Honey Cinnamon Grand Marnier Ice Cream (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, What can I eat that’s gluten free?Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Friday Foodie Fix–Coconut MilkFriday Foodie Fix–Honey, Friday Foodie Fix–Cinnamon, Friday Foodie Fix–Wine and Spirits.


Today is the second day of our Gluten-Free Progressive Dinner Party featuring desserts. Today’s specialties are frozen or chilled desserts. You’ll want to check out hostess Diane’s Chocolate Sorbet with Roasted Cocoa Nibs at her blog, The W.H.O.L.E. Gang. Did you see yesterday’s Baked Desserts? Ali made delicious Soft Molasses Cookies (Gluten Free and Vegan). Alison shared Grandma Anne’s Butterhorns (gluten free and dairy free) as a lovely tribute to her grandmother. Shauna of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef  is offering up Cinnamon Rolls (I’m not turning those down!). Tomorrow, you can visit Karen at Cook4Seasons for her Raw Tri-Color Truffles and return to Ali’s Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen for Milk Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Agave Frosting—both in the Chocolate Desserts category. Thursday it will be No-Bake Desserts with Diane at The W.H.O.L.E. GangCranberry Chocolate Nut Truffles— and perhaps another recipe from me. (I’m hopeful … read on.) Friday will be Favorite Desserts with Melissa from Gluten Free for Good (her version of Babycakes Brownies) and Jean of Gluten-Free Organics and More (her Ready-In-A-Week, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Fruitcake).

Not too long ago, I decided to give up the whipped topping that comes in a tub. A reader’s comment on Mark’s Daily Apple led me to a post on another blog that expanded on some of the ingredients used in whipped topping and some of the other uses of those ingredients, like polysorbate 60. (I’ll let you investigate on your own if you are interested, but the information was unsettling to me.)  So, I told Mr. GFE that there would be no more whipped topping in our house unless I made it using whipping cream and a mixer—which is actually very easy to do. He sighed, but knew I wouldn’t leave him in the lurch. And, of course, we usually have pie with no topping at all and it’s more than sufficient.

However, I decided some homemade Honey Cinnamon ice cream would be very lovely atop any of my Thanksgiving pies (crustless versions of pumpkin, coconut, and pecan). This ice cream would contain real ingredients: honey (from our happy bees), cinnamon, and coconut milk. The latter would ensure that my dairy-free friends could enjoy this recipe as well. There weren’t any of those friends present for Thanksgiving, but I’ve also found I enjoy using coconut milk in recipes. Both the texture and flavor are great. And, by flavor I don’t mean a strong coconut taste. Seriously, nobody ever says “I taste coconut!” when they eat anything I’ve made with coconut milk. It just adds a slight sweetness, but also provides a creamy texture without dairy. In fact, I think the creaminess is superior to that provided by dairy.

So my plans were set … until I saw Melissa’s blog post over at Gluten Free for Good. She had just made Pumpkin Maple Grand Marnier ice cream. (It looked and sounded heavenly.) Grand Marnier … now that was a brilliant idea! Although Melissa will be the first to tell you that she got the idea from David Lebovitz. He added Grand Marnier to his pumpkin ice cream recently. After seeing Melissa’s post, my plans quickly changed to include Grand Marnier liqueur in my recipe. Plus, I decided to add a tiny bit of salt to balance out all the sweetness. The resulting ice cream was quite nice. Everyone enjoyed the recipe, and appreciated the Grand Marnier undertones. Not one person asked for whipped topping instead. Two of Melissa’s readers and fellow gluten-free bloggers, Stephanie and Naomi, commented that adding alcohol to ice cream ensures that ice crystals won’t form and the ice cream will stay nice and scoopable. Great information and it certainly seemed to be true when I made this recipe.

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I got one quick photo of the ice cream topping my coconut pie and pecan pie combo, but I decided to make some more this morning before heading to work. I wanted to have it made and I wanted to get a photo in nice morning light. (I even tweeted about it! “You might be a food blogger if you make ice cream in the morning to take a photo in nice light.” I asked others to join in on “You might be a food blogger if …” and they did! Follow me on Twitter @Shirleygfe.)

