Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Cocoa Nib {vegan}

It’s beginning to feel like summer around here.  We’ve finally had a few hot days and by hot I mean, peaking at around 72.5 degrees! I decided it was time for some ice cream, since after all, ice cream is best on a hot day!  This Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Cocoa Nib is a delightful way to cool off!   Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Cocoa Nib {vegan} | VanillaAndBean.com Before I started making this recipe, I had never made non dairy and egg free ice cream. It’s not that I didn’t want to try it, it’s just that when I had store bought, I just didn’t like how it tasted.  So I assumed (I know, I know) that homemade would taste similar.  I should have known better. What is so fantastic about this ice cream is that it is smooth, rich, creamy, crunchy, and wholesome (minus the sugar!).  The other bonus is that it makes a small batch, perfect or two to four (depending on scoop size). This recipe does call for an ice cream maker, so if you have one, great!  If not, read on and either borrow one or put one on your list. Mine is borrowed (and often!). Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Cocoa Nib {vegan} | VanillaAndBean.com Rob, a very skeptical eater, eats everything I make, even if he initially turns his nose up.  He often likes regular stuff; his description. I’m not sure I know what regular is after all these years of marriage, but even he likes this ice cream, and by all accounts, it’s not regular.  The only thing he took exception with was the cocoa nibs. He’s a texture guy, and wasn’t thrilled about all those little crunchy inclusions in his ice cream.  I ended up decreasing the nibs to 1/8 C, but if you want more, you should have them! I’ve added up to 1/4 C and it worked fine.  I love the added crunch! I am delighted with how smooth and creamy this ice cream is, despite my homemade almond milk being made without a nut bag; this yields a not so perfectly smooth nut milk.  Although I was a little apprehensive at first about using the almond milk in this state, it works, and somehow, all the ingredients transform in this little machine. Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Cocoa Nib {vegan} | VanillaAndBean.com I usually make this ice cream over a two day period. I make the cashew cream and base on day one, chill overnight and churn the next morning.  It only takes 30 minutes to churn the ice cream, but then requires at least an hour or two in the freezer post churn, so plan accordingly! I was hoping to put this delicious cream in waffle cones, but I couldn’t find anyone with a waffle cone iron to borrow from and I didn’t want to buy one as my cottage sized kitchen will not hold any more plug ins!  So off to the store I went.  After looking at the multiple boxed options, I decided against all of them.  Not surprising, there were all kinds of preservatives and palm oil in the ingredients. Palm oil is an automatic deal breaker for me.  I did start thinking about tuiles, however…Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Cocoa Nib {Vegan} | VanillaAndBean.com To this recipe, I’ve added espresso powder simply because coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate. If espresso powder is not on hand or available, you can use espresso or strong coffee. If you prefer to leave the coffee flavor out, your ice cream will still taste delicious! Arrowroot, an ingredient I use in this recipe, is a plant based thickening agent. It comes from the root stock of several different types of tropical plants.  It’s a perfect partner for ice cream because it inhibits ice crystal formation and while we want some ice crystal formation, we don’t want too much or the mouth feel is off. I buy arrowroot from my local Co-Op in the bulk section in small portions because a little goes a long way. Bob’s Red Mill sells arrowroot in a larger quantity, which can be found here.

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Cocoa Nib {Vegan} | VanillaAndBean.com Dark chocolate is my favorite ice cream. Well, really, anything dark chocolate is my favorite.  It’s just hard to beat.  Not that there aren’t plenty of other flavors out there that make me shake my grove thing. Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Cocoa Nib {Vegan} | VanillaAndBean.com I am curious to know, what is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Enjoy!!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Cocoa Nib {vegan}
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A creamy, rich, decadent ice cream awaits! Perfect for anyone who loves ice cream!
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
For the Cashew Cream (Yields 1½ C):
  • 1 C Raw Cashews, soaked in water overnight and rinsed
  • ⅔ C Water
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ C Maple Syrup (2 oz)
For the Ice Cream:
  • 1½ C Cashew Cream (12⅛ oz)
  • ½ C Almond Milk, unsweetened (4 oz)
  • ¼ C Granulated Sugar, ground (1¾ oz)
  • 2 Tbs Maple Syrup
  • 2½ Tbs Dutch Cocoa Powder
  • ¼ tsp Arrowroot
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1½ tsp Espresso Powder or Strong Espresso (optional)
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • ⅛ C Cocoa Nibs (1/2 oz)
  • Mint Leaves for Garnish (Optional)
Method
Day One
    For the Cashew Cream:
    1. Place 1 C of soaked and rinsed cashews into a high-speed blender like this one. Add the water, vanilla extract and maple syrup to the cashews. Blend for 1 minute on med-high speed. Scrape down the inside of the pitcher and blend for 30 more seconds on med-high speed. This will yield 1½ C of cashew cream, the exact amount you'll need for the ice cream.
    For the Custard:
    1. Place the sugar in a food processor and grind until fine. It will get dusty so hold your hand over the opening of food processor while processing. Process for about 30-45 seconds. You want fine grains of sugar, but not powder. I use organic sugar and the crystals are large, this is why I grind my sugar down. It will help make your ice cream extra creamy. Set aside.
    2. To the cashew cream in the high speed blender, add the almond milk, ground sugar, maple syrup, cocoa powder, arrowroot, vanilla extract, espresso powder and sea salt. Process on med-high for 30-45 seconds, or until smooth.
    3. Pour into a container, cover and chill in the fridge for at least four hours or overnight.
    4. Now is a good time to put your ice cream maker freezer bowl into the freezer.
    Day Two
      To Churn the Ice Cream
      1. When you are ready to churn the ice cream, place the container you'll be storing the ice cream in in the freezer so it's nice and chilled when you transfer the ice cream from the machine.
      2. Churn the ice cream according to the manufacture's instructions (I churned mine for 30 min on low).
      3. Add the cocoa nibs to the ice cream during the last few minutes of the churn. The goal is to evenly distribute the nibs throughout the ice cream.
      4. Transfer the ice cream to the storage container, place parchment or plastic wrap right on the surface of the ice cream (this will prevent ice crystals from forming) and cover tightly. Freeze for at least an hour to an hour and a half in the covered container.
      5. When you're ready to serve, remove from the freezer and let set at room temperature for at least 5 minutes. This will allow it to become a bit softer and ready for scooping.
      6. Enjoy within a week.
      Notes
      Arrowroot can be found in bulk at your local Co-Op or 'health food store.' It can also be found at Amazon.com from Bob's Red Mill.

