I was about ready to ditch my ice cream maker when I decided to give it one more try. You see, I’ve tried a whole slew of different dairy free gluten free ice cream recipes, but all I ever got was mush, barely even soft serve, at most. I figured that the buck stopped there. I was starting to believe that homemade, hard, scoopable dairy free gluten free ice cream was not in my future, at least not from my kitchen.
I own and have carefully read a few vegan ice cream recipe books, and I’ve scoured the internet, so I had an idea of the ingredients and techniques needed. I think the key to my ultimate success was following the recipe carefully (duh!) and the fact that I used full fat coconut milk which had been in the frig for about three months – it was very cold! I also think the little bit of arrowroot is important. It seems to be a common ingredient in vegan ice cream. And of course, leaving it overnight in the freezer was key. In hindsight, I didn’t realize that you needed to perform that one little step:).
Let me back up. I was psyched. This time it was going to work, I was sure of it. The ice cream gods were with me. After assembling the ingredients and following the directions, I put the concoction in the ice cream maker and I left the room, not wanting to peek during the churning. When I returned, 25 minutes later, I yelped with joy. While it hadn’t turned into hard scoopable ice cream, it was definitely at the recognizable soft serve stage – I’d made much more progress than in previous attempts. I dipped my spoon in and swooned. Chocolate ice cream! Delicious!
The original recipe for Very Chocolate Gelato can be found here, at The Sensitive Pantry blog – one of my faves! I carefully read the comments left by those who tried her recipe. The only thing I would disagree with is the fact that using old-fashioned Hershey’s Cocoa Powder makes for a gritty texture. It’s all I had in the pantry, it was late and I didn’t feel like dragging out to the market for dutch-processed cocoa powder. Though others who’ve made it complained of grittiness, I didn’t find that to be the case. My finished ice cream was smooth as silk. It’s fairly close to The Sensitive Pantry’s recipe, with a few minor adaptations, including a new name.
Chocolate Espresso Ice Cream
adapted by Ellen Allard, original recipe by The Sensitive Pantry
1 can coconut milk (not lite), chilled in frig*
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 oz espresso or dark coffee (I used espresso powder mixed with hot water)
pinch of salt
1 tsp arrowroot powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup Hershey’s Cocoa
3 oz dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces (I used Scharffen Berger bittersweet 70% cacao)
Measure one cup of the coconut milk and put it aside.
Whisk together the remaining coconut milk, vanilla, espresso, salt, and arrowroot. Set aside.
Combine the initial one cup of coconut milk with the sugar and cocoa. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, being careful not to allow it to burn. When well-blended, add the coconut milk-vanilla-coffee-salt-arrowroot mixture. Then add the dark chocolate. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Continue stirring – the mixture will thicken and become pudding-like.
Remove the pan from the stove and pour the mixture immediately into a glass or ceramic dish. Once it comes to room temperature, refrigerate for a few hours, until cold.
Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions. My ice cream churned for 25 minutes. I have a Cuisinart ICE-30BC.
It’s absolutely delicious at this stage – imagine soft serve Dairy Queen with high end dairy-free and gluten-free ingredients. Freeze overnight for hard, scoopable balls of ice cream deliciousness.
*PLEASE NOTE: when I opened the can of full fat coconut milk it was thick and fairly solid – I’m not sure if it’s like that even at room temperature or if it had something to do with being in the frig for a few months. My instincts told me that the original recipe called for liquified coconut milk, so I microwaved the hard, solid coconut milk on a very low power, until it was liquified. And then I measured it per the recipe.
Because I wanted hard, scoop-it-out-with-an-ice-cream-scooper balls of ice cream, I put it in the freezer and went to bed. Voila. It worked. Perfectly. The picture bears repeating! And by the way, the sky’s the limit. Next time I’ll add more coffee, as the coffee flavor was masked. And maybe I’ll add crushed coffee beans or Heath Bar Crunch or toasted almonds. And then I’ll try my hand at strawberry ice cream or blackberry ice cream or vanilla ice cream. Oh yes, vegan, dairy free, gluten free homemade ice cream is mine today and will definitely be making many appearances in my kitchen from here on!