dairy-free dark chocolate cinnamon ice cream recipe

Dairy-free dark chocolate cinnamon ice cream

Chocolate ice cream. There’s not really much that hasn’t already been said about the stuff and really, I’m pretty sure I don’t need to say anything more to convince you of it’s goodness eh? Haha, thought not… When it’s hot outside like it has been (stay safe Victoria and Adelaide, my fellow heat-wave-ers) I like to make icy treats to keep us cool. And while a honey-sweetened popsicle usually does the trick, this week with all the stress that school holidays and two feuding children can bring, lets just say I was feeling in the mood for something a little bit more decadent than the offerings of late!

Dairy-free dark chocolate cinnamon ice cream
Dairy-free dark chocolate cinnamon ice cream

It’s pretty straight forward to swap coconut milk in place of regular milk and cream in any given ice cream recipe, but there’s a few things I’ve learnt over the years that help to make things even more enjoyable. 1. Choose the tin of coconut milk with the highest fat content you can find (the word ‘diet’ is not in my vocabulary). It’s the fat that makes it creamy and yum. 2. Unless you’re allergic to eggs or vegan, use them. The texture a proper anglaise base gives is damn near perfect. And 3. Bump up the flavours to mask the somewhat eggy flavour that comes through when using coconut milk instead of dairy. Chocolate works, as does spice. Here I’ve used them both! Of course, for those who don’t do eggs- this is also a great ice cream to try or check out this post for link to loads of vegan popsicles.

P.s In case you missed it on facebook/twitter or instagram, I’m featured in the February edition of Delicious. magazine, alongside a bunch of my favourite vegetarian/whole-foods based bloggers. I’m humbled and beyond excited! It’s available in both Australia and NZ, yay!

Dairy-free dark chocolate cinnamon ice cream
Dairy-free dark chocolate cinnamon ice cream
Dairy-free dark chocolate cinnamon ice cream

dairy-free dark chocolate cinnamon ice cream
As always, make sure you check the label on your tin of coconut milk. It should read coconut and water. That’s it. I used Aroy D coconut milk (made in Thailand), which I pick up from my local Asian grocer. Go full fat too, it’s the fat which gives the creaminess to this ice cream without the use of dairy. I use Whittaker’s 50% dark chocolate, which is dairy-free.
Serves 4.

600ml coconut milk (full fat, the higher the better!)
100g dark chocolate (dairy-free), chopped into small chunks
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
4 large free-range egg yolks
1/2 cup (100g) unrefined raw sugar (blended*)
a good pinch fine sea salt

Place the coconut milk, chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring slowly up to near boiling point, stirring constantly to melt the chocolate (you can use a whisk to give it a good mix if the chocolate is having a hard time combining to form a smooth, even sauce).

In a large glass bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and a good pinch of fine sea salt until thick and pale. When the chocolate milk has nearly come up to boiling point, pour it over the yolks while whisking constantly. Quickly rinse out the saucepan and pour the whole lot back in. Turn the heat down to medium and return the saucepan to the heat. Cook, whilst stirring constantly for 5-6 minutes or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of your wooden spoon.

Remove from the heat and strain the chocolate custard through a fine sieve set over a clean bowl. Set aside until cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on the surface. Or if you have loads of ice you can always speed up this process by placing the bowl of custard into another larger bowl filled with ice and stirring until cold. When the mixture is cool, cover and place into the fridge to chill for a few hours or overnight. 

Churn the ice cream for 20-25 minutes before transferring to a lidded container and freezing for a further 2-3 hours until set to your liking. Will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge. Leave out on the bench for 10-15 minutes to soften before eating if it’s set too hard.

*If you don’t own a ice cream churn, simply place the custard mixture into a shallow dish (a loaf tin is perfect) and freeze for 1 hour, until the edges are starting to freeze. Beat with a hand mixer or whisk, return to the freezer and repeat this a further 2-3 times before returning to the freezer for 2 hours. This won’t give the exact same results as a churn would, but still delicious nonetheless. 

*I blitz unrefined raw sugar in my blender until it’s powder-like, which makes it dissolve easier.

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  • Madeleine @ NZ Ecochick
    January 17, 2014 at 1:21 am

    Wow this looks amazing!! I just bought an ice cream machine and have made my own many times but I am so going to make this one! Hopefully it'll be less fattening than the ones I've been making!!! (though I doubt it). Mx

  • The KitchenMaid
    January 17, 2014 at 1:55 am

    This is the strongest argument ever for having an icecream machine! Looks gorgeous, I could really, really use a scoop right now (and I only have one moaning child!)

  • cynthia
    January 17, 2014 at 2:11 am

    Oh my gosh, this looks fantastic. I'm mildly lactose intolerant, but usually throw caution to the wind and eat regular ice cream anyway (sometimes with uncomfortable results). With a recipe like this, who needs to do that? Need to make this, stat! Thanks so much for sharing this gorgeous ice cream. 🙂

  • Lan | MoreStomach
    January 17, 2014 at 2:41 am

    beautiful! we're fighting a winter's cold in the abode right now but Ice Cream for Breakfast day is coming up and i've been hoarding recipes, trying to decide which to make. my last two have been dairy, but lactose free, and i'm sorta missing the dairy-free ones… this looks absolutely delicious.

  • dana
    January 17, 2014 at 3:03 am

    UHBSESSED. I've made plenty of dairy free ice creams but never using the coconut milk + egg combo. Will be giving it a shot! Also, love your site! I'm new but am certainly glad I found it!

