Chocolate coconut milk ice cream

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Chocolate coconut milk ice cream

Chocolate coconut milk ice cream

If you’ve been disappointed with the flavor and texture of coconut milk ice cream, try this one. Virgin coconut oil, creme de cacao, and tapioca syrup lend this chocolate coconut milk ice cream a smooth and creamy mouth feel, and prevent it from getting rock hard in the freezer.

When I began experimenting with coconut milk ice cream, I was really after a good egg free ice cream base to make when my chickens aren’t laying many eggs (such as during the fall molt). I could just go with an egg free dairy ice cream, but I love the taste of coconut and I’d like to be able to serve dessert to vegan guests. So I set a goal of making coconut milk ice cream that’s as smooth and creamy as my custard ice creams. But a well made custard based ice cream is transcendentally smooth and creamy, and tough to match. Six batches into my experimentation phase, and I think it’s there!

I first tried the basic 3-ingredient version with coconut milk, sugar, and cocoa, but it just didn’t cut it.  It was a solid brick out of the freezer. Leaving it at room temperature for 20 minutes took care of that, but then it was a gritty and crumbly disappointment. So I tried a number of variations, and with the 6th batch, I finally got it: A rich and creamy chocolate coconut milk ice cream that’s silky smooth, and scoopable right out of the freezer.

What’s the secret? There are three important ones:

  • Replace some of the sugar with tapioca syrup or corn syrup, to make it softer, smoother, and more elastic (less crumbly).
  • Enrich it with virgin coconut oil to give it a creamier mouth feel.
  • Spike it with alcohol to reduce the melting point, so the ice cream will be a little softer when just out of the freezer. A bit of vodka would accomplish that, but I use creme de cacao instead, because it also adds depth and flavor.
Omanhene cocoa is a natural cocoa with a subtle, complex flavor

Omanhene cocoa is a natural cocoa with a subtle, complex flavor

The kind of cocoa you use will have a dramatic affect on the flavor of the ice cream, so choose a brand you know you like. I’ve used two different brands with this recipe, and each imparts a unique flavor. Both are delicious: Valrhona is a Dutch process cocoa with an intense flavor. It makes a deep, dark chocolate ice cream. Omanhene is a natural cocoa with a more subtle, complex flavor. It’s not over-powering, and nicely complements the coconut flavor. The ice cream in the photos was made with Omanhene.

If you try this ice cream, please let me know what you think. I love tweaking recipes, so don’t be shy about sharing your suggestions!

Chocolate coconut milk ice cream recipe

Makes about 1 quart

Spectrum organic virgin coconut oil and Thai Kitchen unsweetened coconut milk are available in many supermarkets

Spectrum organic virgin coconut oil and Thai Kitchen unsweetened coconut milk are available in many supermarkets

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa (or 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Two 13-14 ounce cans of unsweetened, full fat coconut milk (If it has begun to separate in the can, warm it slightly prior to using, and stir to recombine it. If you don’t, the texture of the ice cream will be gritty)
  • 1/2 cup tapioca syrup or corn syrup (not high fructose corn syrup)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp creme de cacao (despite the “creme” in the name, there is no actual dairy in this. But feel free to use a different liqueur if you prefer. Orange, almond, hazelnut, or coffee liqueur would be wonderful choices.)
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, and salt until well blended and free of lumps.
  2. Add the sugar/cocoa mix, coconut milk, tapioca syrup, vanilla extract, and the liqueur to a food processor or blender. Process until well blended.
  3. While processing, pour in the melted coconut oil and process a few more seconds to blend.
  4. Cool completely in refrigerator, at least 3 hours, or overnight.
  5. Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.
  6. Transfer to freezer storage container, and freeze until ready to serve.
  7. Enjoy.

    Chocolate coconut ice cream

    Chocolate coconut ice cream

Shared on: Show and Share Wednesday #62, Showcase Your Talent Thursday #86, Simply Natural Saturdays, Independence Day Challenge, Homesteaders Hop #20, Homestead Barn Hop #138, Thank Goodness it’s Monday #47, Backyard Farming Connection #59, From the Farm Blog Hop, Showcase Your Talent Thursday #97, BFF Open House Link Party #142, The Party Bunch #15, Mostly Homemade Mondays #66, Tuesday’s Table


Chocolate coconut milk ice cream — 18 Comments

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  2. Hey great looking recipe. I would like to try to make my own. When I bought from the store, I was surprised that the coconut ice cream did not melt after sitting in the sink for over 12 hours. Can you explain why?

    • Hi Kim, yes, virgin coconut oil melts at 76 degrees F. If it is hydrogenated, it melts at an even higher temp of about 100 degrees F. So if your room temp is lower than 76, ice cream which gets most of its fat from coconut is likely to stay solid.

  3. This recipe looks decadent! However, I am looking to simply make coconut ice cream (without the chocolate). Have you made this without the chocolate? Would I need to make any alterations if I eliminate the chocolate? Thanks for the recipe and your anticipated response!

    • Good question, Cindy. I have been meaning to try this exact same recipe minus the cocoa, just to see how it would come, but nave not gotten around to it. But I have made it with banana instead of cocoa, and it was good – nice and smooth and creamy. So I think it would be just fine if you omitted the cocoa and left everything else the same. If you try it, I’d love to hear how it comes out. Good luck!

      • I can quite appreciate Cindy’s request, as I hate chocolate. There’s something about the taste and texture of the horrible stuff! So I adapted a recipe that involved chocolate-covered coconut bars (of the Bounty Bar type). I’m not sure how it translates into “cups” of things, so I’ll leave that bit to you:

        (1) 200ml coconut milk, in which soak 100g desiccated coconut for half an hour;
        (2) Heat mixture gently in a pan with 2 egg yolks plus EITHER two tablespoons vanilla sugar OR two tablespoons golden syrup;
        (3) Chill, then add 200ml of chilled custard (home- or ready-made); you might also, at this point, want to add a small glass of Malibu or white rum, and/or a handful of chopped roasted/salted pistachio nuts;
        (4) Add 200ml of double cream, whipped into peaks;
        (5) Fold everything together, then continue with normal freezing procedure.

  4. Your coconut milk recipe sounds really good. I am looking for a recipe that uses almond milk. Anyone have experience with almond milk? I will use yours and substitute it for the coconut. Thanks

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  6. I have never made coconut milk ice cream. I am going to borrow a maker- i want to make an indian inspired coconut ice cream for a dinner party tomorrow evening- so no chocolate- instead maybe some vanilla, cinnamon, and cardamom? could I substitute honey for the syrup? what do you think about using coconut malibu rum instead of vodka- do you think it will work the same? or should I stick with the vodka?

    do you have any other ideas for me??

    • Hi Heather, vanilla and spices sound wonderful. You can use honey instead of the syrup if you want the honey flavor, but the texture won’t be as smooth. I sometimes use honey in ice cream and find it creates a grittier, icier texture. The rum should work great. I rarely use vodka because I prefer a something with flavor, such as a liqueur.

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