One reason I wanted to make ice cream again is that I’m planning on making a raw pie on Thursday. (If all goes well, it will be a last-minute entry to the Gluten- Free Desserts Progressive Dinner Party, in the No-Bake category. I didn’t commit to it initially because I wasn’t sure I could get the dates I needed. Remember my grocery store is limited in produce availability and knowledge.) But, it looks like my dear mom will pick some up for me in town. I won’t give away any more details on the raw pie, except to say that I knew this ice cream recipe would also complement the flavors of the pie. I also decided to tweak the ice cream recipe a tiny bit from the first time I made it. I liked the last variation of this ice cream even better … the cinnamon was not as strong and the Grand Marnier flavoring was more subtle. Of course, you can simply omit the Grand Marnier if you like, which would also make the recipe refined sugar free. (It’s possible that there is no refined sugar in Grand Marnier, but I don’t know that.) Finally, you don’t have to use this ice cream as topping; you can just enjoy it by itself. It’s delicious and satisfying. One small bowl will suffice nicely.

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Honey Cinnamon Grand Marnier Ice Cream (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
(Click here for a print version of this recipe.)

2 2/3 cups full-fat coconut milk, chilled
½ cup honey
2 tsp cinnamon (first version used Penzey’s Extra Fancy; second version used Penzey’s Strong—your more basic “every day” variety)
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 tsp – 2 tbsp Grand Marnier liqueur (optional, see notes)

Blend all together in blender or in a mixing bowl with mixer.

Pour into already frozen container of the ice cream maker. Churn for 25-30 minutes.

Shirley’s Notes: The ice cream will still be fairly soft at the end of churning, so you may want to freeze it for an additional amount of time in the freezer. Incidentally, I’ve found that if I wrap my ice cream container in a towel and leave it on the counter for a few minutes, it will actually freeze a little more on its own just from the frozen container. So if you don’t want it to freeze too much more, that might be an option. When I’ve made this ice cream for folks who don’t consume alcohol, I’ve used vanilla extract instead of Grand Marnier. Of course, most vanilla extract is alcohol based, so if the ice cream must be completely alcohol free, an alcohol-free vanilla extract should be used.


Not just gf, but gfe!

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56 Responses to “Honey Cinnamon Grand Marnier Ice Cream (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)”

  1. glutenfreeforgood on December 8th, 2009 9:32 am


    This looks amazing. Especially as it melts over coconut and pecan pie. Oh my gosh! I’m trying so hard not to eat too many sweets and then you tempt me with this! Coconut and pecan are all-time favorite flavors for me. This new concept of adding a touch of Grand Marnier is a wonderful one. Oh, and by the way, a disclaimer is necessary here. It wasn’t my original idea, I took the alcohol part from David Lebovitz’s post on pumpkin ice cream (I linked to him in my original post). Thank you for the mention, but I absolutely can’t take credit for that one. It was nice to find out from Stephanie and Naomi about the texture of ice cream when alcohol is added. Good point and what I love about food bloggers. Everyone’s so helpful! Together we can come up with some amazing recipes!

    Well, Shirley, this is another hit from you! I’m definitely trying this one!


    • Shirley on December 8th, 2009 10:20 pm

      Hi Melissa–Thanks, my dear! And, sorry :-( … it really was a great topping for those pies. I’m sorry about the oversight on mentioning David Lebovitz, too. I’ll go update my post. Like you, I want to give credit where it’s due. (So important when blogging!) I was thinking about all our helpful blogging buddies today as a matter of fact. I so agree!

      I know you’re making Ali’s soft molassses cookies right now, but I’ll look forward to you making this recipe and reporting back. Of course, those cookies would be pretty wonderful with this ice cream. Perhaps an ice cream sandwich made from Ali’s molasses cookies and my HCGM ice cream. No commercial ice cream sandwich could come close to that delight! ;-)


  2. Linda on December 8th, 2009 9:59 am

    That looks delicious and the ingredients sound wonderful.

