It’s been hot here in Bay Area these past few weeks. Let’s be honest, I’ve experienced some terribly hot temperatures on the East Coast and in the Southern United States, and I’ve certainly heard about the hot temperatures that grace many other countries. But I’m a born and raised Bay Area Native, and my blood is definitely accustomed to our coastal cool foggy mornings and blue-sky-but-still-need-a-light-sweatshirt afternoons. Don’t get me wrong; I love to wear my summer dresses and I’m much happier with flip-flops on my feet than a pair of close-toed shoes. But I don’t happen to live in a year-round hot climate, like many non-Californians often think we do (once, when I was in high school and was traveling, I was asked if I “surf to school”…I chose to ignore that, because aside from any logistical nightmares about carrying your homework on your surfboard through white-capped waves, and how to change clothes from your wetsuit to something cute and fashionable to impress all your high school cliques, I’ve never been on a surfboard in my life).
Warmish temperatures is what my summer is made up of. But, we also get a few weeks of hot sun in August, and there is usually a few weeks of intense heat in September just after school starts, taunting students out of the classroom and onto the playground, or older youth to cut class and go sit in the nearby park or drive out to the beach. However, while this is what I’m used to, I’m reveling in our rare summer heat right now, and making as much ice cream as possible while the heat lasts. Because that is the most sane way to cope with it, and it’s a little painful to think about turning the oven on during the afternoon or evening.
My friend Sasha told me that one of her favorite ice cream flavors is chocolate cherry, and I was having dinner at her house, so I decided to make that for her and her housemates! I used the basic chocolate ice cream recipe from The Vegan Scoop as my base, but I added chopped fresh cherries at the end. This was the second ice cream I’ve made with a purely soymilk base, and I was disappointed with the cream’s thinness before freezing. I probably will not be making any more soy ice creams, but in the future I’ll be adapting recipes from this book to use other non-dairy alternatives. I added a few ingredients to thicken it up (extra dark chocolate melted in!) and Amaretto Liqueur and almond extract to give more body and a flavor kick. I also threw in some chocolate chips at the end with the cherries so there was a nice crunch in every bite. I forgot that adding alcohol would make the ice cream freeze a lot slower, and didn’t account for that time difference when prepping the ice cream; We ended up eating slightly melty ice cream, but it tasted delicious even if the texture wasn’t perfect. I re-froze the left overs and when I checked the next morning, the ice cream had a much harder texture…So if you choose to use this recipe, I would make sure to leave it in the freezer overnight before eating.
Ice Cream Base Ingredients:
1 cup soymilk, divided
2 Tblsp. arrowroot powder
2 cups soy creamer
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup semisweet dark chocolate chips
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups fresh pitted and chopped cherries
1 cup vegan chocolate chips or chunks
2 Tblsp. Amaretto Liqueur
1/2 tsp. almond extract
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup soymilk with arrowroot powder and set aside.
Mix soy creamer, remaining 3/4 cup soymilk, sugar, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips in a saucepan. Stirring frequently over low heat, melt chocolate chips, then bring to a boil. Once mixture begins to boil, remove from heat and immediately add arrowroot cream. This will cause the liquid to thicken noticeably.
Add vanilla extract.
Refrigerate mixture until chilled, approximately 2 to 3 hours (or stick in the freezer for 30 minutes to speed up the process…You want it cold, not frozen, so make sure to monitor your mixture if you choose to do this). When thoroughly chilled, mix in your Amaretto and almond extract. Then, freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.
In the last few minutes of churning in your ice cream maker, add your chopped cherries and remaining cup of chocolate chips. Freeze overnight, or until hardened, in an airtight container.