unfortunately, a lot of cinnamon sticks in the store can be quite old. I think this is part of the reason we sometimes see recipes calling for large amounts of cinnamon. As cinnamon sits around in a store, or in a stocking room, time starts to degrade its flavor. Since it is a hardy bark, it certainly won’t degrade and go bad quickly – it will simply lose the freshness of its flavor.

I learned early on in my cooking journey that the quality of the ingredients themselves dictate how well the dish tastes. I will admit that previous to trying this cinnamon out, I mostly saw cinnamon as one of many spices to add to things (I would very rarely use it to flavor something on its own).

Now that I’ve tried really high quality cinnamon, I find myself using it all on its own for a variety of things. It’s even found its way into my sacred morning cup of coffee (coconut cream and freshly grated cinnamon – so good!).

Beautiful wood, hand crafted cinnamon grater

Why Freshly Grate Cinnamon

I still remember years ago when I discovered how incredible fresh nutmeg was. Nutmeg, once a random spice I kept on hand for making gingerbread, transformed into something to savor all on its own. Unsurprisingly, when you treat cinnamon the same way by buying freshly harvested cinnamon, you also find yourself enjoying it all on its own.

Plus, when you buy pre-ground cinnamon, it’s already lost a portion of its flavor, and additives can be added to prevent it from caking. You know how cinnamon can have a slight bitter taste? That is a sign of old cinnamon.

We’ve all heard how whole grains are better enjoyed freshly ground because once ground they lose a significant portion of their nutrients over time, and that the high heat grinding destroys even more nutrients. With cinnamon, it’s the same way. Industrial cinnamon is ground using a high heat grinding mechanism (which degrades the quality and flavor) and then sits around for who knows how long until you buy it.

That said, fresh is definitely best!

Cinnamon Graters - Make your own amazing cinnamon powder with this using freshly harvested cinnamon!Cinnamon Graters - Make your own amazing cinnamon powder with this using freshly harvested cinnamon!

Use a Proper Cinnamon Grater

However, to enjoy freshly grated cinnamon you do need a proper cinnamon grater. Cinnamon Hillhas two kinds – and I found both to be really quality pieces. But the wooden one is hand made and is just beautiful. Using a microplane or grater isn’t recommended. BUT the really lovely thing is that I was able to toss my nutmeg grinder, and instead use the cinnamon grinder for nutmeg, too.

Notes on the recipe:

  • This is an (Amazon affiliate link)  ice cream maker I recommend.
  • This recipe really benefits from time to ripen in the freezer. The cinnamon flavor will better permeate the ice cream if left at least 24 hours. (We enjoyed the last of it weeks later and it was amazing then!).

Homemade Cinnamon Ice Cream with candied cashews (Dairy free, egg free, paleo, vegan)

 

Homemade Cinnamon Ice Cream with Candied Cashews

Ingredients:

  • 3 ½ cups of full fat coconut milk or cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (gluten-free, if needed)
  • 2-4 teaspoons cinnamon (2 if using pre-ground cinnamon, as freshly grated cinnamon flakes differently and doesn’t measure the same way))
  • ¾ pure maple syrup

Candied cashews:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon (1/4 teaspoon if using pre-ground cinnamon, as freshly grated flakes differently and doesn’t measure the same way)
  • ¾ cup cashews (I prefer cashew pieces

Directions:

1. In a small pan (I prefer cast iron), melt the coconut oil and coconut sugar together. Add the cashews and the cinnamon and cook over medium heat until the cashews are starting to brown. Pour the entire contents of the pan into a heat safe bowl, and allow the cashews to completely cool. The caramel-like sauce from the oil and sugar will harden on the cashews (and what doesn’t harden on the cashews makes delicious little morsels on their own for the ice cream!). After it has cooled completely, break apart the cashews, if needed.

2. Combine the rest of the ice cream ingredients together, and whisk. If using fresh cinnamon, start with 2 teaspoons and go from there, taste testing your way to desired flavor. If using pre-ground, start with 1, and then taste test up to 2 teaspoons.

3. Make in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions, adding the cashews in the last minute of the ice cream cycle, and then scrape into a container for the freezer.

4. Let the ice cream ripen in the freezer, preferably at least 24 hours (if not longer), and then serve. The ice cream will be hard, so allow it to soften at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before scooping.

