• 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

    click here for printable recipe

    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!

    I’m happy to add my Chocolate Espresso Ice Cream (gluten free and vegan) recipe to Linda’s Gluten Free Wednesday carnival. Thanks Linda!

    • Amanda

      Glad it worked for you! I love making ice cream, this looks creamy and delicious!

    • John @ Rise Above Gluten

      When I had rice milk ice cream, I said… this is pretty good. When I had coconut milk ice cream, I forgot about dairy ice cream altogether!

    • dixiebelle

      Oh, divine!

    • Sophie


      What a stunning & creamy looking chocolate coconut ice feam,..Luscious looking!

    • Iris


    • Valerie (m.)

      Your ice cream looks FABULOUS!!!!

      In case it's useful: It's normal for a can of coconut milk, even at room temperature, to have hunks of solidified coconut milk at the top. If you shake it up hard before opening the can, that can usually mix it all together.

    • Tasty Eats At Home

      Looks stunning! I love coconut milk for vegan ice cream. So creamy and delicious. You mentioned Heath bar crunch – do you know of a recipe to make it dairy-free? Cause I really, really miss Heath bars.

    • php ecommerce

      Yummy! I can not wait more to see such a delicious recipe. I would like to try it right now. Thanks for such sweet recipe.

    • Linda

      It looks delicious! Personally, I like it at the soft serve stage, and I find that even ice cream that is full of dairy comes out like soft serve in my ice cream maker. Time in the freezer always hardens it up. I've never tried arrowroot in my vegan versions. I might have to do that next time. Thanks for participating in Gluten-Free Wednesdays. Please remember to add a link back. :)

    • jeremyfk

      Hi all, first time on Gluten free blog. Just a quick comment on the note in this recipe on the coconut milk being solid out of the pack. It's actually supposed to be think/lumpy/solid (sign of good quality fat content) out of the pack as it naturally separates after packing, like good old fashioned milk before we started homogenising the hell out of it. Simply give it a good mix (no need to microwave or anything) and it will re-combine. You can also buy coconut cream as an alternative. I normally use this instead of the milk in a lot of cooking/baking as it adds a much richer creamier taste and texture to foods. Hope this helps, Jeremy in Ireland.

    • Anonymous

      This looks so yummy and creamy, and I LOVE coconut. But unfortunately it is not good for my blood type, AB. I proved this to myself a few years ago when I tried taking it in supplemental form. It gave me heart palpitations while my natural health associates were enjoying beautiful skin and shiny hair. :-( After I read the 'Eat Right for Your Type' book, based on the blood type theory (which has been tested by a father/son doctor team and proven with a VERY high success rate of treating and curing most major and common health problems, including cancer and controlling AIDS symptoms with no medication), I learned why I was not having any luck with it. SOOOO…do you think this could made with almond milk, to a good consistency? One of my local grocery chains now carries Almond Dream frozen 'ice cream', so they have figured out a way to do it. I have not tasted it, and I would like to make mine 'sugar-free' using xylitol. My health has been so much better since cutting out refined sugars. Thanks!!!

      Trish xx

    • I Am Gluten Free

      Amanda – It is creamy and delicious!

      John – I know what you mean. Coconut takes it to a whole other level.

      Dixiebelle – agreed!

      Sophie – luscious indeed!

      Iris – yup!

      Valerie – Thanks!

      Tasty Eats At Home – no, sadly I don't. But I'd love to. I was a huge heath bar crunch addict.

      php – you're welcome!

      Linda – thanks for including me in your carnival!

      Jeremy – yes it is amazingly thick and luscious.

      Anonymous – yes, I think you could use almond milk. But I haven't tried it, so I can't say definitively. If you try it, please let me know. Thanks for stopping by!

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