    • emma
      January 17, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      Thanks Dana! And, welcome 🙂 xx

  • Rachel C
    January 17, 2014 at 4:34 am

    I love you, LOL. Thank you for returning ice-cream to my diet – I have been missing it since going dairy-free!

    • emma
      January 17, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      Haha, you're welcome! I have a lovely mango coconut ice cream somewhere on here too, search the recipe page xx

  • Janet NZ
    January 17, 2014 at 4:44 am

    That looks so good – even from a chilly, windy Palmerston North day.

  • Dearna @tohercore
    January 17, 2014 at 6:40 am

    And just when I'd decided I didn't *need* an ice-cream maker!! This looks/sounds just perfect 🙂

  • Nicola Galloway / Homegrown Kitchen
    January 17, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Wow this looks amazing Emm! I have been playing with coconut cream in ice cream recently and love the creaminess without the dairy ness. And look forward to reading the article in Delicious when I can get my hands on a copy. You are such an inspiration x

    • emma
      January 17, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      Thanks Nicola! xx

  • Antonia @ Health Inspirations
    January 17, 2014 at 8:51 am

    I made my first batch of ice cream last summer and since I was in a very experimental mood I immediately swapped the cream for coconut milk. It was one of the best desserts I've had so far. I can't wait for the return of the hot weather so I can try making new flavors!

  • london bakes
    January 17, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Oh yes. You can never beat a bowl of chocolate ice cream when it's hot (or even when it's cold as it is here!). Love the mood of these pics too.

    PS congrats on the delicious feature, so exciting!

    • emma
      January 17, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Thanks Kathryn! xx

  • thelittleloaf
    January 17, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Massive congrats on the feature Emma and what a beautiful way to celebrate. I love using coconut milk in ice cream and you're right, eggs do make all the difference if you're not allergic. Chocolate ice cream has to be my favourite flavour ever!

    • emma
      January 17, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Thanks Kate! xx

  • Francesca
    January 17, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Great idea using coconut milk in the custard. Thick and rich . Must try.

  • Anonymous
    January 17, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Em, I am salivating!!! I must go and buy ingredients and make immediately, I think this will be my next go to hot day cool down fix!

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    January 17, 2014 at 10:47 am

    These ice cream sounds so delicious! Love the fun flavour!

  • molly yeh
    January 17, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    HEAT WAVE? oh that is just beyond comprehension right now… i feel like i should bookmark all of your posts to reread in about six months 🙂

    your photos are so gorgeous and that ice cream is beautiful! love love love.

    • emma
      January 18, 2014 at 7:34 am

      Haha, yes that's what I always think when I read your winter posts 🙂 xx

  • Sini | my blue and white kitchen
    January 17, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    This ice cream looks so incredibly creamy! Love the idea to substitute dairy with coconut milk. I'm sure the taste is amazing. Would love to make this although I don't have an ice cream maker (yet, it's on my wish list).

    Happy weekend,

    • emma
      January 18, 2014 at 7:34 am

      If you have a spare few hours, it's totally doable without a ice cream churn 🙂

  • Ashlae
    January 18, 2014 at 3:14 am

    This looks so creamy and delicious. I've been chocolate + cinnamon obsessed lately and cannot wait to try this.

  • InTolerant Chef
    January 18, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    So yummy indeed and perfect for this hot weather too! Congrats on the magazine listing- how exciting indeed 🙂

  • Michael Smith
    January 24, 2014 at 1:47 am

    This is perfect. I will definitely try this once summer kicks back. Thanks for sharing

  • Lucy
    January 26, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    It may be pouring with rain in London at the moment but this still looks so tempting! Dreaming of sunnier days so I can enjoy this soon.

  • Martine @ Chompchomp
    February 2, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    This stuff looks deadly…as in I would end up eating it all in one sitting. Looks so luscious!

  • Shelly West
    February 3, 2014 at 1:59 am

    I love this – I just got an ice cream maker for Christmas and am still new to the world of ice cream making. I've been dying to try a recipe made with coconut milk and love your tips!

  • suzarella
    February 6, 2014 at 7:01 am

    The nicest coconut cream/milk in NZ is from the TradeAid shops. It's organic. Delish.

    • emma
      February 7, 2014 at 4:35 am

      Oooh I bet! I love TradeAid everything and have missed that shop since moving across the ditch! xx

  • Ashley
    February 6, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Whoa! I have never tried to make coconut milk ice cream with eggs. Definitely need to try this out. I am dying over the slightly melty scoops. YUM.

    • emma
      February 7, 2014 at 4:35 am

      If you can eat eggs I highly recommend trying coconut milk-based ice cream using them. They give the most beautiful creaminess which you just don't ever really get from straight-up coconut milk based ones xx

  • Renee (AmsterdamFoodStories)
    March 23, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    OH MY! This looks so incredible delicious. I love coconut milk, I love chocolate, I love cinnamon and I love vanilla. This must be my new favourite recipe..

  • Nik Sharma
    March 24, 2014 at 1:57 am

    Congratulations on the feature, Emma! Your work is always such an inspiration. As for this ice cream, I love it and I am going to give it a shot this week, it looks so soft and creamy!

    • emma
      March 24, 2014 at 11:44 am

      Thanks so much Nik! xx

  • Kate @ Relish the Memory.
    August 31, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Man this is a goody Em! Love the smooth, creamy texture and as a coconut-anything lover I was in heaven. Yet another example of your brilliance. X x

  • Jillian Beach
    November 3, 2014 at 4:58 am

    This looks like a wonderful recipe! I was wondering if it would work as well if I used almond milk instead of coconut milk?

    • emma
      November 3, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      Hi Jillian,
      It would work with almond milk, but it may be a little icy in texture and wouldn't be creamy. xx