Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cashew Ice Cream… vegan, oil-free, coconut-free.
Yup, I made my very first batch of vegan ice cream. Yay for my new ice cream maker! Double yay for the creamy goodness of cashews. I was a little intimidated at first. I’d never made ice cream before, but I cannot believe how EASY it is! Just turn the machine on, pour the ingredients in and let it do its magic. Oh and I got this super nifty ice cream container on Amazon. Love it! Miracles of modern technology, that’s all I have to say.
Wait, I do have more to say… First of all, chocolate chocolate chip (yes!) was always my absolute favorite ice cream when I was eating dairy, so I thought I’d dive right in and try it. I didn’t think I could rival Häagen Dazs. But, this recipe works—everyone in my family was amazed at the likeness to the real deal. The mouth feel is not totally the same and, in my freezer, it got really hard. But I just left it out a few minutes before scooping and it was really, really yummy!
As you can see above, the nutritional profile of this “ice cream” is far better than the traditional store-bought variety. I don’t usually include nutrition facts in my recipes because these breakdowns do not analyze for micronutrients, only macronutrients (fats, proteins, carbohydrates/sugars and sometimes vitamins and minerals), when, in fact, it is the the micronutrients, such as phytochemicals, carotenoids, flavonoids, etc. that play such an important role in superior nutrition. As you can see, there is still quite a bit of fat in this recipe. But what is in that fat? Approximately 82% of the fat in cashews is in the form of unsaturated fatty acids. About 66% of this unsaturated fatty acid content is heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Still, these healthy fats should be limited in a plant-strong diet. Dr. Fuhrman recommends no more than 1-2 ounces of nuts and seeds per day as a general guideline, especially if you’re relatively inactive and/or trying to lose weight.
I mention in the title that this ice cream is coconut-free. Why? Because on perusing the web, researching vegan ice cream, so many recipes use canned coconut milk, which contains xanthan gum and other stabilizers. Or they use fresh, young coconut meat… um, not something I can readily find in the Smoky Mountains. The healthy fat in cashews is a great substitute for canned coconut milk and keeps this recipe in the WHOLE FOOD category, thank you very much.
- 4 cups cashew milk (recipe HERE)
- ¼ cup + 2 TBS non-alkalized cocoa powder
- 1 cup tightly-packed medjool dates, pitted
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup vegan chocolate chunks or chips
- UPDATE: Here’s a tip. If you aren’t adverse to it, add about 1 tsp of vodka to the mix. It will prevent the ice cream from getting too hard in the freezer!
- Place the dates in a blender and add enough cashew milk just to cover them.
- Blend until smooth.
- Add the remaining milk, cocoa powder and vanilla and blend again until smooth.
- Refrigerate the mixture until cold.
- Use this mixture as your ice cream base, following your ice cream maker’s instructions.*
- Add the chips/chunks at the very end of the cycle, just until mixed.
- Freeze and enjoy!
Makes about 1½ quarts. Enjoy!