    I would say you might be a food blogger if you keep a notebook on the counter to jot down everything you do as you are cooking/baking.

    • Shirley on December 8th, 2009 10:25 pm

      Hi Linda–Thanks so much! I was thinking about you a few minutes ago … well, specifically, your calzone recipe. ;-) I had some stuffed pizza for dinner … I’m imagining the flavors are similar. Yum.

      Love your “you might be a food blogger” addition! It shows how organized you are, too. My jotting down occurs on newspapers, envelopes, etc. I have perfectly lovely paper and notebooks, but that’s where I always seem to jot stuff. Then I have to find them. To make matters worse, I am famous for not writing what the recipe is. For most things, that’s not a problem, but for different variations of the same recipe … not good. LOL


  3. Lauren on December 8th, 2009 10:30 am

    This sounds fabulous! I’m not sure what the flavour of grand marnier is, but this might be great with maple syrup instead of the honey. Its a flavour that always goes with cinnamon!

    Love the You might be a food blogger ifs!

    • Shirley on December 8th, 2009 10:32 pm

      Hi Lauren–Grand Marnier is “Bitter orange flavours are enhanced by the cognac with nuances of orange marmalade and hazelnuts. The finish is long and harmonious.” per their website. I would have sent the link, but you have to be 21 to enter and since you are our resident Celiac Teen, I won’t do that. ;-)

      You are right about the maple syrup. I originally had maple and cinnamon in mind, but then defaulted to our bees’ honey. :-)

      You’ll have to share a “You might be a food blogger” with us … I know you have some.


      • Lauren on December 8th, 2009 11:38 pm

        Interesting. I have no idea how to imagine those flavours! Thats funny about 21 – our age is only 18/19. But yours varies from state to state, right? I don’t drink anyways, but thats interesting.

        Well your own honey is always a good plan! It sounds fabulous =D.

        Hmm… You might be a food blogger if you’ve got ratios written on random pieces of paper, and you know exactly what each one means. And… You might be a food blogger if your friend tells you to drop out of school to open a bakery (It happened today! But I promise this blogger will be staying in school & then University when the time comes!).

        • Shirley on December 10th, 2009 7:51 am

          Lauren–I can understand what you mean about not being able to imagine the combination of flavors in Grand Marnier. Nice orange undertones, but much more. ;-) An act was passed 20 years ago in the U.S. that withheld road funding for states that had a drinking age under 21, so all states went to 21 because they wanted that money.

          The honey works really well in ice cream … much better than granulated sugar I think.

          Love your “you might be a food blogger if” statements! Doesn’t that make you feel good when a friend praises your efforts with a compliment like that? Very nice! I’m sure we’ll continue to enjoy your baking through your great blog. I thank you for that! :-)


  4. VeggieGirl on December 8th, 2009 10:43 am

    Sounds INCREDIBLE!

    • Shirley on December 8th, 2009 10:33 pm

      Hi VeggieGirl–Thanks so much! Hope you give it a try. :-)


  5. Ali on December 8th, 2009 1:15 pm

    Wow Shirley, this ice cream recipe sounds amazing! I will have to give it a try for x-mas! Thanks! :)

    • Shirley on December 8th, 2009 9:15 pm

      Thanks so much, Ali! It’s delicious. You might want to use orange extract for the kiddos. Of course, you are such a phenomenon with recipe creation, I’m sure you’ll reinvent it a little bit. ;-)


  6. Alison @ surefoodsliving on December 8th, 2009 2:05 pm

    This looks yummy! Do you think kids would like it, or is it more of an adult flavor?
    Great entry for the Progressive Dinner Party!

    • Shirley on December 8th, 2009 9:26 pm

      Alison–That’s a readlly good question. I had to think about it some and that meant trying some more of the ice cream. :-) My guess is that with the Grand Marnier, it’s definitely an adult flavor. It kind of has a Baileys’ Irish Cream thing going of if you know what I mean. Leave out the Grand Marnier and I think you’d have a kid friendly, but still enjoyable honey cinnamon flavor.

