Black Forest Ice Cream, vegan

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Chocolate ice cream fans, beware—this might give your favourite ice cream a run for its money.

Yes, this dairy-free and processed sugar-free ice cream can absolutely pass for the real thing. You won’t believe it until you try it yourself!

I have been tinkering with a vegan ice cream recipe for a couple of months, and after a few failed attempts, I finally settled on a formula that I am l proud to share. 

What I have found, is that using organic coconut cream from a can made all the difference to the final outcome, and, as with all our recipes, only whole food plant-based ingredients were used.

As far as sweetener goes, I decided to stick with pure maple syrup. I contemplated using agave syrup, but to be honest most of the brands available in the stores are highly processed and contain way too much fructose. Therefore I concluded that pure Canadian maple syrup is a healthier alternative. 

If you’re still on the fence about vegan ice creams, may I suggest this Black Forest sensation as the first flavour you try? It’s rich and luxurious and the perfect treat for any chocolate lover! 


vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free
Servings: 500 ml
Author: Active Vegetarian


  • 400 ml pure organic coconut cream no added guar gum
  • 125 g 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 50 g 80% dark chocolate broken into bite-size pieces (we used giddy yo chaga)
  • 25 g 1/3 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder optional
  • pinch of Celtic sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp agar agar
  • ½ to 1 cup frozen or fresh pitted cherries coarsely chopped


  • Freeze ice cream maker bowl in the freezer for 24 hours if possible (or overnight if you are short on time) prior to ice cream making.
  • Place coconut milk, maple syrup, chocolate, cacao powder, cardamon and salt into a pot and bring to a simmer. Whisk the mixture continuously until chocolate pieces are dissolved and all ingredients are combined-about 5 minutes.
  • Next using a whisk, mix in agar powder and allow to simmer for one more minute. Remove the pot from the heat, and let it cool for 5 minutes.
  • Place the ingredients in a blender. Purée on high and pour into a large glass jar.
  • Transfer mixture to the refrigerator to chill completely.
  • Once chilled, add the mixture to an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's directions for churning. When the churning process is a couple of minutes from being complete, add ½ to 1 cup coarsely chopped cherries.
  • You can have perfect ice cream after about 30 minutes in the Cuisinart ice cream maker. Transfer leftover ice cream to a glass jar or other freezer-safe container and keep it in the freezer for a couple of weeks.
Vegan Black Forest Ice Cream

Note about Ingredients and Equipment:

Here’s the scoop… if you want to make vegan ice cream, you need to understand that certain ingredients are needed/required to help you create a successful and enjoyable batch of ice cream. Below, I am listing a few of the most common ingredients and equipment that I use as the base for all my other ice cream creations.


Use high-quality whole coconut cream (not light) coconut milk—we like the Earth’s Choice brand since it doesn’t contain emulsifiers. Thai and other Asian stores often carry good coconut cream. Please note that light coconut milk cannot be substituted without detrimental effects to the final texture. That fat is necessary for a smooth, creamy mouthfeel, and of course a richer taste.


There is simply no substitute for real, 100 percent Canadian maple syrup. The flavour is like nothing else out there, and you won’t get that with any other substitute out there. Look for grade-B maple syrup, it has a strong maple flavour, darker colour and a large variety of minerals and vitamins. Just remember maple syrup is still sugar, sugar is a treat, and it goes without saying that too much sugar is not good for you. 


Known also as agar agar or kanten, agar is a gelatinous substance made out of seaweed. It is a perfect substitute for traditional gelatin, which is extracted from the collagen of animals’ connective tissues and obviously not vegan or ethically sane. Agar comes in both powdered and flaked form. I prefer to use the powder agar because it is easier to incorporate smoothly into the mixture, faster to thicken, and measures gram for gram like standard gelatin. Agar can be found in Asian markets and some health food stores. 


There are several options on the market. Ice and rock salt machines require hand-cranking (an excellent workout but probably not the most ideal choice as the amount of labour that goes into making ice cream this way is no joke! One of the most basic, affordable, and popular models is the simple freezer bowl design, which is what I use in my kitchen. Just as the name suggests, it has a separate insulated bowl that must sit in the freezer for a minimum of twenty-four hours before each batch. It’s essentially a giant ice pack, shaped like a bowl, which rotates around a stationary but removable paddle. The only downfall is that you must plan your ice cream one day in advance; a partially frozen bowl will not produce the kind of ice cream texture you dream of and instead make you wanna give up on the process altogether. The big upside, however, is that these machines are quite affordable- $50–$200 and I believe that it will suffice for just about everyone, from newbie ice cream creators to those with intermediate experience.

Dedicated to your health & wellbeing,

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