Paleo Vanilla Ice Cream Chocolate Ganache

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Doing a Whole30 this month? You rock. But QUICK! LOOK AWAY! THERE’S NOTHING TO SEE HERE! Everyone else: time to make this amazing dairy-free, paleo vanilla ice cream + chocolate ganache!

Really—this post ain’t for you…or at least, not right now. Go check out my Whole30 recaps, or better yet, go make yourself some Cracklin’ Chicken or Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Eggs. Come back in September—this ice cream’ll still be here.

Still with me—and looking for a cool, dairy-free treat to beat the heat? Then follow along as I crack open my copy of Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Ice Cream and whip up some vanilla ice cream with chocolate ganache!

Ever since a review copy arrived in the mail, I’ve been eyeing the vanilla ice cream. You’d think I’d make a beeline for the chocolate ice cream recipes in Kelly’s beautiful new book, but NOPE. Know why?

’Cause of this little guy.

As soon as he spied me dragging my long-neglected ice cream maker out of the garage, my six-year-old vanilla ice cream fanatic knew what was up. And he wasn’t shy about pointing out precisely which recipe he wanted me to make.

Vanilla packs a huge wallop, and is anything but boring. According to Cook’s Illustrated, vanilla’s a “flavor potentiator” that not only increases our perception of sweetness, but also our ability to taste other ingredients that accompany it—like nuts, fruit, coffee, and chocolate.

But as much as I share Lil-O’s love of vanilla, there’s no way I was going to let someone who can’t even tie his own shoes keep me from my beloved dark chocolate.

The compromise? Ganache, baby. GANACHE.

As Kelly points out, ganache (a.k.a. fancy chocolate sauce) can be made dairy-free, too; just substitute full-fat coconut milk for the heavy cream. Drizzle some ganache over a scoop (or three) of Kelly’s rich, dairy-free vanilla ice cream, add a sprinkle of toasted slivered almonds, and you’re all set for one of the best frozen treats you’ve had since going Paleo.

Who’s ready to scream for some ice cream?

Time to make some paleo vanilla ice cream!

Makes 1 to 1½ Quarts of Ice Cream and 1 cup of Ganache

Ingredients for ice cream:

  • ½ cup (about 8) soft, pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1½ cups almond, cashew, or hemp milk (I used my Homemade Vanilla Almond Milk)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Optional (provided you’re not feeding vegans): unflavored gelatin or guar gum (I used Great Lakes brand gelatin in the red can per Kelly’s recommendation: I slowly stirred 1 tablespoon of gelatin into ¼ cup boiling water until it completely dissolved.)

Ingredients for ganache:

  • ⅔ cup canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 ounces dairy-free dark chocolate, chopped

(Plus, as an extra topping, I grabbed some toasted slivered almonds from my pantry.)

Here’s What You Do:

Grab your dates and put ‘em in a blender…

…after removing the pits, of course.

Pour in the coconut milk…

…and purée until smooth.

Add the almond milk…

…vanilla extract…

…and thickener. (Pour the bloomed gelatin mixture into the blender last, just before puréeing the ice cream mixture.)

Blend until smooth.

Freeze for about an hour or refrigerate until cold.

Pour into the ice cream machine and churn per the manufacturer’s instructions.

In the meantime, grab your chopped dark chocolate and make the ganache.

In a small saucepan, warm the coconut milk over medium heat until it begins to simmer.

Place the chocolate in a bowl, pour the hot coconut milk over it, and let it sit for 1 to 2 minutes.

Whisk as the heat of the coconut milk melts the chocolate. Continue whisking until the milk and chocolate are well combined. (You can store the ganache covered at room temperature for up to a week.)

Once the ice cream’s ready…

…you can stick it in the freezer to firm up a bit, or just scoop it out…

…spoon on some ganache…

…top it with some slivered almonds…

…and go to town!

Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2021).

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