Although it may be an obvious point, I have a major sweet tooth. Cookies, bars, pies, ice cream – it does not matter. Sugar is my weakness, and among all of the ice cream flavors I have made, I love the chocolate flavors the most. Deep down, when I crave something sweet, it is usually chocolate. Despite my love for a rich scoop of dark chocolate ice cream, I am not a chocolate purist. I enjoy mixing chocolate with other flavors such as fruit and spices, and often I find inspiration for these flavor combinations in desserts I eat at restaurants.
During a trip to Minneapolis a few years ago, I ate dinner at a lovely Scandinavian-themed restaurant called The Bachelor Farmer. After indulging in a delicious meal, I found room for some dessert and was introduced to the lovely and surprising flavor combination of chocolate and cardamom. The citrusy notes of the cardamom complemented the richness of the chocolate and made for a satisfying end to my meal. I knew at some point I would need to combine the flavors in a ice cream scoop.
Finally when it came time to make some ice cream this week, I was reminded of the flavor combination. Continuing with the vegan ice cream theme this month, I decided I wanted to make a chocolate vegan scoop. Many vegan scoops use coconut milk in the base, due to the high fat content, but the challenge is covering up the coconut flavor when you do not want it in the ice cream. I find that spices work best for masking the coconut flavor while adding interesting elements to a scoop. Looking through my spice cabinet, I came upon the ground cardamom and instantly remembered the fateful night in Minnesota when I tasted the pairing of chocolate and cardamom. I added a bit of cardamom to my chocolate base and the memories of my trip to Minnesota came flooding back. The flavor is rich and light at the same time – it is the only way to describe it. Please try this recipe and enjoy:)
Chocolate Cardamom Vegan Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart
1 cup unsweetened almond milk, divided
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 1/2 cups full-fat coconut milk
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
In a small bowl, combine 2 Tablespoons of the almond milk with the cornstarch. Set aside.
Combine the remaining almond milk with coconut milk and sugar in a large saucepan. Warm over medium heat. When the mixture reaches a simmer and sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and whisk in cocoa powder. Use an immersion blender or upright blender to puree mixture until smooth and no lumps of cocoa powder remain. Return ice cream base to heat and bring to a simmer, then gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Cook until the mixture is slightly thickened (draw a line on a spoon), about 1 minute. Remove ice cream base from heat and pour into a medium bowl. Whisk in 1/4 teaspoon cardamom and vanilla. Taste and add more cardamom if desired. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Once chilled, pour ice cream base into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.