Chocolate Ice Cream & Fudge Sauce {Vegan}

vegan ice cream bowlAll I need in this life of sin is a few heaping scoops of creamy chocolate ice cream. It fits into any occasion; at any time of day – it’s perfect for elevensies, a summer afternoon snack, or some late-night stress eating after last week’s Game of Thrones finale. (I don’t want to talk about it. I just can’t even.)

vegan fudge spoon

But as I’ve mentioned before, I can’t eat ice cream without feeling icky afterward. Lactose intolerance is just a cruel joke. The good news, which took me way too long to discover, is that there’s a solution to this dilemma. And if you give it a chance, you’ll see what all the fuss is about.vegan ice cream bird's eye

My first encounter with vegan ice cream was at FoMu, a cute little local ice cream shop with two locations in the Boston area. After intensely stalking their Yelp reviews and Instagram account, I was desperate to try their supposedly “life changing” vegan ice cream. But, like most people who hear the words “vegan” and “ice cream” right next to each other, I didn’t have very high hopes.

vegan fudge ice cream

I moseyed on down to their Allston location early on a spring Saturday night, waited in the long line of bearded hipsters and a gaggle of giggling girls, then over-eagerly ordered an entire sundae: one scoop of chocolate brownie and one of peanut butter mudslide, smothered in hot fudge and whipped “cream” (all vegan).

To be honest, even after reading all of FoMu’s stellar reviews I had pretty low expectations. Ice cream without the cream is a contradiction in terms, and could never be as good as the real thing, I thought. (Not to mention that all the dairy-free ice creams I had ever tried from the grocery store were…well, less than impressive. Let’s just say that given the choice, I would take real dairy ice cream and its resulting discomfort over that watery, overly-sweet pint of ice any day.)

But for FoMu, I kept an open mind.

coconut cream blended baseAnd you know what? It was life changing. No exaggeration. That sundae opened my eyes, and because of it I was inspired to make and finally be able to eat ice cream that I can actually enjoy. Ice cream that tastes like rich indulgence rather than icy deprivation. Ice cream that will have anyone who tries it literally begging for more, even if they are dairy’s number-one fan.

This ice cream, my friends, is the future.

churning

Ben & Jerry’s even announced that they’re releasing their own line of vegan ice creams made with coconut and almond milk next year – and they’re pretty damn serious about ice cream, so you know that’s going to be good.

I wouldn’t be surprised if, in a few years, you could buy coconut ice cream everywhere dairy ice cream is sold – it’s easy, delicious, requires no non-typical ice cream ingredients (other than coconut cream), it’s creamy, totally scoopable, and everyone can eat it. Did I mention it’s easy? Like, so easy your kid could make it (as long as they can push a button on the blender). I’m officially predicting it: this stuff is going to be big one day, and then all the nay-sayers, all those who make faces just because they hear it’s “vegan”, will have to eat their words.vegan ice cream Inspired by FoMu, I was determined to make my own version with as much chocolate as I could squeeze into it, because chocolate. And like FoMu, I used coconut milk as the base of this ice cream. I won’t lie to you: the taste of coconut is faintly detectable. Luckily for the coconut haters out there (myself included), the chocolate overpowers it almost completely, so coconut is only a secondary flavor. And as it does to most flavors, freezing takes the coconuttiness down a few pegs. So really…you have no excuse not to at least try this ice cream. What do you have to lose?vegan fudge pot

A few notes: don’t try to double the recipe. If you try to blend two cans of coconut milk at once, you’ll have to blend for longer, which increases your chance of breaking down the coconut milk so much that it separates and becomes grainy. If you want to make more than one batch, blend two single batches separately until just blended, and add them together before they go in the freezer.

Almost every variable in this recipe can be tweaked with good results, so you can use this recipe as a base for your own flavors. The sugar is the most important ingredient: as long as you have some kind of invert (liquid) sugar in there, you’re good. Invert sugars prevent crystallization, and for ice cream it’s crucial. Here I use half agave and half granulated sugar – you can replace all of that with agave with great results, or use corn syrup instead of agave. If you can’t eat sugar you can also replace it all with honey – you might be able to taste a hint of honey, but again, freezing will dull the honey’s flavor a lot. I’ve made multiple batches with different sugars and they’re all equally rich and delicious.

