The chocolate recipe in The Vegan Scoop didn't look like it had enough chocolate in it to me, so I tried using the amounts from Jeni's "Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World," as well as adding the coffee that she uses. I followed The Vegan Scoop's suggestions, using a mix of soy milk and soy creamer, with arrowroot for thickening, and used a bit more sugar than I normally like to offset all the cocoa powder.
The arrowroot seemed to work very well. I've never seen such a thick and smooth custard from dairy-based ice creams when using similar amounts of cornstarch. There are warnings all over the Internet to avoid using arrowroot with dairy due to a "slimy" texture, but I may have to try it for myself some time.
Unfortunately, the finished product is pretty disappointing. It's icy and dense, with a distinct soy milk flavor. Not what I was after at all. It's edible, but the texture is a real letdown. I think next time I will try adding a small amount of xanthan gum. Soy milk is known to have problems holding air bubbles and adding an emulsifier like xanthan gum should help. In my dairy-based ice cream, the cream cheese takes care of this.
I'm still having trouble with the mixture not freezing as much as I think it should in the ice cream maker. It doesn't seem to get much colder (or incorporate more air) after the first 10 minutes. I'm thinking I should chill the mixture in the freezer a little before putting it into the ice cream maker next time, but I'm wary of getting it too cold since I had such a bad experience trying to follow the Cook's Illustrated advice of mixing in a portion of frozen ice cream base just before churning. (The mix was so cold that the ice cream maker seized up in the first 5 minutes and nearly broke my ice cream maker.) My freezer is at it's lowest setting and my refrigerator is 2 degrees celsius, as recommended by Ice Cream Science, so I think the temperatures should be working, but it is pretty warm in Brooklyn today.
ADDENDUM:As it turns out, my wife really likes this ice cream! She prefers icier, less creamy ice cream. She also likes how much chocolate flavor this has, which I agree with but I still taste the soy a lot.
Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe
NOTES: Here's my current recipe for future reference. I do not recommend you make this without some tweaks like additional emulsifiers!
- 2 cups soy creamer
- 1 cup soy milk
- 2 tbsps arrowroot powder
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 oz dark chocolate (Green & Black is vegan, if you care about that)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Mix 1/4 soy milk with arrowroot in a small bowl.
- Put all other ingredients in a saucepan. Heat, stirring often, until all chocolate is melted. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
- Pour in arrowroot mixture while whisking. Mixture should thicken quickly.
- Pour mixture into a container. Let it sit until it reaches room temperature and then put it in the refrigerator overnight.
- Strain mixture through fine mesh strainer and then freeze in an ice cream maker.