Updated: Dec 6, 2020
Thanks to my dad for sending me an ice cream maker, I have been using my free time during shelter-in-place experimenting with dairy-free ice cream... making it and eating it.
Dairy-Free Ice Cream Pros & Cons
For those with lactose intolerance, allergies to milk, or have chosen a vegan diet, dairy-free ice cream can be unsatisfying. Many of the commercial brands use coconut milk, causing coconut to drown out the actual ice cream flavor. Others lack the creaminess associated with ice "cream." Without sufficient fat, ice cream just isn't as satisfying.
Flavor & Texture
While my recipe uses some lite coconut milk for fat, there is only a hint of coconut flavor. Instead, the chocolate flavor stands out as dark and rich. The texture is smooth and creamy; not icy as you might expect.
(If you try this and find the coconut flavor is too much for you, as it was for my husband, you can cut the coconut milk quantity in half and replace it with more almond milk.)
Comparison to Regular Dairy Ice Cream
I made this dairy-free chocolate ice cream and a regular dairy chocolate ice cream back-to-back to compare. My husband and I are split over which tastes better. However, we both agree that the dairy-free ice cream doesn't melt as quickly and has a gelato-like volume due to less aeration.
Feedback & Hints
Give it a try and let me know what you think. This ice cream still has a little fat and sugar, so if you're looking for an even healthier ice cream, check out my chocolate banana "nice" cream.
Note: If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can eat this as a pudding after it's chilled for a few hours in the fridge!
Rich Dairy-Free Chocolate Ice Cream
Prep Time: 20 mins.
Chill Time: 4 hours
Churn Time: 20 mins.
Freeze Time: Overnight
Total Time: 9 hours
Yield: 5 cups
Ice Cream Maker
1 cup lite coconut milk
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
Put the ice cream maker churner in the freezer to freeze overnight.
Shake the coconut milk. Set aside 1/2 cup coconut milk in a small bowl.
Pour the rest of the coconut milk and almond milk into a saucepan. Add the agave syrup and salt. Warm the milk over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the syrup has completely dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the cornstarch to the reserved 1/2 cup coconut milk and whisk until the starch is totally dissolved. While whisking, pour the corn starch mixture into the pot. Add the cocoa. This is your ice cream base.
Increase the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the base has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. Do not allow the base to come to a boil.
Remove the base from heat and stir in the vanilla.
Pour the base into a shallow container. Let the base cool slightly on the counter so it's not hot when you put it in the refrigerator. Before refrigerating, cover with plastic wrap and then the container lid. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or for up to 3 days.
Your base should be completely chilled and slightly pudding-like in texture. Put the churner on the ice cream maker and turn it on. Slowly pour in the ice cream mixture and let it churn for 20 minutes. Note: If you want to add any mix-ins like nuts or cookies, these can be crushed and added during the last 5 minutes of churning.
You can enjoy the ice cream straight from the machine, or you can harden it further in the freezer.
Store the ice cream in an airtight container by covering first with a piece of parchment or wax paper and then the lid to prevent ice crystals from forming.
Nutrition per 1/2 cup:
186 Calories, 37g Carbohydrates, 3g Protein, 5g Fat, 3g Saturated Fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 167mg Sodium, 5g Fiber, 23g Added Sugar