bittersweet chocolate ice cream

Posted by on Sep 15, 2013 in Dessert | 28 comments

bittersweet chocolate ice cream

Raise your hand if you like ice cream.

Now raise your hand if you like to MAKE ice cream every time you feel like having a small bowl of it.


Anyone who has dabbled in the world of dairy-free ice cream has probably felt the elation that comes with tasting ice cream fresh out of the ice cream maker. Super creamy, like soft serve. Yum. And then you put it in the freezer. And then the next day, you suddenly remember that YOU MADE ICE CREAM YESTERDAY. YAY! (You might even proclaim this out loud, if you’re anything like me)

And then. You RUN to the kitchen, open the freezer and retrieve the ice cream that isn’t yet a day old. And you try to scoop it. But you can’t. Because your ice cream has turned into a brick. Womp Womp.

I researched several ice cream recipes in the process of perfecting this dairy-free treat. Here is what I came up with:

Fat. Ice cream isn’t 100% fat. Most recipes include both milk and cream. I have to assume there is a reason for that. Fat helps the ice cream remain creamy, but it also tends to freeze solid, especially when we’re talking about coconut. For this reason, I opted to go with cashew milk instead. I didn’t go so far as to calculate the fat percentage of coconut milk vs cashew milk. I just went with my intuition on this one. Feel free to experiment with coconut milk for a nut-free option. I will someday, but am already obsessing about something else.

Booze. It’s the magic ingredient. It doesn’t freeze, which means it keeps ice cream from freezing solid, helping to maintain the creamy texture we all know and love.

Eggs. I know there will be some questions about an egg-free version of this recipe. I do not have one. There are, however, vegan ice cream recipes that you could try if eggs are an issue. I was going for a frozen custard, here, so eggs were a must.

If you’re actually reading this, I’m sincerely impressed. The last thing I’ll add is that this ice cream is crazy rich. I can do some damage to a pint of ice cream, but find myself eating tiny scoops of this in tiny cups. A little bit goes a long way.

dairyfree chocolate ice cream

I know. You want this cone recipe. But while it worked great for a photo shoot, it is far from perfect, or even decent. Stay tuned…

bittersweet chocolate ice cream

makes 1 quart

1 cup raw cashews
2 cups filtered water
1 ¼  cups coconut sugar
10 egg yolks (preferably pastured eggs)
¼ t salt
¾ C cacao powder
2 T cognac
1 T + 1 t vanilla extract

  1. Soak the cashews in 2 cups of filtered water for 30 minutes, then blend for one minute, or until very smooth.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, salt, and coconut sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is creamy.
  3. After blending the cashew milk, transfer to a medium sauce pan and add the cacao powder, whisk to combine and heat over medium-low heat or until steaming. Stir constantly to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Pour one ladle (about 4 ounces) of the steaming milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Stir, and then slowly pour the warmed yolks into the pan.
  5. Heat over low heat for 2-3 minutes, or until thickened. Once it is the consistency of warm pudding, pour the custard into a clean bowl set inside an ice bath.
  6. Stir until cool and then add the cognac and vanilla extract.
  7. At this point, you can either continue to cool the custard in the fridge for several hours or until very cold. OR you can be impatient like me, and continue to stir it in the ice bath until it’s very cold.
  8. Transfer to an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

dairyfree chocolate ice cream




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  1. I’m not going to ask about a nut free or egg free version, but any chance there is an ice cream maker free option? Looks amazing!!

    • Yes, actually- the consistency of this ice cream is very fudgesicle-like. I bet it would be incredible frozen into popsicles.

      • YUMMMMMMM!!! (drool)
        sorry not very verbal comment but I have been staring at the photos and that is my reaction! :)

      • haha It’s expressive, and that’s what counts :)

  2. Do you drain the water from the cashews before blending?

    • No, you blend the cashew with the water, to yield 3 Cups cashew milk.

  3. I. LOVE. YOU. Just sayin’.

    • :)

  4. OF COURSE….The cone recipe will HAVE to appear…pretty please?!…This is sheer chocolate nirvana…and the fudgesicle idea is stellar….The cognac and cashew milk marry fabulously with the cocoa. The photos clinch the affair. This is SUCH a “win” in your vast repertoire…Count me…impressed!

    • Yes, I will definitely keep working on the cone recipe!

  5. Oh lord… This looks exactly like the chocolate gelato In Italy that I couldn’t have due to dairy! Must try. Thank you for your well-researched recipes. They’re great!

  6. how do you make the cone?

    • Not sure yet! I’m still working on the recipe… I got them to the point of looking good for the photo, but they definitely need some work. Trying to make it work without getting a special waffle cone iron.

  7. Thank you dear Iady…thank you! My hysband thanks you as do my boys. You are our hero;)

    • Shucks! You’re so welcome :)

  8. A-mazing!!!!!!!!!! That’s all I have to say! Rich and decadent and silky. Divine… Truly! My favorite icecream recipe to date!

    • Wow! Thanks Suzette! 😀

  9. This sounds amazing. I’ll definitely be trying it out!

  10. I’m about to make this, but I need ideas for what to do with the 10 leftover egg whites… Thoughts? Anyone?

    • Paleo Macaroons, they keep well in the freezer.
      Whip some into bread or cakes for lighter texture.

  11. so does it need to be very cold before it goes in the ice cream maker?

    • yes, that definitely works best.

  12. Hello, this uses way too many eggs, how can we sup for that?

    • Thanks for the feedback. It actually doesn’t use too many eggs, it uses the correct amount to get the desired end result, which is rich and creamy ice cream. If you’d rather make ice cream without eggs, I’d recommend following an egg-free recipe. There are a bunch out there.

      • Hi thanks for getting back to me. I buy Organic Pasture raised eggs at $8 a dozen so using 10 of them seems like a lot. When you say there are bunch, I have tried a bunch. I was looking for one that would stay creamy and not icy or hard as a rock.

      • I know it’s pricey when you buy good eggs! They’re worth it though for sure. Have you tried any of the Spunky Coconut’s ice creams? Or Brittany Angell’s? I know they have some vegan ones that use things other than eggs as the softener.

  13. Any good substitute for alcohol?

    • The alcohol keeps it from freezing solid; I’m not sure what else would do that. You could experiment with gelatin maybe? Or just leave it out and allow it to sit at room temp for a bit before scooping :)


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