Wednesday 22 December 2010

Potluck Tofu Chocolate Ice Cream

I am an ice cream novice. I don’t own an ice cream maker. I don’t eat the stuff often. I don’t even understand it. So why would I make my first batch of ice cream last week? A vegan ice cream potluck!

There are two reasons I am not keen on ice cream. For starters, so many recipes have too many eggs for my liking. The other reason is that my mum cooked dessert for us every night of my childhood (except after relaxed weekend meals) and on occasion she served us ice cream and fruit instead. So as children, we always thought ice cream was a very second rate dessert. Of course as an adult I have had some amazing ice creams but just can’t get excited enough about it to make it...

...Until Cindy announced her vegan ice cream potluck. Even then, I toyed with the idea of making wafers or some other accompaniments. But I decided to grasp the nettle and searched the net for a simple ice cream recipe. I haven’t had lots of time and energy to trial ice cream making or to seek out recipe and odd ingredients. I was just happy not to have eggs in the equation. Hurrah for vegan ice cream!

After many ideas, I settled on chocolate ice cream. The recipe I used asked for vegan choc chips. I didn’t have time to look for these so I just used Lindt 70% chocolate, which I suspect is far more bitter than the choc chips in the recipe. I searched for tips for ice cream making without a machine and found helpful ideas from David Lebowitz and StoneSoup.

Lots of air and lots of sweetener seemed useful in keeping it creamy. Alcohol apparently slows down the freezing too but I wasn’t going there with booze buses out and about for Christmas. Hence my liberal use of the hand held blender, as noted in my take on the recipe below. I also had “little dolly” on hand to “taste” (“Taste” is a new favourite word of Sylvia’s).

I set out for the potluck while Sylvia slept, feeling a sense of achievement that I had even managed to make some ice cream. Arriving at Cindy and Michael's home, I knew I was at the right place because it smelled as sweet as an ice cream parlour. Later I found that this was because Michael was making waffles. On the tables was a fascinating spread of ice cream, waffles, berries, cherries, sprinkles and even the glace cherries to finish off each serve. I was especially envious of Cindy’s ice cream scoop collection and realised I don’t even own one!

The ice cream that most amused and entertained me was Cindy’s Neapolitan ice cream because it looked just like the one we would eat as children with the blocks of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. But one bite of the strawberry ice cream demonstrated the difference between Cindy’s fine ice cream made with real strawberries and the one of my child hood that I think was filled with colouring and flavours. I also enjoyed Kristy’s amazing chunky chocolate honeycomb ice cream cake, some peanut butter ice cream, a caramel ice cream and Veganator’s molasses vanilla ice cream with candied walnuts. It felt very decadent to spend an afternoon eating ice cream with waffles and berries.

I confess I got to the stage where my ice cream started to melt together in my bowl so I got a bit confused about which flavour came from where. As usual I missed a few interesting ice creams too. I had a bit of my chocolate ice cream with the others and found it quite bitter compared to the sweeter ice creams. I am still a bit uncertain about making ice cream but it is quite exciting to have started experimenting. Thanks Cindy for opening up a window into a new world!

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Glögi by the tree
This time two years ago: Festive profiteroles with salad
This time three years ago: Christmas Snowflake Biscuits

Tofu Chocolate Ice Cream
adapted from VegWeb
makes about 3½ cups
  • 1 packet of silken tofu – mine was a 300g packet
  • 200g of 70% dark chocolate
  • 1 cup soy milk – I used carnation creamy soy milk, but would be interested to try coconut milk or cream
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
I melted the chocolate in a tall plastic jug that I use for my hand held blender. I added the remaining ingredients and blended them together to make a smooth and creamy “custard”. Check for sweetness – this is quite bitter but I liked it that way.

I put it in the freezer and took it out about every hour for 7 hours. By then it was still not hardening so I went to bed and left it in the freezer overnight. In future I might leave it 2 to 3 hours until it had got a bit colder and then given it another 2 to 3 hours where I blended it every hour.

The day of serving I took it from the freezer and let it soften enough to scoop it into a plastic container with a lid (I meant to leave it 15-20 minutes but got distracted and left it quite a bit longer). Then I blended it again and returned to the freezer to firm up a bit before serving (but I only had about 30 minutes to re-freeze it, then had it in the car and then put it in Cindy and Michael’s freezer for a bit but it was still really soft). It has lasted a week and a half and probably would last longer in the freezer.

On the stereo:
The collection: Pentangle


  1. Thanks so much for giving it a go! I love a bit of bittersweet chocolate, myself.

    Oh, and the yellow-handled icecream scoop in the foreground was my grandmother's. When she died a few years ago I asked if I could keep it as a memento. There's a lot of icecream love in my family. :-)

  2. What an amazing afternoon! Definitely keen on the sound of the peanut butter ice cream and, as a fellow non-ice-cream-maker-owner, like your tips on making ice cream without one :) And I think I would've liked the slightly more bitter taste of yours!

  3. What a lovely way to spend the afternoon with friends. I love the sound of your ice cream ebing dark and slightly bitter, I find most ice creams too sweet. I'd love to try experimenting with a real ice cream maker though.
    Have a great Christmas

  4. Thanks Cindy - really enjoyed it - and that yellow ice cream scoop reminds me of the one my mum had - wonder what happened to it!

    Thanks Hannah - the peanut butter icecream was really good - I am sure you would love it - didn't find ice cream as daunting as I expected but not sure when I will next make it esp if this cool weather keeps up

    Thanks Katie - I've never used an ice cream making machine - would be curious to try one and do some experiments to see the difference between machine and hand made - but can't justify the room for it in my house

  5. I LOOOOVVVVEE ice cream and have never seen it made out of tofu before! I am so totally trying this out!

  6. Oh my - what a wonderful idea for a pot luck party!!!

  7. Ooh strawberry ice cream with real strawberries is one of my favourite ice creams ever. I like ice cream but I definitely have a limit as to how much I can eat :)

  8. I was the same as a kid - I thought ice-cream was a second best dessert. Poor dolly - hope she likes chocolate ice cream. G

  9. Thanks Joanne - I loved the idea of thickening the ice cream with tofu to make the "custard" because other recipes used arrowroot for thickening and I didn't have any - hope you enjoy it

    Thanks Lisa - quite novel isn't it!

    Thanks Lorraine - the strawberry ice cream was amazing - need to eat more of this sort of ice cream

    Thanks Cakelaw - dolly gets to taste a lot at the moment - tonight it was tomatoes and tofu - my guess is that she enjoyed the chocolate ice cream more :-)

  10. A great idea for a potluck! I must admit I was wondering how they all didn't melt before you got to them, given how hot your summers are. I've made tofu-based ice creams before but don't like them as much as the coconut milk ones--but anything with chocolate is good as far as I'm concerned. :)

  11. Thanks Ricki - that's funny that your thought goes to keeping the ice cream from freezing - it wasn't a problem this year but I thought it was a shame it wasn't really hot because that is when I really suddenly feel like an ice cream - and one or two of the ice creams were really hard straight out of the freezer and could have done with some help softening up! Will look forward to trying ice cream with coconut milk

  12. A vegan ice cream party!! How fun. I've never had ice cream made with tofu but am very interested to try it.


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