Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Vegan Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

Coconut-based chocolate chunk ice cream is where it's at.
I've been neglecting you guys. I know. So just when the warm weather hits, I've got a vegan ice cream recipe for you. And it's divine. (Adoring letters can be left in the comments. I also accept gifts.)

I think I should back up just a bit and acknowledge why I've got this recipe for you guys in the first place. As it turns out, there are quite a few awesome things on sites like Kijiji and Usedottawa.com. And I like those sites. It's one less place that's selling new items and encouraging people to throw old ones in the landfill. Instead, oldies but goodies find a new home, which (I think) is how it should be.

So lo and behold, what did I find on Used Ottawa the other day but an ice cream maker? And so the idea started brewing in my brain to make a vegan ice cream recipe to replace the chocolate chip ice cream I have so dearly missed as a vegan.


So I just got my latest toy, and of course I wanted to use it. But you don't really need an ice cream maker for this recipe, even though it does make it faster. You just need to make sure you're moving the stuff around while it's freezing, that's all.

I opted for Camino sugar and Silk coconut milk.
I have had Coconut Bliss and it truly is blissful (and Fair Trade, if you get the right flavour), and so I wanted to make sure I used a coconut base for this ice cream. Now, a note on coconut milk is in order. I'm not really a huge fan of eating a whole slew of fat in my treats if I can get away with lower fat content, and this was one case where I could. A lot of recipes online encourage you to use full-fat coconut milk from the can (which gives you about 40g fat per cup), but I would much rather use drinking-quality coconut milk, which reduces the fat to about 5g per cup. That being said, I've tried two kinds of coconut milk in the carton (So Delicious and Silk True Coconut), and there is a definite winner for this recipe. Now, if you like a coconut milk that doesn't taste like coconut, go for the So Delicious one. According to Ellis Jones' The Better World Shopping Guide, it's even more ethically-made than Silk is. (You can buy this book on Ethical Ocean--and at about $10, it's definitely worth every cent.) But Silk True Coconut lives up to its name, and I wanted a coconut milk that was light, but still tasted like coconut, and this fit the bill.

This gorgeous chocolate is not only vegan; it's Fair Trade. Camino 55%, with just a hint of molasses from the whole brown sugar that they use, is really, really rich and perfect for this ice cream!
Thinking back to my favourite flavour pre-veganhood, I had to develop a vanilla ice cream with chocolate pieces. Break out the Camino chocolate, and you've got a winning mix!

Making ice cream is simple. You basically throw it together and let it freeze. I used my new ice cream maker, but you can just use a shallow dish in the freezer and stir it regularly also. It's really not so difficult, and the resulting ice cream is to die for!

I added my chocolate pieces near the end of the cycle, once the ice cream had started to thicken. If you're doing it by hand, I'd wait till you've stirred it a few times to add the chocolate, but I wager it'd still be OK to just throw it all together at the beginning.
You know it's done when it's nice and thick!
And when you're done, it's a treat that you not only love, but also feel like you've earned. Right on!

You might just forget this ice cream is vegan...
Vegan Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
Makes about 1 litre

3 cups light coconut milk (drinking quality)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
50g dark chocolate, chopped (I used 55% but darker is good)

If you're using an ice cream maker, be sure to freeze your machine's bowl solid. Turn the machine on and add the first four ingredients through the spout as the machine is running. Let run about 15 minutes, and then add chopped chocolate without stopping the machine, and let run till the desired thickness is reached (about 20 minutes). Serve immediately or store in the freezer in an airtight container.

If you're doing it by hand, combine the first four ingredients and mix well. Pour into a shallow dish so that you've got a thin layer of ice cream mixture (about 1 inch or thinner is good). Freeze, stirring often, until it gets slushy. Add the chocolate and continue freezing and stirring until the mixture starts to resemble ice cream. Put it in an airtight container and store in the freezer (it will get harder and more like ice cream). To serve, you may need to leave it on the counter for a few minutes to let it soften a little. Enjoy!

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