This is my version of Ben & Jerry’s 7 layer coconut ice cream. It has a coconut ice cream base, toasted coconut, graham crackers and fudge swirls.
Last summer, my family and I went on a road trip to Maine with my dad. One of the stops that we had planned was to visit the Ben & Jerry’s headquarters in Vermont. Sadly, due to COVID, the location was not offering tours. However, their ice cream scoop shop was open.
Each of us had a hard time deciding what flavors to try. Their small cup contained two scoops of ice cream, so we were able to try 2 different flavors. One of the flavors that my husband ordered and loved was the 7 layer coconut bar ice cream. He was saddened to learn that Ben & Jerry’s did not sell these in pints anywhere. The only place to enjoy this particular flavor was in their scoop shops.
Unfortunately for us, we don’t have a Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop near us. The closest location is over an hour away. As a result, my husband asked me to recreate the flavor for him. I happily obliged, but my first attempt was bad. I tried an egg-free ice cream base the first go around and it was terrible. The base turned out very icy, and it was even more difficult to scoop (even after thawing). My husband had a few tastes and then we eventually threw it out in the trash.
I vowed to try again, only this time using an egg custard as the ice cream base. Thankfully, this round went much better. My husband helped me crush up some graham crackers, I toasted some coconut flakes, and I also made some fudge sauce.
While this isn’t an exact replica of the Ben & Jerry’s version, it’s a good alternative. My husband was so thankful for this that he even gave me a back rub / massage that evening. He even talked about the ice cream the next day.
If you’d like to try this flavor but don’t have a scoop shop near you, try my version. It’s not an exact replica but is a good alternative.
Husband’s rating: 4.5 out of 5
Addie’s rating: 4.5 out of 5
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 (and I am not even a fan of coconut)
7 layer coconut bar ice cream (Ben & Jerry's copycat)
- 6 large egg yolks
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup half-and-half I substituted with heavy cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup light coconut milk see note below
- 1 14-ounce can coconut cream I could not find this so I used an entire can of coconut milk. This replaced the 1 cup of light coconut milk above and the 14-ounce can of coconut cream.
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- 3 sheets graham crackers crushed
- fudge sauce store bought or homemade
- chocolate chunks optional
- toasted coconut flakes see below
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until well blended. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan set over medium heat, mix together the half and half, cream, coconut mil and coconut cream. Bring this to a simmer - do not allow it to boil.
- Pour about 1 cup of the warm milk mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks and whisk vigorously. Then pour this mixture back into the large saucepan with the remaining milk. Keep stirring so that the egg yolks don't scramble.
- Continue to cook until the mixture starts to thicken. If you dip your wooden spoon or a spatula in the mixture, it should coat the back of it. The cooking process will take about 5 minutes.
- Place a fine mesh sieve over a large heatproof bowl. Pour the hot custard into the bowl and strain out any cooked egg bits. Add the coconut extract and mix well. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator to cool completely overnight (at least 8 hours but preferably 12 or more).
- The next day, toast your coconut. I prefer to heat up a nonstick pan over medium heat and adding about ¼ cup of sweetened coconut flakes. Keep tossing up the coconut flakes turn a golden color and remove it from the pan to cool.
- Once the custard has cooled overnight, churn it in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- In a freezer-safe container, place a layer of ice cream on the bottom. Then sprinkle with some crushed graham crackers, toasted coconut flakes, chocolate chunks (if using) and some fudge sauce. Repeat.
- Place the container in the freezer and allow it to set for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Allow the ice cream to thaw slightly before scooping.