I feel like I should begin this post with a warning for all ice cream lovers. So here it is: Warning! Try this vegan ice cream and you are going to be hooked! And I mean that. Period. Ok! I’ve done my duty! Big sigh. Now we can move on.
I have loved ice cream for as long as I can remember. I couldn’t have been more than six or seven and I remember trying to choose a flavor at a local ice cream parlor. I ended up choosing the bubble gum flavor and because I was so cute (actually terribly skinny and hungry-looking) the server decided I needed a double scoop. Despite all the adorable gum balls in it, I ended up thinking that it tasted horrible (maybe I was a bit of a food snob even then) and though I tried hard to finish it, I couldn’t even get close. I had to dump it in secrecy! I just wanted the cone!
Since that time to this, I’ve had my share of ice cream, both good and bad, and I’m here to tell you that this ice cream is truly amazing. It’s better than any vegan ice cream that I’ve ever had and rates on par with the best non-vegan frozen creamy treats out there. However, I really can’t take credit for it. Skye Michael Conroy author of The Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook and my Mom got together (you know, his book in her kitchen kinda get-to-gether 😉 ) and out came this amazing ice cream. I tinkered just a bit more with the ingredient amounts and tried to simplify the method as much as I could and here we are… Although this ice cream may require a little more effort than some other recipes out there, I’m here to tell you that it is totally worth it! I know you are just going to love this!
Just a couple of tips. This one is big. You absolutely must use refined coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil is wonderful in it’s right, but it tastes like coconut. The refined version of coconut oil does not have that coconut taste at all. But it still has that perfect richness to create a cream nearly identical to dairy cream. For this recipe, you need the coconut oil to be in it’s liquid state. You can warm it for a few seconds in the microwave or even in a bowl of warm water.
Another important thing to note is that you need to use a soy milk that has no additives. No sugar, vanilla, no thickeners, just soybeans and water. Westsoy original is what I use most of the time. It’s reasonably priced and easy to find in most grocery and health food stores.
Lastly, starting with your solidly frozen ice cream maker bowl is a must. I just keep mine in the freezer all the time with a plastic bag over it to keep it clean (my awesome Mother-in-law’s tip) and then I’m ready to make ice cream whenever needed (ie., wanted, craved, desired, demanded!). And now, you can join me in thinking up new flavors, like this one below! Recognize those berries anyone? Yes, they are huckleberries! If you haven’t tried huckleberries, you my dear friend need to plan a trip to the northwest. Then, maybe some kind local will take pity on you and point out a trail where you can hike and pick and eat with the bears ;)…and fill you empty water bottle up with more for later!
Ok, here we are. Back to cherry again! 😉 I just can’t wait for you to try this recipe! Please tell me about your creations!!!!
Sweet Cherry Chocolate Vegan Ice Cream
- 1 1/2 Cups Frozen Pitted Sweet (Bing) Cherries
- 2 T. Sugar
- 1/3 Cup Vegan Chocolate Chips
- 1 tsp. Refined Coconut Oil
- 3 1/2 Cups pure soy milk (like Westsoy - no sweeteners, no additives, just soybeans and water)
- 1/2 C. Refined Coconut Oil (needs to be in liquid state - may need to warm slightly in microwave or on stovetop)
- 1/4 tsp. Fine Sea Salt
- 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tsp. Xanthan Gum (or Guar Gum)
- 1 C. Sugar
***Please note, as I mentioned in depth in the blog post, you need Refined Coconut Oil for this recipe. Virgin coconut oil will create a whole different flavor!***
First of all, have your ice cream maker bowl frozen solid. This really needs to be done the day ahead. As mentioned in the blog post, I just wrap mine in a plastic grocery bag (to keep it clean) and keep it in the freezer so I’m ready to go whenever I feel the need for ice cream! Yeah!
Grab your cup and a half of sweet bing cherries. I used frozen. Cut them in quarters and place them in a pot with two tablespoons of sugar on a low heat setting. Basically you want them to get super soft and create wonderful dark red juice. Takes about 15 minutes. Transfer carefully (it’s hot!) to a small jar or other heat safe container. Get it in the fridge (or freezer if you’re in a hurry) to chill.
Take 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon of refined coconut oil, and melt these together (I did this in the microwave, heating in 30 second increments until melted). Spread this mixture thinly on parchment paper (to save mess) that has been placed on a small baking tray or other freezer safe surface. Place in the freezer to harden.
Now you are ready to make the ice cream base itself. It is best to start with room temperature ingredients because you want your coconut oil and soy milk to mix. At any rate, add the soy milk to the blender, start blending on a low and then higher speed. Once you get it really going, open the little pour spot on top, and very VERY slowly pour your refined coconut oil in. I’m usually impatient so very slowly usually lasts 90 seconds, but you get the idea. Too fast and it won’t incorporate well.
Let it keep blending while you add the vanilla, salt, sugar, and Xanthan Gum. Once it’s well incorporated turn it off! Yeah, you knew that! 😉 Now you need to chill the ice cream liquid. You can be creative with this if you are in a hurry (pour it into a ziplock baggie, place the baggie in an ice water bath) or you can just stick the liquid ice cream in a bowl and put it in the fridge even overnight!! But however you decide to do this, it really needs to be completely chilled before pouring it in the ice cream maker.
Once it’s completely chilled (several hours or overnight) pour the ice cream liquid into the ice cream maker bowl and just let it do it’s thing for about 30 minutes. Once you are seeing a pretty firm texture, add the cherries and juice you previously prepared and break all the thinly spread chocolate into smaller pieces and dump that in too. Let it go on mixing everything for a few more minutes and then you are ready to scoop all your soft serve ice cream into a freezer container.
I usually put mine into loaf pans. You’ll need two regular size loaf pans or one large one. Whisk those off to the freezer and let it get solid. It serves soo nice that way. Watch out, because everyone is going to go crazy over this, and the wonderful thing is you can feel good about it too! You can sub almost any kind of berry in place of the cherries – my other favorite is Huckleberry. If you’re a northerner you’ll know what I’m talking’ about!!! Have fun ya’ll!