You can also omit the Kahlua. A tablespoon or two will make it slightly softer to scoop, because alcohol has a low freezing temperature, but it’s by no means essential. This recipe also asks for a bit of espresso powder, but know that its taste goes undetected. It works behind-the-scenes to boost the chocolate flavor – don’t skip it.

Unlike other recipes for coconut ice cream you’ll find out there, I don’t use the entire can of coconut milk. I let the milk separate over night in the fridge, then only scoop out the thick cream and leave the coconut water behind (if you like the taste, you can use the water in smoothies). This means there’s more fat in the ice cream, and more fat = creamier, richer, and less icy ice cream. Not using the coconut water also makes it taste even less like coconut and more like the real thing, and because coconut fat is actually kind of good for you, this is a win-win.vegan fudge brid's eye

One final thing: you don’t even need an ice cream maker. If you have one feel free to use it, but I found very little difference between churning it and just popping it straight into the freezer after blending. Sure, churning it technically incorporates more air as the ice cream freezes, but to be honest? If you don’t churn it and it ends up a tiny bit harder to scoop, it will still soften beautifully in your bowl and be creamier than even your average store-bought dairy ice cream.

Oh, and I may have swirled in some rich chocolate fudge sauce (also vegan) and poured a bunch on top, too. Deal with it.vegan fudge ice cream1

Chocolate Ice Cream & Fudge Sauce {Vegan}
By L.
Serves 4-6

For the ice cream:
1 can full-fat coconut milk (I like Thai Kitchen’s)
1/4 cup agave, or other invert sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 Tablespoon Kahlua or other coffee liqueur
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

For the fudge sauce:
2 oz unsweeteened chocolate
6 Tablespoons corn syrup, or other invert sugar
4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup coconut cream (from a can of coconut milk, separated)

For the fudge sauce:

On very low heat, melt all ingredients except the coconut cream until combined, stirring constantly. Once combined, add the coconut cream and stir until just mixed in (don’t over stir). If it still looks too runny, continue to heat on low for a few minutes, stirring sparingly. Remove from heat and store in an airtight container in the fridge. It will get thick when chilled, but gently stirring will thin it out so you can pour it into/onto your ice cream – only use chilled fudge when incorporating it into the ice cream, to avoid melting it. Heat gently in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time to serve as a topping.

For the ice cream:

If using an ice cream maker, freeze the bowl for a few nights in the freezer until completely frozen.

Put the coconut milk in the fridge overnight so the fatty cream separates from the water (don’t shake the can). The next day, scoop out just the cream, leaving the water behind. Add this coconut cream and all other ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until just combined, scraping down the sides every few seconds to evenly incorporate everything. Don’t over-blend; it’ll be thick but will thin out the more it’s blended. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container.

If you’re using an ice cream maker: Throw the mixture in the fridge overnight or in the freezer for an hour to chill through, and then process in the ice cream maker for about 30 mins until it looks like thick soft serve. Transfer back into your container and pour about 1/3 cup of the fudge sauce over it. Use a knife or spoon to swirl the fudge into the ice cream in one or two movements, then freeze it for at least 3 hours, or until frozen through.

Without an ice cream maker: Before freezing, add about 1/3 cup of fudge sauce over your ice cream mixture and use a knife or spoon to gently swirl it around in only one or two movements. Throw the ice cream mixture in the freezer for a few hours or overnight, until frozen. It won’t be as easy to scoop, but will be just as creamy to eat.

Either way, let it sit out for a few minutes before serving to allow it to soften, and use a wet spoon to scoop.

I dare you not to fall in love.vegan fudge ice cream 3

One thought on “Chocolate Ice Cream & Fudge Sauce {Vegan}

  1. Oh my gosh this looks SO chocolately and decadent. Also I really appreciate how thorough and well thought out your instructions are 🙂 can’t wait to try this

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