Hey y’all! It’s February. You’ve officially made it through the first month of 2017 and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Perfect timing for a sweet vegan treat.
These parfaits take the classic combination of chocolate, strawberries and whipped cream to the next level by making use of some surprising (and delicious!) ingredients–avocado and coconut cream. Added bonus, you don’t even need to turn on your oven and I’ve got you covered with tips to keep your kitchen mess to a minimum.
Let’s begin with the coconut whipped cream. The internet loves this recipe and for good reason. It’s simple to make and downright tasty. Based on my research and experimentation, there are three factors to consider to ensure coconut whip success: brand, chill time and sweetener.
First, brand. The brand is important because in order for your whip to be thick and fluffy, you need the liquid to separate from the cream in the can. Apparently, not all brands do this. I’ve had good luck with Thai Kitchen and other bloggers have recommended Trader Joe’s and Native Forest.
This time though, I decided to risk it and bought the Harris Teeter store brand. I felt pretty confident in this choice because my experience has been that even without refrigeration, the cream and the water are already separated upon opening. Luckily, this held true and I give Harris Teeter full fat coconut milk an A++ rating for use in this recipe.
That brings us to the second consideration: chill time. When appropriately chilled, you’ll simply open the can upside down and pour out the liquid. Just the almost solid coconut cream called for by the recipe will be left in the can and you can save the coconut water for another recipe. The internet seems to agree that you should chill the coconut milk in the fridge overnight, so that is my “official” recommendation.
If you’re a super responsible think-ahead kind of person, you might even always keep a can of coconut milk in the fridge so that you can whip up some coconut cream at a moment’s notice. However, if your planning-ahead plans fall through (mine usually do), I recommend purchasing a brand that you are familiar with that is usually already separated or close to separated when you open it at room temp. In that case, I “unofficially” recommend a minimum of 4 hours chill time.
Finally, sweetener. Recommended sweeteners include powdered sugar, granulated sugar, agave and maple syrup. In the past I’ve used powdered sugar with great success, but I am so glad that I gave maple syrup a try. This was the most delicious coconut whip I’ve ever made. I opted for light maple syrup and it was delish.
After you make the coconut whip, cover it and allow it to chill in the fridge while you make the mousse. Chocolate avocado mousse is an amazing concoction that I first discovered a few years ago on 40 Aprons. Over time, I’ve adjusted to make it extra chocolaty and accommodate the ingredients that I am more likely to have on hand or purchasable within walking distance.
For best results, I recommend an avocado that is ripe, but just slightly more firm than typically desired. Since the avocado flavor gets stronger the riper the avocado becomes, I find that a slightly less ripe (but still ripe – not hard!) avocado tastes best in this recipe. Make sure it’s soft enough that you will be able to blend it and you should be all good.
Speaking of blending. I don’t know about you, but I hate doing dishes and I hate cleaning out my blender. So, here is my tip for a mess-free kitchen and less dish washing: use an immersion blender!
The reason the immersion blender is so great for this recipe is that you can use it to make both the avocado mousse and the coconut whipped cream. I was able to prep this dessert using only 3 dishes and only had to clean the one tool. If you don’t have an immersion blender, don’t fret. You can use a regular blender for the mousse and a mixer for the coconut whip. You’ll have a bit more cleaning up to do, but the end result will be worth it.
Once your mousse is made, you’ll want to prep your strawberries and begin making your parfaits right away. You can refrigerate it and do it later, but after refrigerating, the mousse will be much thicker and more difficult to spread evenly.
Don’t be deceived by the fact that this is a vegan recipe, it’s quite the decadent dessert and you’ll want to keep your portions on the smaller size. If you’re pressed for time (or patience), you can skip the layering, scoop the mousse into a dish, and top with a generous portion of coconut whip and fresh berries. Chill in the fridge for an hour or so and then it’s time to enjoy.
- 1 can full fat coconut milk (chilled)
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (more or less to taste)
- ½ cup maple syrup (more or less to taste)
- 2 large avocados
- 3 tbsp. coconut oil
- ½ tsp. tamari or soy sauce
- ½ tsp. balsamic vinegar
- Place your mixing bowl and mixer/immersion blender in the freezer for 5 minutes before you're ready to whip the cream.
- Flip the can of chilled coconut milk upside down and open.
- Pour out the liquid so that just the hardened coconut cream remains.
- Scoop into your mixing bowl and blend for approximately 30 seconds.
- Add in the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
- Chill in refrigerator until ready to use.
- Melt the chocolate chips.
- Combine half of the cocoa powder and maple syrup with the melted chocolate chips and remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth. Taste and then continue to add cocoa powder and sweetener until desired flavor is achieved.
- Start with a layer of coconut cream, add a layer of mousse, and then a layer of strawberries.
- Repeat until serving dish is full.
- Chill for 1+ hours.
You can adjust the amount of cocoa powder and sweetener depending on your tastes and the size of the avocados you use.
Make the parfaits right after you make the mousse so that it is at room temp and your layers will be even.
The avocado mousse and the coconut whip store pretty well in the fridge. However, I recommend serving the parfaits no more than 4 hours after making them because the strawberries won't keep very well once they're in the parfait.
For more information on coconut whipped cream check out Oh She Glows and Minimalist Baker.