July is National Ice Cream Month, and the third Sunday of the month is National Ice Cream Day. Both “holidays” established in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan. It makes sense that there would be a holiday dedicated to this sweet and cooling treat in July, which is often the hottest month of the year. Of course, ice cream is traditionally dairy-based, but vegans don’t need to be left out of this holiday, as non-dairy ice cream is pretty easy to find at most grocery stores, and it’s also easy to make at home!
We’ll be celebrating National Ice Cream Day this weekend with this raw vegan Dark Chocolate Sorbet from Practically Raw Desserts by Amber Shea Crawley. Naturally low in fat, sorbet is a frozen dessert made with water instead of milk or cream. This delectable chocolate sorbet – or sorbetto di cioccolato – is both rich and light at the same time. The inclusion of vodka is a “grandmother trick” to help the ice cream stay creamy in the freezer (since alcohol never freezes solid), but certainly leave it out if you’d prefer.
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup coconut nectar
- 1 cup cacao powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 medium, very ripe bananas, peeled
- 1 tablespoon vodka (optional)
- Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- If you don’t own an ice cream maker, pour the blended mixture into a glass bowl or container and place straight into the freezer. Come back to stir the mixture vigorously every 30 minutes or so for 2 to 3 hours, until it has frozen and taken on an ice-cream-like consistency.
I know this recipe calls for a lot of coconut nectar, so please feel free (as always) to sub in a less expensive liq- uid sweetener. You could also use 1/2 cup of coconut nectar plus 1/2 cup maple syrup or agave to help cut the cost!
- Coconut nectar: maple syrup, agave nectar, or any other liquid sweetener
- Cacao powder: unsweetened cocoa powder
- Lower-Sugar Chocolate Sorbet: Reduce the water to 1 1/2 cups and replace the coconut nectar with 1 1/2 cups Date Syrup (page 38).
- Chocolate Almond Sorbet: Blend in 1/2 teaspoon al- mond extract.
- Mocha Sorbet: Replace the water with brewed coffee, or blend in 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules or 1 teaspoon coffee extract.
- Mint Chocolate Sorbet: Reduce the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon and blend in 1 teaspoon peppermint extract.
From Practically Raw Desserts by Amber Shea Crawley. ©2013 Amber Shea Crawley. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press.