Dairy-free Jeni’s Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

I am shocked how easy this was – but I also think having a year of learning how to make ice cream through Jeni Britton-Baur’s book helped me tremendously. There is a lot of science that goes into a great ice cream. Fat to water ratio, protein quantity, solubility properties of different kinds of sugar, temperature impact on water crystallization, all play into each perfect creamy spoonful.

But what if you can’t have dairy? Is there a vegan substitute? The coconut ice creams we tried are chock full of thickeners and natural flavors – and SO expensive. Full fat coconut milk should be the perfect base – but thanks to Jeni’s know how, I was able to use her tricks to ensure the coconut milk doesn’t freeze in chunks. The end result was a smooth, silky ice cream that melts slowly on your tongue and is very indulgent.

2 cans (13.5 oz) full-fat organic coconut milk
1 cup turbinado sugar
2 tbsp organic light corn syrup
2 oz (by weight) cocoa powder (roughly 1/2 cup by volume)
1 oz finely chopped dark chocolate (55% to 70% cacao)
1/8 tsp salt

In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the salt and the chopped dark chocolate, set aside. In a medium saucepan bring the coconut milk, sugar and corn syrup to a slow simmer for 5 minutes, constantly stirring. Slowly whisk in small amounts of the cocoa powder and simmer for another 3 minutes continually whisking until most of the cocoa is incorporated. Remove from heat. Pour small amounts of this hot mixture through a fine sieve/strainer (to strain out the undissolved cocoa) into the mixing bowl containing the chocolate and salt. Slowly whisk the chocolate and salt so that everything has melted. Continue pouring the rest of the hot mixture through the sieve into the mixing bowl. Whisk the mixture now in the mixing bowl well.

Pour this chocolate mixture into a gallon freezer ziploc bag. Place the bag in a large mixing bowl filled with ice and water. The idea here is to quickly reduce the heat of this mixture to almost near freezing. The colder this gets, the better the ice cream texture will be in the ice cream maker. This should take 20-30 minutes to cool down. Once cooled, pour this mix into the frozen container of your ice cream maker and spin for 20 minutes until the consistency of soft serve.

(For one batch, we added peppermint essential oil about 15 minutes into the spinning to give an awesome mint chocolate flavor. )

Store in small air-tight tupperware container in the coldest part of your freezer.