      Recipe adapted from Vegan Chocolate.

      Total time above does not include the time it takes to churn and freeze the ice cream. Churning and freezing is dependent on individual ice cream maker and freezer temperature.

      If you make this recipe, or any others on Vanilla And Bean, be sure to post it toInstagram and tag #VanillaAndBean!  I’d love to see what you’ve made!  Also, if you like my content, please consider sharing it with three friends and/or family.  Thank you!


       

      Comments

      1. says

        Magnificent goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too
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      2. says

        Hi Traci!
        This is my first visit to Vanilla and Bean. Your site is very elegant and the recipes look delightful. I would be honored if I could have your permission to repost part of the recipe with a link back to Vanilla and Bean. I look forward to reading more of your posts and drooling over the amazing food you’ve created.
        Sincerely,
        Pepper Culpepper
        darkchocolatedecadence.com

      3. says

        So I made this little gem yesterday and I absolutely loved it! The only thing I did different was instead of arrowroot powder I used guar gum powder and I put the sugar in the blender with all the other ingredients instead of using the food processor. But I have a Vitamix blender that pretty much pulverizes anything so it worked out very well.

        Oh and I also didn’t have that cocoa powder so I use raw cacao powder instead. Was the best ice cream I’ve ever had in my life and I love the fact that it’s vegan especially since I can’t have eggs.

        Yum!

        • Traci says

          WooT Woot, Amber! This is great news! Finally, an ice cream you can enjoy. Thanks for the tip on the sugar and vita mix. That saves a step for sure!

          • says

            I ate another bowl tonight. Wow I’m just amazed I made this and it’s so yummy. Super simple recipe and just the best chocolate ice cream ever!

            • Traci says

              SO glad you’re enjoying the deliciousness! I’m working on another vegan ice cream recipe (you’re going to love this one too!) so my freezer is full, but that doesn’t mean I’m not craving THE dark chocolate ice cream! It is just simply so good!

      4. says

        I’m a fan of ANY flavor of ice cream, though I am partial to dark chocolate and strawberry, if I’ve got the choice. ;)

        This looks and sounds absolutely DELICIOUS, and I love that you made a cashew cream for the ice cream base… and made this dairy free! Definitely something I’m going to try soon once I get my hands on an ice cream maker.

        • Traci says

          Hi Erin! Hummm… dark chocolate and strawberry?! You’ve got me thinking about another go with my ice cream machine! I hope you get your hands on a machine soon… perhaps I’ll see a post soon on The Speckled Palate of your favorite?!

      5. says

        Traci,
        I’m starting this recipe tonight and finishing up tomorrow!!! I can’t wait to taste. I have all the ingredients except espresso powder. Do you think it will taste much different without it? What about finely ground espresso beans ? Wouldn’t that be a substitute for espresso powder? OMG…just looks amazing and your pics are beautiful lady!

        • Traci says

          Hi Am! Ooooh I’m so excited you’re making this! The ice cream will taste different without an espresso addition, but it will still taste delicious. There is some debate regarding the use of finely ground coffee beans vs espresso powder. The Kitchn has a short read on it http://www.thekitchn.com/dont-have-espresso-powder-try-134785. Just brew some espresso and use that. Otherwise, you’ll be spending a lot of time watching used ground espresso dry up while you’re dreaming about your ice cream! Can’t wait to hear how it turns out! WooT!

        • Traci says

          Thanks Thalia! Oh yeah, the cocoa nibs. They just really add a deeper dimension of richness to this ice cream! I hope you enjoy the recipe!

      6. Michelle Moran says

        Is there anything I can use to replace the cashew cream? My son is allergic to many nuts, including cashews; except for almonds. How about coconut cream? I just bought some coconut cream from Teopical Traditions. This recipe looks fantastic. I would love to make it!

      7. says

        Traci – your photos are gorgeous – especially the shots of the ice-cream in the glasses with the mint – really great shot! I don’t have an ice-cream maker and never thought of borrow one – great idea – will ask my work buddy if I can borrow his. Adding this to my list of must try recipes! Pinning as well.

        • Traci says

          Aaw, thank you Geraldine! Ice cream is not a very cooperative subject when attempting to photograph it, but it sure is a tasty treat in the end! I hope you can borrow that ice cream maker. I usually pay for my borrow in ice cream – the owner is a willing participant!

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