This Coffee Jelly Ice Cream Sundae is such a delicious summery dessert that secretly contains a lot of health benefits!
Coffee Jelly is a very popular dessert in Japan - my grandmother is so obsessed with it that for a few years she ate it every day!
For those of you who aren't so well-acquainted with it - please give it a try! It's just as delicious as any other coffee-infused dessert (hello Coffee Walnut Cake), and the flavour of coffee lends itself surprisingly well to the texture of jelly.
Japanese Coffee Jelly also happens to be vegan, as instead of gelatine, it's made using agar - a natural jelly-like substance that comes from algae. Agar is used a lot in traditional Japanese desserts, such as anmitsu, and it's conveniently very healthy too as it's packed full of fibre.
You’ll be able to get hold of agar jelly in local health stores, Asian supermarkets, and maybe even your local supermarket too!
The recipe below uses instant coffee, but you could also use freshly-brewed coffee if you'd rather.
I personally try to stay away from coffee, so I prefer to use chicory powder instead. Chicory powder is made from ground chicory root, but actually tastes deceptively similar to coffee, so much so that it used to be known as ‘poor man’s coffee’.
Chicory also boasts lots of health benefits, which include a supposedly reduced risk of diabetes, as well as digestive benefits.
In Japan, Coffee Jelly is usually eaten with single cream. However, because I love the combination of jelly and ice cream in anmitsu (another Japanese dessert), I was keen to try pairing the coffee jelly with some vanilla ice cream.
The ice cream works so well, as the sweetness of the ice cream pairs wonderfully with the bitter, earthy flavour of the coffee (or chicory). This dessert is truly a far cry from the alarmingly red jelly and sickeningly sweet ice cream that I ate at birthday parties as a child - does anyone else remember this?!
I like to finish off my Coffee Jelly Ice Cream Sundae with a drizzle of date syrup, which I found is a great healthier and more easily accessible substitute for kuromitsu, a Japanese sugar syrup that has a similar texture to molasses.
You can serve this coffee jelly either by cutting it up into cubes, transferring to a sundae glass and topping with ice cream. Or you could leave it to set in small containers, which you can then top with ice cream. Either works!
This Coffee Jelly Ice Cream Sundae is really easy to put together and makes a great prepare-ahead dessert, so they're perfect for summer entertaining!
For more healthy, summery sweet treats, check out my:
- Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches
- Snickers Ice Cream Bites
- Chocolate Sweet Potato Ice Cream
- Chocolate Pudding Pots
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d really love to hear any feedback! Please give it a rating, leave a comment, or tag a photo #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! Thank you.
Coffee Jelly Ice Cream Sundae (Vegan + GF)
- Vanilla ice cream* (ensure vegan/dairy-free if necessary)
- Date syrup to taste
- Fresh fruit, raspberries, strawberries or peaches would work particularly well
- Add the agar to a saucepan with the water, coffee and maple syrup and bring to the boil (read the instructions on the agar packet carefully first as it can vary between brands)
- Leave to simmer for a few minutes before turning off the heat
- Pour into shallow rectangular-shaped container and refrigerate for a few hours until set (you could also alternatively pour into smaller individual containers)
- Jelly keeps covered in the fridge for up to a few days
- Once the jelly has set, cut it up into small cubes, place in sundae glasses, top with ice cream and pour over the date syrup. Add fresh fruit if you like!
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