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Creamy, Dreamy, Dairy-Free Chocolate Ice Cream

You all are going to think I’ve been bought out by the powerful cashew lobby, given this is my second cashew recipe of the week.

When I was dairy-free with Jack, I fell in love with the mint chocolate chip ice cream from So Delicious.  It’s truly super tasty, but expensive AF. I would allow myself 10 bites a night to make the $6 pint last a month. I once caught Troy scarfing it down like a pig and almost lost my mind.  When you can eat anything in the house, don’t touch a chick’s only dessert option.

Being dairy-free again for Bennett means I’ve learned a few things about a few things.  One of those things is that you don’t need to spend $6 on a pint of ice cream, as delicious as it may be.  I’ve challenged myself over the last few weeks to create a creamy and delicious dairy-free option that can be made at home. It’s been a rough few weeks, taste testing all this ice cream.  Someone’s gotta do it; might as well be me!

The brand of almond milk I recommend in this recipe will lead to a creamier consistency, but it can be hard to find.  I can find it in my area at Whole Foods…and oddly enough at Target! If you’re unable to track it down, any almond milk will do, but may change the “mouthfeel” of the ice cream.

Ugh, mouthfeel is such a creepy term.

Creamy Dreamy Dairy-Free Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

1.5 cups raw cashews with no added salt
2.5 cups unsweetened almond milk (I recommend Califia Farms brand)
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice, or sugar
8 dates, pitted
3 oz of dairy-free chocolate (most dark chocolate is naturally dairy-free, but there are milk chocolate options like this)
1/3 of a whole vanilla bean, or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 tblsp coconut oil (melted)

1. Soak the cashews in water overnight, or at least four hours.  If you are using a food processor, the longer you soak, the better it is for a creamier result.  If you are using a high-powered blender like a Vitamix, you can achieve strong results with only soaking your nuts for a few hours.  That’s what she said.

2. Heat almond milk, dates, evaporated cane juice (or sugar), vanilla bean (or vanilla extract), coconut oil, and salt on medium low heat until sugar is dissolved.  Yes, the dates and vanilla bean will still be whole in the milk.

3. Drain the cashews and place in the blender/food processor.  Pour the almond milk concoction in the blender, reserving about a 1/4 cup of the milk in the pan.

4. In the almond milk saucepan (I do enough dishes, thank you.  Reuse what you can), melt the chocolate and stir to combine with the reserved milk.  Add to the blender, and blend on high until everything is well blended and creamy.  In a food processor, it will likely take about five minutes or so, and you’ll need to stop and scrape the sides a few times.  In my Vitamix, it is a 30-60 second process.  Place in fridge for two hours, or until the ice cream base is fully cold.

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5. Following your ice cream maker’s instructions, add the base and churn until it resembles ice cream.  You’ve seen ice cream before; you know what to look for.  Place in a freezer-proof container, and press a piece of plastic wrap directly over the full surface.  Place the lid on the container and freeze for at least five hours.

As with a lot of homemade ice creams, this one gets a bit hard after a day (TWSS).  I find letting it sit at room temperature for five minutes, or a quick 20 second trip in the microwave softens it to the point where it is easy to scoop.

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A quick note about this recipe – it does recommend some special equipment like a high-powered blender, or a food processor, and an ice cream maker.  There are options if you don’t have such things.  The recipe calls for using the blender or food processor for making homemade cashew cream, but you can find this product premade in some higher-end grocery stores.  No ice cream maker?  Once you make the ice cream base, freeze it in a shallow dish, stirring it often to achieve a creamy consistency.

 

 

The Creamiest, Dreamiest, Tastiest Dairy-Free (Vegan) Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups raw cashews with no added salt
  • 2.5 cups unsweetened almond milk (I recommend Califia Farms brand)
  • 1/4 cup evaporated cane juice, or sugar
  • 8 dates, pitted
  • 3 oz of dairy-free chocolate (most dark chocolate is naturally dairy-free, but there are milk chocolate options like this)
  • 1/3 of a whole vanilla bean, or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tblsp coconut oil (melted)
Instructions
  1. Soak the cashews in water overnight, or at least four hours. If you are using a food processor, the longer you soak, the better it is for a creamier result. If you are using a high-powered blender like a Vitamix, you can achieve strong results with only soaking your nuts for a few hours. That’s what she said.
  2. Heat almond milk, dates, evaporated cane juice (or sugar), vanilla bean (or vanilla extract), and salt on medium low heat until sugar is dissolved. Yes, the dates and vanilla bean will still be whole in the milk.
  3. Drain the cashews and place in the blender/food processor. Pour the almond milk concoction in the blender, reserving about a 1/4 cup of the milk in the pan.
  4. In the almond milk saucepan (I do enough dishes, thank you. Reuse what you can), melt the chocolate and stir to combine with the reserved milk. Add to the blender, and blend on high until everything is well blended and creamy. In a food processor, it will likely take about five minutes or so, and you’ll need to stop and scrape the sides a few times. In my Vitamix, it is a 30-60 second process. Place in fridge for two hours, or until the ice cream base is fully cold.
  5. Following your ice cream maker’s instructions, add the base and churn until it resembles ice cream. You’ve seen ice cream before; you know what to look for. Place in a freezer-proof container, and press a piece of plastic wrap directly over the full surface. Place the lid on the container and freeze for at least five hours.
  6. As with a lot of homemade ice creams, this one gets a bit hard after a day. I find letting it sit at room temperature for five minutes, or a quick 20 second trip in the microwave softens it to the point where it is easy to scoop.

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6 comments on “Creamy, Dreamy, Dairy-Free Chocolate Ice Cream”

  1. Yum! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I have eaten a fair amount of dairy free ice cream in my day and this was by far the best. It was so lovely and creamy! I substituted oat milk for the almond milk as that is the preferred dairy free milk in my family. I was pleased to see that the substitution worked. I am excited to try this in different ways!

  2. Ooooh, yum. Will have to try. (Yet another internet temptation to buy a Vitamix tho, blast you!!)

    Cashews are so versatile! If you like that, you’d like these I bet. I did make them, and I’m sorry, they do not taste like cheesecake, or better than cheesecake … I think some people go dairy free and just forget what dairy tastes like and their ability to compare things properly is lost. But they are good, and they stand on their own as worthy of the effort that went into making them, which is my personal criteria:
    http://minimalistbaker.com/7-ingredient-vegan-cheesecakes/

  3. Holy crap, I love the new print recipe option!!!

    And I need to make this.

    You are amazing. Thank you!

    • That is courtesy of my friend Angela. She has been requesting it for months. I can format new recipes easily enough, but it will take a long time to go back and update the old ones.