The sprinkler runs as we try to salvage our patchy lawn. First time homeowners. Seizing the opportunity, she puts on her swimsuit. I’m glad I skipped buying that $7.99 kiddie pool at Target. It would have been a better mold-grower and debris-collector anyways. She runs a miles worth up and down the driveway, dripping wet, under the canopy of droplets that touch the rays of sun before landing on her. Then the tears show up. I look for blood from the inevitable stubbed toe. