See that creamy, dreamy, chocolate-y ice cream up there? That would be 100% dairy free, frozen vegan bliss and my current obsession.
I’ve been a fan of coconut milk ice cream for a long time, but recently started experimenting with cashew-based ice cream. Soaked, raw cashews blend up to create an unbelievably, super smooth cream, with a neutral taste that’s prime for any number of flavorings, mimics dairy milk and is perfect for vegan sauces and desserts. The combination of cashew cream and coconut milk (along with lots of coffee and dark chocolate) in this recipe results in a thick, creamy, indulgent vegan ice cream you’d never believe was dairy free.
But let me back up… This ice cream all started with a craving for affogato, the classic, “drunken” Italian dessert (warm espresso poured over ice cream for a luxuriously foolproof grown up sundae).
I’ve teamed up again with Nespresso, and have been recipe-testing some new coffee recipes this week – playing around with the single-serve VertuoLine coffee system – which quickly brews flavorful, crema-topped espresso and large-cup coffees at the touch of a button – and their newest large-cup offering: Caramelizio, a medium-intensity, lightly roasted Arabica bean coffee of Brazilian and Central American origins.
If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I looove coffee. Hot coffee, iced coffee, coffee ice cream, and definitely coffee paired with chocolate… heck I add a dash of coffee or espresso powder to basically any chocolate dessert I ever make, to deepen and enhance the natural flavors. And I get lots of emails from readers asking if it’s really necessary. Yes, yes it is. Coffee and chocolate are best buds.
The subtle, sweet caramel and vanilla notes of the Caramelizio coffee begged to be paired with deep, dark chocolate of course, and I was inspired to make some homemade dark chocolate coffee ice cream with the fresh brew. All the flavors of affogato (plus chocolate) wrapped up in one creamy, decadent ice cream, that (bonus!) also happens to be vegan and gluten free.
AND, in honor of the one year anniversary of the VertuoLine system, and to celebrate the release of Caramelizio, Nespresso is offering a brand new, beautiful VertuoLine machine to one lucky reader. That means you!
Homemade Ice Cream Tips
Be sure that the ice cream machine canister is completely frozen. For me, that means turning the freezer down to the coldest setting, placing the bowl in the very back of the freezer, and freezing the bowl at least 24 hours before I plan to make ice cream. If you make ice cream often, and have freezer space, I find it convenient to simply store the canister in the freezer, so that it’s always ready to go.
Thoroughly chill the ice cream base and any mix-ins. I generally make sure to chill any ingredients in the fridge for at least 2 hours, and often overnight. You want the mixture(s) to be really, really cold when you begin churning.
Take the canister out of the freezer at the last minute, and begin churning as quickly as possible. This will ensure that the container doesn’t defrost, which could impede the ice cream setting up properly.
Add mix-in ingredients in the last couple of minutes of churning. I generally wait until the ice cream is basically set up before adding any caramels, nuts, chocolate etc., usually about 3-5 minutes before turning off the machine.
Don’t over-churn. Most ice cream machines take about 18-25 minutes to churn a batch of ice cream. Continuing to churn beyond the recommended time generally won’t make the ice cream any colder or firmer in texture, as the frozen canister will begin to thaw.
Freeze your ice cream after churning for a firmer texture. Straight out of the machine, freshly-churned ice cream will be soft – similar to the texture and consistency of soft-serve. Freezing the ice cream for an hour or two will create a firmer, more scoop-able texture.
To enter for a chance to win, just leave a comment below, mentioning your very favorite coffee drink (or dessert). It’s that easy, and I can’t wait to hear your ideas! Please note: This giveaway is open to US residents only. The winner will be randomly selected and all comments must be entered by Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 11:59pm (PST) to be considered. The giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to the giveaway winner: Robbin Z!
My absolute favorite coffee drink is iced coffee – I could drink it all day, every day. If calories didn’t count, maybe a frappuccino. – Robbin Z.
And thank you to everyone who entered!!
- 1.5 cups raw cashews, soaked for 4–6 hours, or overnight
- 1 (14oz) can full fat coconut milk
- 8 oz (1 cup) coffee or espresso (such as 1 Nespresso Caramelizio pod)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1.5 oz bittersweet chocolate (70-85% cacao), broken into rough pieces
- 1/4 cup pure cane sugar
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- pinch fine grain sea salt
- optional: 2 tsp arrowroot starch*
- Place the cashews in a small bowl, cover with water and soak for 4-6 hours, or overnight. Brew 8oz of strong coffee or espresso (such as 1 Nespresso Caramelizio pod). Let cool completely at room-temperature or in the fridge.
- When the coffee has cooled, drain the cashews, rinse lightly, and add to a high speed blender. Add the remaining ingredients, and blend on high (or use the “liquify” setting), for 2-3 minutes, until smooth, creamy, and completely combined.
- Place in the fridge for at least an hour, or until fully chilled. Add to an ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s directions, generally 18-25 minutes, until the ice cream has thickened and resembles soft serve. Transfer to a freezer safe container (I like to use these pint containers or a 5×9-inch loaf pan). If your container does not have a tightly-fitting lid, press a piece of parchment paper against the surface. Freeze until set, about 4 hours.
- Remove from the freezer 10-15 minutes before serving. Homemade ice cream is best the day of, but will keep frozen for up to a week.
If you don’t have a high-speed blender, it’s best to soak the cashews for longer (overnight if possible), to achieve a super smooth and creamy result.
For chocolate chip coffee ice cream, add 2oz of finely chopped bittersweet chocolate during the last couple of minutes of churning.
High quality chocolate bars will list a cacao percentage on the packaging. In this recipe, you’ll want to find a dark chocolate bar with 70-85% cacao.
Additionally, high quality dark chocolate should only have a couple of ingredients: cocoa beans and/or cocoa butter, and sugar (and maybe ground vanilla beans/extract or sea salt). If possible, avoid chocolate with other fillers, chemicals and emulsifiers (such as soy lecithin).
I’m in the habit of adding arrowroot starch to all of my homemade ice creams, which binds with any water molecules naturally present, and helps to prevent the formation of ice crystals, creating a smoother, creamier texture for your ice cream. Just a few teaspoons of this natural, plant-based starch, and super hard, impossible to scoop, icy nightmares are a thing of the past
The arrowroot starch is entirely optional, but if you do not plan on eating the ice cream the day of, I recommend adding it. Tapioca starch or cornstarch can also be substituted if you can’t get your hands on arrowroot starch, which is always my first choice.
This post is in partnership with Nespresso. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Fork Knife Swoon!