I never thought a dairy free, egg free ice cream could taste this good, but it did.
The boyfriend used to love Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, so I decided to try to replicate it as best I could using some good quality ingredients. It also needed to be totally vegan, since he was going off dairy and eggs for the month of January, and I’m off dairy and eggs until further notice (boo, IgG allergies!). I’ve had mixed luck with coconut milk ice creams because it never quite lends the same creamy consistency as real cream, and when I first made this batch with a base of coconut milk, it didn’t thicken up at all, and then when I put it in the freezer, it turned into a huge ice cube. Sigh. So, I did some Googling to see what other people did to make a coconut milk ice cream actually turn out well, and I found a trick of using arrowroot starch to thicken up the coconut milk and allowing the mixture to chill. When it freezes, it has an amazing creamy texture that I thought I’d never be able to achieve with dairy-free ice cream! Even my family and boyfriend commented on how the texture was great, and my dad said that I should just not tell people that it’s dairy free and see if they even notice! I wanted the cherries to be plump, but I didn’t want to buy canned cherries drowning in high fructose corn syrup, so I rehydrated dried cherries in cherry juice overnight. For the chocolate, I used Enjoy Life chocolate chunks. Next time, I’ll probably use the Enjoy Life mini chips, because the chocolate freezes in the ice cream and becomes like a rock to chew. (Which makes me wonder, how do they get chocolate in ice cream to stay soft?!)
- 1 33 oz carton coconut milk
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
- 1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
- 1 cup dried cherries (rehydrated in cherry juice overnight and strained)
- 24 hours prior to making the ice cream, put the ice cream bowl in the freezer. It should be thoroughly frozen through and not make any sloshing sounds if you shake it.
- Reserve 1/2 cup of the coconut milk. Warm up the remaining coconut milk, coconut sugar and salt over medium heat in a saucepan.
- Whisk the arrowroot starch into the 1/2 cup of coconut milk until dissolved, and add back into the saucepan. Whisk to mix in the arrowroot starch, and cook until thickened, 6-8 minutes (but don’t let it simmer), stirring constantly.
- Take the saucepan off the heat and allow the mixture to chill in the fridge for four hours or overnight so it thickens up further. (The recipe suggested putting plastic wrap over the top of the mixture so it doesn’t form a skin, but I didn’t bother.) It will be kind of a custard-ey consistency.
- Take the ice cream bowl out of the freezer and dump in the mixture. Turn on the ice cream maker and allow it to freeze up for 15-20 minutes, or until thickened up.
- At the end, add in the cherries and ice cream just until incorporated. (I placed the chocolate and cherries in the freezer for five minutes beforehand so they would be cool and not melt the ice cream.)
- Serve immediately.
- I did find that the best consistency was right after freezing in the ice cream maker. It still hardens considerably in the freezer, so if you have leftovers or you are just saving the batch for later, allow the ice cream to sit out for a little bit so it can soften somewhat. Also, transfer the leftovers to another container before freezing; if you leave it in the freezer bowl, it will be next to impossible to get it out. Trust me.