Why You Should Use Freshly Grated Cinnamon (and Cinnamon Coconut Ice Cream with Candied Cinnamon Cashews)
 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 ½ cups of full fat coconut milk or cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (gluten-free, if needed)
  • 2-4 teaspoons cinnamon (2 if using pre-ground cinnamon, as freshly grated cinnamon flakes differently and doesn't measure the same way))
  • ¾ pure maple syrup
  • Candied cashews:
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon (1/4 teaspoon if using pre-ground cinnamon, as freshly grated flakes differently and doesn't measure the same way)
  • ¾ cup cashews (I prefer cashew pieces)
Instructions
  1. In a small pan (I prefer cast iron), melt the coconut oil and coconut sugar together. Add the cashews and the cinnamon and cook over medium heat until the cashews are starting to brown. Pour the entire contents of the pan into a heat safe bowl, and allow the cashews to completely cool. The caramel-like sauce from the oil and sugar will harden on the cashews (and what doesn’t harden on the cashews makes delicious little morsels on their own for the ice cream!). After it has cooled completely, break apart the cashews, if needed.
  2. Combine the rest of the ice cream ingredients together, and whisk. If using fresh cinnamon, start with 2 teaspoons and go from there, taste testing your way to desired flavor. If using pre-ground, start with 1, and then taste test up to 2 teaspoons.
  3. Make in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions, adding the cashews in the last minute of the ice cream cycle, and then scrape into a container for the freezer.
  4. Let the ice cream ripen in the freezer, preferably at least 24 hours (if not longer), and then serve. The ice cream will be hard, so allow it to soften at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before scooping.

 

Disclaimer: Cinnamon Hill Cinnamon Hill has partnered with me to bring us this lovely sponsored post. Please share the love with them! All opinions in this post are my own. Some links may be affiliate.

Grain Free Fried Chicken Strips

Pan fried in coconut oil, these chicken strips are also gluten, dairy, grain, and egg free!  (Kids love them!) --- The Nourishing Gourmet
Sometimes you make something that is so delicious; the kids are begging for you to repeat it soon. This was one of those times! Gently fried in a pan, these crispy crusted, tender chicken strips are delicious dipped into homemade ketchup. Plus, they are gluten-free, grain-free, egg-free and dairy-free as well!. These are so delicious and have officially made it into the “must regularly make ” pile of recipes. We repeated the recipe the week after we first made it (you know, just to make sure they were good enough to share here. :-) )

I used coconut oil for frying these, but there are a variety of traditional fats that could work too. I was going to try my homemade rendered fat from beef broth, but I realized I didn’t have enough of it left for this project. I’ll try it next time!

I made these using the “eye-balling” method, partly because it’s kind of the lazy way to do it, and partly because thermometers and I have an on and off relationship. I buy supposedly great thermometers, and then they aren’t very accurate. (Tell me if you have a favorite one in the comments!). All to say, I have been perfecting the act of watchful cooking without one. That said, if you are using a thermometer, aim for 375F (190C).

Is fried food healthy?

Yes, this is a recipe that fries food. Can that really be healthy? First of all, regardless of whether you think fried food is the best option, making fried food yourself using a healthy oil is certainly better for you than getting it at a restaurant using typical nontraditional oils. Furthermore, there is some discrepancy in the research, and some research even suggests that frying in a good oil could be neutral or even have benefits.

I’m not convinced it should be on the menu weekly (hello, budgeting!), but certainly, it makes a wonderful treat!

Pan fried in coconut oil, these chicken strips are also gluten, dairy, grain, and egg free!  (Kids love them!) --- The Nourishing Gourmet

Grain Free Fried Chicken Strips

Ingredients: 

  • 1 ½- 2 pounds chicken thighs (or breasts)
  • 1 ½ cups tapioca starch
  • 2 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • freshly ground pepper
  • coconut oil for frying

1. Cut off any fat from the chicken, and then cut into thin strips, about ¼-1/2 inch thick.

2. Put the tapioca starch, salt, thyme and plenty of ground pepper into a shallow pan and mix.

Pan fried in coconut oil, these chicken strips are also gluten, dairy, grain, and egg free! (Kids love them!) --- The Nourishing Gourmet

3. Toss the chicken strips and the starch mixture together until the chicken is well coated.

4. In a large saucepan (I prefer using cast iron for this), heat fat of choice. I used approximately 1 to 1 ½ cups of coconut oil. I wanted the chicken to be half submerged once it was put in. Heat the oil in a cast iron over medium heat (with a stainless steel pan, use medium-high heat), until hot (but not smoking). Add a single chicken strip to the pan, if it starts bubbling a lot around the chicken strip immediately, you have a good frying temperature (if not, don’t add any more until it starts bubbling around that single chicken strip, and then add more).

