A creamy, rich, decadent cashew based ice cream awaits. You’d never know Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Cocoa Nibs is egg free and dairy free! This recipe is vegan and gluten free.
Summer and Ice Cream!
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.
Before I started making dark chocolate ice cream with cocoa nibs, I had never made 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 homemade would taste similar. I should have known better.
What’s so fantastic about this ice cream is that it is rich, creamy, crunchy, and wholesome, with the exception of sugar. The other bonus is that it makes a small batch, perfect for two to four, depending on scoop size. This egg and milk free ice cream calls 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 was borrowed for years until I was gifted my own.
Dairy Free Ice Cream For Picky Eaters
Rob, a very skeptical eater, eats everything I make, even if he initially turns his nose up. He often likes regular stuff; his word. I’m not sure I know what regular is after all these years, but even he likes this vegan ice cream, and by all accounts, it’s not regular. He had no idea what he was eating is dairy and egg free.
The only thing he took the 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 works fine. I love the added crunch!
How to Make Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Cocoa Nibs
I usually make ice cream over a two-day period, making 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.
- First, start by soaking the cashews over night or use a quicker hot water soak.
- Second, make the cashew cream base. Into a high speed blender, I use Vitamix, add the cashews, water, maple syrup, sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Blend until the ingredients are smooth and creamy. Store overnight in the refrigerator to so cool and to age the base.
- Next, the following day, churn the ice cream in an ice cream maker. I’ve borrowed one for years, but now have my own. I like Kitchen Aid and Cuisnart.
- Last, freeze the ice cream for about an hour.
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.
Dark chocolate is my favorite ice cream. Well, really, anything dark chocolate is my favorite. Not that there aren’t plenty of other flavors out there that make me shake my grove thing.
I’m curious to know, what’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
More Egg and Dairy Free Ice Cream Recipes to Love!
- Bourbon Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
- Strawberry Chocolate Chip Nice Cream
- Bourbon Soaked Cherry Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
- Mexican Chocolate Almond Nice Cream Bowls
Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Cocoa Nibs - vegan
- 1 C Raw Cashews soaked in water overnight or in very hot water for at least 10 minutes and rinsed
- 2/3 C Water
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 C + 2 Tbs Maple Syrup 3 oz
- 1/2 C Almond Milk unsweetened (4 oz)
- 1/4 C Granulated Sugar ground (1 3/4 oz)
- 2 1/2 Tbs Dutch Cocoa Powder
- 1/4 tsp Arrowroot optional, but helps thicken
- 1 1/2 tsp Espresso Powder or Strong Espresso optional
- Pinch of Sea Salt
- 1/8 C Cocoa Nibs 1/2 oz
- Leaves Mint for Garnish Optional
Day One: Make the Ice Cream
- Place cashews, water, extract, maple syrup, almond milk, sugar, cocoa, arrowroot, espresso and sea salt into a high-speed blender like this one. 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.
- Pour into a container, cover and chill in the fridge for at least four hours or overnight. This helps develop flavor.
- Now is a good time to put your ice cream maker freezer bowl into the freezer.
Day Two: Churn the Ice Cream
- When you are ready to churn the ice cream, place the container (I use a loaf pan) 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. Line the container with parchment paper and clip the sides as to hold them in place (optional).
- Churn the ice cream according to the manufacture's instructions (I churned mine for 30 min on low).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Enjoy within a week.
Why is arrowroot mentioned in the instructions but not the list in the ingredients? I really want to try this recipe, but don’t want to mess it up. Thanx!
Hi Eric! Thank you for your note! I’m sorry for the omission. Arrowroot is optional, but does help thicken the ice cream a bit. Use 1/4 tsp and add it when adding the cocoa powder! I hope this helps and you enjoy the ice cream!
Seriously the BEST VEGAN ice cream evahhh!!
I made this using my secret stash of Mexican vanilla and my guests swooned over it. I didn’t have plain almond milk so used some cashew almond milk I had instead and I also doubled the cacoa nibs and left out the coffee. I did use the arrowroot and it was thick and smooth and yummy! Rated it 10 stars it was soo good.
Oh my gosh, Lani! Thank you so much for coming back and leaving a note! You put your Mexican vanilla to good use for sure! This is such a delicious recipe, and I’ve not made it in far too long. You’ve inspired me to get my ice cream maker out – even in winter! So happy to hear you loved it! I have a vanilla bourbon ice cream that is over the top too… cashew based.. I think you’d like it :D
Amount of arrowroot?
Hi Diane! Thank you for your note. Use 1/4 tsp or omit. I’ve made it both ways and it works but arrowroot helps it thicken a bit.
Looks lovely! I have never seen ice cream made with cashew cream!
Thank you, Heather! I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Jules @ WolfItDown
This looks out of this world Traci, and the presentation – wow!
Great blog :D x
Hi Jules! Awh, thank you! So glad you like it!
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.
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!
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!
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!
Jessica @ Jessiker Bakes
This is a beautiful and delicious chocolate ice cream! Love that it’s vegan! Pinning this beauty.
Hi Jessica! Thank you! Looking forward to that avocado ice cream you made!
Erin @ The Speckled Palate
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.
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?!
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!
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!
Thalia @ butter and brioche
wow thanks for the awesome recipe – love that the ice-cream is made with cocoa nibs and is vegan… definitely a recipe i will be trying. thanks for sharing traci!
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!
Olivia - Primavera Kitchen
Your pictures are gorgeous and this ice-cream looks so tasty. Oh Gosh I wish I could have it for dessert today ;-)
Hi Olivia! Thank you! I wish I could have it for dessert too! I’m out! Time to make more!
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!
Hi Michelle! Good question. I have not made this recipe with anything other than cashew cream. However, here is a recipe you could try… http://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-brownie-chocolate-ice-cream/ You might try leaving out the brownies and add cocoa nibs. Oh, and be sure to use Special Dark Cocoa Powder (I use Hershey’s) to get that extra rich dark chocolate in there. Please let us know how it turns out!
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.
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!
Genius – ice-cream payback!
Caramel! Anything caramel is my fav.
Love, love, love caramel too, Ma! How about a salted bourbon caramel? We’ll put it on our list for August!