Many years ago, a reader named Anna De Simone Salituro submitted this chocolate cashew ice cream recipe for one of our dairy-free recipe contests. Today, I’m giving her recipe an update with expanded directions, more information, and some additional tips and options! But as is, it’s a very decadent, truffle-like frozen dessert.
Dairy-Free Chocolate Cashew Ice Cream that’s Incredibly Rich and Creamy
I know some of you like to mix things up, so I do have some ingredient notes and substitution suggestions.
- Cocoa Note: This ice cream isn’t heavy on sugar, and this is a no-bake recipe. Consequently, I think it’s important to use Dutch-processed cocoa powder. It’s darker, sweeter, and less bitter than natural cocoa powder because the acidity has been removed. Popular brands of Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder include Hershey’s Special Dark, Whole Foods 365, Anthony’s Culinary, and Ghirardelli Majestic.
- Coconut-Free Option: You can omit the coconut meat, and increase the cashews to 1 1/2 cups. For the coconut oil, you have two choices. You can omit it and increase the milk beverage to 1 1/2 cups for a slightly lighter chocolate cashew ice cream. Or, you can substitute another type of oil (or part oil, part milk beverage). Other types of oils don’t freeze or set up, so they will help soften the ice cream.
- Cashew-Free Option: You can substitute almonds or hazelnuts for the cashews, but these two nuts will have a more pronounced influence on the flavor. Cashews provide the creamiest and sweetest finish.
- Sweetener Options: If you prefer, you can simply use regular sugar, sucanat / evaporated cane juice, or even brown sugar in place of the liquid sweetener. Also, don’t be afraid to sweeten to taste. Once frozen, the ice cream will taste a little less sweet than it does before freezing.
Special Diet Notes: Chocolate Cashew Ice Cream
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, paleo, and vegetarian.
- 1¼ cups unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4 to 6 hours, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup agave nectar or maple syrup
- ½ cup cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed)
- ½ cup coconut meat or ¼ cup coconut butter
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, to taste
- Put the milk beverage, soaked cashews, sweetener, cocoa powder, coconut meat or coconut butter, coconut oil, and vanilla in your blender. Process until smooth and creamy.
- Refrigerate the mixture for 1 to 2 hours, or until cold.
- Process the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Pack the ice cream into a freezer-safe container and freeze. It will be hard-packed within 4 hours.