Pan fried in coconut oil, these chicken strips are also gluten, dairy, grain, and egg free!  (Kids love them!) --- The Nourishing Gourmet

5. Add the strips carefully one by one, not crowding the pan. Wait until the chicken looks at least cooked half way through and is starting to get a little browned, and then turn over and cook on the other side. It took about 6-9 minutes for each batch to cook through. I simply cut through a chicken strip to check to make sure they were done, although once they were browned at all, I never found a single one that hadn’t gotten cooked thoroughly. Remove from the pan once cooked.

6. Repeat the frying process until all of the chicken is cooked. Serve with homemade ketchup and enjoy right away!

Interested in saving your oil for future frying projects? Check out this helpful link.

Grain Free Fried Chicken Strips
 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ½- 2 pounds chicken thighs (or breasts)
  • 1 ½ cups tapioca starch
  • 2 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • freshly ground pepper
  • coconut oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Cut off any fat from the chicken, and then cut into thin strips, about ¼-1/2 inch thick.
  2. Put the tapioca starch, salt, thyme and plenty of ground pepper into a shallow pan and mix.
  3. Toss the chicken strips and the starch mixture together until the chicken is well coated.
  4. In a large saucepan (I prefer using cast iron for this), heat fat of choice. I used approximately 1 to 1 ½ cups of coconut oil. I wanted the chicken to be half submerged once it was put in. Heat the oil in a cast iron over medium heat (with a stainless steel pan, use medium-high heat), until hot (but not smoking). Add a single chicken strip to the pan, if it starts bubbling a lot around the chicken strip immediately, you have a good frying temperature (if not, don’t add any more until it starts bubbling around that single chicken strip, and then add more).
  5. Add the strips carefully one by one, not crowding the pan. Wait until the chicken looks at least cooked half way through and is starting to get a little browned, and then turn over and cook on the other side. It took about 6-9 minutes for each batch to cook through. I simply cut through a chicken strip to check to make sure they were done, although once they were browned at all, I never found a single one that hadn’t gotten cooked thoroughly.
  6. Repeat the frying process until all of the chicken is cooked. Serve with homemade ketchup and enjoy right away!

 

Pan-Fried Thai Chicken with Carrot and Ginger Salad

Pan Fried Thai Chicken with Carrot and Ginger Salad - a great meal for a hot summer night. -www.thenourishinggourmet.com

This simple pan-fried chicken is brought to a whole new level when covered in Thai inspired flavors, accompanied by a fresh carrot and ginger salad.

Long time readers will know that I love to share my twist on Thai dishes with you! Ingredients like curry paste give an ordinary dish a fun twist that I really enjoy.

In the summer time who wants to heat up the house by turning on the oven in the late afternoon? Not me. I prefer to cook on the stove top and keep the flavors light saving the heartier meals for the fall and winter. If I use the oven I wait till it cools down at night or first thing in the morning.

This pan-fried Thai chicken with carrot and ginger salad is light, refreshing and full of flavor! I chose to use red curry paste which has a slight kick to it, for a milder flavor you can decrease the amount used or use a more mild paste such as green curry.

The salad is wonderful when served right after you make it but it is even better the next day! You can make it ahead of time to allow for even easier prep when you start making dinner.

Other Thai Inspired Dishes:

Pan-Fried Thai Chicken

4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken thighs, pounded flat
  • 4 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar/sucanat
  • 2vtablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce/tamari
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

Directions:

1. Using a meat pounder or a rubber hammer thinly pound the chicken thighs until flat. (Kimi Notes: I like to put the chicken thighs between two pieces of parchment paper when flattening chicken.)

2. Mix the water, red curry paste, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, and garlic together to make a thick paste.