      Thanks so much! I really loved your butterhorns … especially that you made them gf/df, you should be very proud of yourself! And, it was such a sweet tribute to your Grandma Anne. Made me think of my own grandmother (Mamie) and her special mannerisms and sayings. ;-)


  7. Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free on December 8th, 2009 4:11 pm

    Wow!! I have some coconut milk in my pantry…maybe I’ll whip up a batch of this. I love to make homemade ice cream and I’ve been using less and less dairy. It sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing this at Slightly Indulgent Tuesday!

    • Shirley on December 8th, 2009 9:29 pm

      Hi Amy–Thanks so much! I try to keep coconut milk on hand at all times now. I found a brand at our bare bones grocery store that’s a little bit less expensive than Thai Kitchen brand and, more importantly, it contains no guar gum. I like that. I find that other than making ice cream, I don’t use a lot of coconut milk at once though.

      It was my pleasure to link to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday. It’s always such a great roundup. Must go back and read all the entries now. ;-)


  8. Jenn/CinnamonQuill on December 8th, 2009 7:21 pm

    Ooooo! Perfect timing; I’m visiting my parents right now—and they have an ice cream maker! Yesss!

    • Shirley on December 8th, 2009 9:41 pm

      Oh, Jenn, I think you will be their most favorite daughter! :-) Please let us know what you think and what your parents think, too.



  9. Kim on December 8th, 2009 8:57 pm

    YUM!!! That ice cream sounds amazing!

    • Shirley on December 8th, 2009 10:11 pm

      Hi Kim–Thanks! I’m finding that coconut milk ice cream IS amazing and so easy to make. No cooking, waiting overnight, etc. Mix and in about 30 minutes you have a wonderful ice cream to enjoy! :-)

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!


  10. christina on December 9th, 2009 1:51 am

    This looks really good! We love ice cream made with coconut milk. And I agree, I like it better than regular dairy ice cream (even though I can have it). It’s been so fun discovering all the great foods there are that we wouldn’t have normally tried with out our girls having alleries.

    • Shirley on December 10th, 2009 7:55 am

      Hi Christina–Good to see you! Yes, exactly … I eat ice cream made with dairy milk, but much prefer the homemade ice cream made with coconut milk. And, you make such a great point about discovering new foods once intolerances are discovered. I keep discovering and learning to like new foods yearly and it’s really a wonderful thing. Your girls are so lucky to have you with that attitude … guiding them and all of you enjoying your discoveries! :-)


  11. Carol, Simply...Gluten-free on December 9th, 2009 10:18 am

    I have been working with coconut ice creams a lot lately. I love your flavor combo here

    • Shirley on December 10th, 2009 7:58 am

      Hi Carol–Thanks so much! It’s a lovely flavor. I’ve been surprised how easy it is to make wonderful tasting ice cream with coconut milk. I’m betting your recipes will end up in your upcoming cookbook ;-) –sooo exciting and something for everyone to look forward to! :-)


  12. Pam on December 9th, 2009 11:19 am

    That looks SO lovely and GOOD!


    • Shirley on December 10th, 2009 7:59 am

      Hi Pam–Thank you! It will make you look like an ice cream guru if you make it. ;-)


  13. Karen@Cook4Seasons on December 9th, 2009 6:52 pm

    I have tried just about every single flavor imaginable with coconut milk – except this one: YET:) It looks delish and so seasonal, too! Fun to be part of such a yummy party…

    • Shirley on December 10th, 2009 8:01 am

      Hi Karen–Thanks very much! It turned out very well and we’ve been enjoying the latest batch. :-)

      The Progressive Dinner Parties are always the best, aren’t they? We’re just into the second one, but I’ve really enjoyed them. Must head over to your blog to see what chocolate wonder you made!


  14. Winnie on December 9th, 2009 10:18 pm

    I love homemade ice cream with coconut milk! I made a great caramel one recently, but this looks excellent!

