Behold the most indulgent vegan chocolate ice cream ever, with a texture like a Four Seasons Hotel mousse. It all started when a co-worker gave me a bag of avocados from his tree and — not knowing what the heck to do with so many avocados all at once — I made ice cream. One word of caution: please tell people there is avocado in the ice cream, since the chocolate acts as (an edible) camouflage!
Some notes on the other ingredients: I used half chocolate and half carob to reduce the bitterness and to use less sweetener. But this ice cream could be made with 100% cocoa or carob, just adjust the sweetener accordingly. My last batch was with two jumbo avocados from a different co-worker’s tree and with local honey, so my ice cream was local and low-cost. I used Pacifica local raw honey that I picked up at Whole Foods — but you can find it at local farmers markets around Southern California.
Chocolate Avocado Ice Cream
2 large avocados (or three small ones)
1/4 cup raw honey, maple syrup or agave
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup carob powder
1/4 cup coco powder
Mix all ingredients in the food processor or with an immersion blender. Chill the mixture overnight or until very cold. Process in an ice cream maker according to the manufactures directions. I use this ice cream maker but anyone will do. Check your local Goodwill for ice cream machines, I have found 3 of them for $25 or less their over the years and have given them to friends. My theory is that many newlyweds receive ice cream machines as wedding gifts, they never use them, and then they end up at the thrift store.
The best vegan low-fat vanilla ice cream I have made so far is from a recipe in Ariana Bundy’s book Sweet Alternative. The recipe is creamier and lower in fat than most because it uses two magic ingredients; agar agar and dairy-free powdered milk. These two may not be hanging around in your kitchen pantry, but don’t let that stop you. Agar agar is seaweed-derived vegan gelatin that prevents the ice cream from becoming icy or hard in spite of a lack of fat (in this case dairy cream). You can find agar agar in the powder or flake form at Asian food markets (if you live in LA, check out my recommended markets), at Whole Foods or similar specialty sellers, or online. Don’t buy the stick form of agar agar — I tried it and it doesn’t work as well. For the dairy-free powdered milk, I use Better Than Milk Vegan Beverage Mix, which I bought on Amazon, but Ariana uses Vance’s Darifree milk powder. If you buy it online in a two-pack, you will find the surplus handy for making iced lattes, sunbutter truffles, or dairy-free milk when you run out.
This recipe can be used as a foundation to make other flavors. To adapt this recipe, just replace a portion of the milk with any other liquid or fruit puree you choose to add. For an example of this substitution, see my post for Vegan Pumpkin Ice Cream.
Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream
From Ariana Bundy’s book Sweet Alternative
1 Vanilla Pod
675 ml/3 cups rice milk or almond milk (I use rice)
115 g /1/2 cup unrefined sugar
2 tbs grapeseed oil or ghee (can use any kind of light oil)
45 g /1/4 cup Better Than Milk Vegan Beverage Mix (rice milk powder)
1/2 tbs agar agar* flakes (or 1 tsp agar agar powder)
Mix the vanilla pod, milk, sugar, oil and water in pan and heat to a boil. Lower the heat and add the agar agar and cook for 2 min, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from the heat, add the rice milk powder and whisk again, making sure there are no lumps. Chill the mixture in the fridge. It may jell and look like pudding but simply whisk or mix with an immersion blender to liquefy. Process in an ice cream maker. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, freeze the mixture for a few hours until hard, the cut it up into chunks and whiz it in a food processor until smooth. Then refreeze for another hour.
Here is a recipe inspired by David Lebovitz’s Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream. I used the same technique for creating the caramel as he demonstrates but, left out the butter (didn’t need it) and added a base of coconut milk . I opted for muscovado which is a less processed sugar. It is so simple, easy and delicious. I gave some to a colleague and he called me the next day (after eating the whole container) to ask me why I was still a transportation planner and not in the ice cream business.
When serving ice cream as indulgent as this, serve it in small dishes and present a set of them as if they were a flight of beer samplers. You don’t have to have a huge bowl to enjoy.
Salted Carmel Vegan Cream
1/3 cup regular sugar or muscovado sugar, brown sugar or regular sugar
1 can coconut milk (use full fat for creamiest results)
1 tbs vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of red Himalayan salt (they carry it now at Trader Joe’s)
Heat the sugar in a pan and caramelize it like shown here. Once the sugar has melted and is golden brown stir in the salt. Then turn down the heat to low and add the coconut milk 1/4 cup at a time. The caramelized sugar will go crazy in the pan so be careful. Add the vanilla and any other additions (vanilla bean, chai spices, etc..) you see fit. Cool the mixture in the fridge overnight or until cold and then process in a ice cream maker.