3. Coat both sides of the thighs, place in a glass container and allow to marinade for at least one hour.

4. Add the oil to a skillet and bring to medium/high heat. Add the thighs and cook for about 3 minutes on each side.

5. Cut one thigh to be sure there is no pink and that the meat is completely cooked.

6. Serve with steamed white rice and carrot and ginger salad.

Carrot and Ginger Salad

4 to 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound carrots, shaved into ribbons
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 TBS grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon unrefined salt

Directions:

1. Chop both ends off the carrots, peel and discard (or compost) the peels.

2. Use the peeler to make thin ribbons from the carrots, just like when you peel a carrot.

3. Chop the cilantro and mix with the carrots ribbons.

4. Mix the lime juice, olive oil, lime zest, ginger and unrefined salt together in a bowl.

5. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to cover.

Pan Fried Thai Chicken
 
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 4 Servings
 
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken thighs, pounded flat
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup Thai red curry paste
  • 2 TBS palm sugar/sucanat
  • 2 TBS coconut oil
  • 1 TBS grated ginger
  • 1 TBS soy sauce/tamari
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
Instructions
  1. Using the meat pounder or a rubber hammer thinly pound the chicken thighs until flat.
  2. Mix the water, red curry paste, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, and garlic together to make a thick paste.
  3. Coat both sides of the thighs, place in a glass container and allow to marinade for at least one hour.
  4. Add the oil to a skillet and bring to medium/high heat. Add the thighs cook for about 3 minutes on each side.
  5. Cut one thigh to be sure there is no pink and that the meat is completely cooked.
  6. Serve with steamed white rice and carrot and ginger salad.

 
Carrot and Ginger Salad
 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Thai
 
Ingredients
  • 1lb carrots, shaved into ribbons
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 TBS grated ginger
  • ½ tsp unrefined salt
Instructions
  1. Chop both ends off the carrots, peel and discard (or compost) the peels.
  2. Use the peeler to make thin ribbons from the carrots, just like when you peel a carrot.
  3. Chop the cilantro and mix with the carrots ribbons.
  4. Mix the lime juice, olive oil, lime zest, and unrefined salt together in a bowl.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to cover.

 

Tart Cherry Fruit Snacks

Tart Cherry Fruit Snacks - Great for the kids, lunch boxes, and summer camp. ---- The Nourishing Gourmet

With a perfect balance of sweet and tart, these homemade fruit snacks are delightful. Plus, they are only a five-minute project! I love the beautiful jeweled tone they have – sometimes nature’s natural color tones really are best. And it goes without saying that they are a perfect snack for kids. It’s a lot cheaper to make your own too!

You only need a few ingredients for this recipe: Tart cherry juice, honey, and gelatin (or you could use agar agar).

I’m going to be making some more to send with my oldest when she goes to summer soccer camp next week!

A Note on Gelatin

Some of the same benefits of homemade broth are true for gelatin! I buy it from my affiliate Amazon (I used this brand in this recipe). If you prefer not to use gelatin or need a vegan option, you can try agar agar. I haven’t personally tried it out yet, so I can’t give advice on proportions, but I’ve heard it’s just as easy to use (and it’s a lovely way to enjoy the benefits of seaweed too!). Amazon also carries agar agar here .

You can also use adorable silicone molds to form fruit snacks, which is really fun. Take a look at these heart shaped molds or these cute gummy bear molds! Molds make the project even more fun.

You can find the tart cherry juice at many stores, including Trader Jo’s!

Other Gelatin Based Snacks and Desserts

Homemade Tart Cherry Fruit Snacks

4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of tart cherry juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons gelatin

Directions:

1. In a medium, heat-safe bowl, place ½ cup of the tart cherry juice. Sprinkle the gelatin over it and stir it in.

2. Heat the other half of the juice and the honey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, until just starting to simmer.

3. Pour over the gelatin and juice mixture and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

4. Pour into molds, or a small pan (I used a bread pan). Set in the refrigerator and chill until the gelatin is set. If not using molds, slide a knife around the edge of the pan and remove gelatin from pan.

5. Chop into small pieces. Enjoy!

Tart Cherry Fruit Snacks
 
Author:
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of tart cherry juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons gelatin
Instructions
  1. In a medium, heat safe bowl, place ½ cup of the tart cherry juice. Sprinkle the gelatin over it and stir it in.
  2. Heat the other half of the juice and the honey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, until just starting to simmer.
  3. Pour over the gelatin and juice mixture and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
  4. Pour into molds, or a small pan (I used a bread pan). Set in the refrigerator and chill until the gelatin is set. If not using molds, slide a knife around the edge of the pan and remove gelatin from pan.
  5. Chop into small pieces. Enjoy!

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