    • Shirley on December 10th, 2009 8:03 am

      Hi Winnie–Great to see you again! :-) Oooh, caramel … I love caramel! Is the recipe up on your blog yet?


  15. Diane-The WHOLE Gang on December 10th, 2009 10:01 am

    This sounds amazing and it’s something I can make and not change a thing! I love it. I’ll have to see if I have any of the liquor around. Love the tip about it keeping the ice cream smooth. I’ll have to experiment with that and other liquors. This is going to be a merry holiday for sure! :-)

    • Shirley on December 10th, 2009 8:19 pm

      Hi Diane–I thought you might like this one. Simple yet a bit upscale. If you don’t have any suitable liqueurs, a flavored extract like orange or almond will probably work just as well … but not for that merriness factor! ;-) LOL

      Still drooling over your chocolate sorbet recipe! Under the weather, but I’m going to try that as soon as I am feeling well and have an appetite again.



  16. Chelsey on December 10th, 2009 10:39 pm

    Oh my goodness this sounds amazing! I want to make this so much, too bad I don’t have an ice cream maker…Yet! It’s on my list of new kitchen gadgets I need now.

    • Shirley on December 11th, 2009 12:12 am

      Hi Chelsey–Thanks very much! :-) It’s possible that you could blend the ingredients and freeze your mixture to get a close facsimile, but not sure. Have you let everyone know that an ice cream maker is on your wish list? People love knowing what to get for a person. A couple of friends or family members could even go in together on it. BTW, you can get ice cream makers pretty reasonably using 20% off coupons at Bed Bath and Beyond. Hpe you get one soon, so you can start creating ice cream recipes. It’s a lot of fun!


  17. Ali on December 19th, 2009 5:23 pm


    Just made this exactly as your recipe states and it is amazing! The boys turn 2 years old today ad we are having a big family b-day party tonight! I made two pumpkin pies and a maple banana cake all gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free so your ice cream will be the perfect accompaniment! Thanks again! -Ali :)

    • Shirley on December 20th, 2009 4:19 pm

      Hi Ali–That’s wonderful news! Thanks so much for reporting back! Happy birthday to the boys! That sounds like a fantastic party just based on the goodies alone. ;-) Did the children like the ice cream, too? Alison had asked whether it was a grown-up flavor and I thought it might be, but you might have feedback from your children that I could share. :-)



  18. Ali on December 20th, 2009 5:13 pm


    One of the boys liked it and another didn’t. Both of my girls (4 and 7) loved it though! Especially, Lily (7yrs)!!

    thanks again! -A :)

    • Shirley on December 20th, 2009 9:41 pm

      Thanks so much, Ali! I’ll pass this info along to Alison. :-)


  19. anna on January 14th, 2010 7:58 pm

    this looks delicious! i make an ice cream with coconut milk too – and i use banana instead of honey.. it’s sweet enough, it fluffs up in the ice cream maker, and it doesn’t even melt quickly!

    • Shirley on January 16th, 2010 8:44 pm

      Hi Anna–Welcome to gfe! Thanks for mentioning the banana option. I’ve actually made an ice cream just using bananas and coconut milk before and you’re right it’s delicious. My friend, Emily, was the one that passed on her recipe using that method to me. I don’t remember the part about not melting quickly though. When I last made it, I served small cups to support group members and it went very, very quickly! No time for melting. ;-) I do appreciate the tips though and I know the gfe readers will, too. I truly love making ice cream with coconut milk!


  20. Renee on August 9th, 2010 11:20 pm

    Shirley – I made this last week! yum-yum!! I just had some tonight. It was great. My first dairy free ice cream with coconut milk. My husband could taste the coconut but I couldn’t so much. Thanks for a great treat!

    • Shirley on August 10th, 2010 7:02 am

      Hi Renee–Oh I’m so happy you enjoyed this ice cream! I truly appreciate you letting me know. :-) Usually everyone loves it. I think the more you use coconut milk, the less you taste the coconut. You can have so much fun making coconut milk ice cream. It’s not hard at all. I made the creme brulee last night for my support group. They loved it. :-)

      Happy Tuesday!


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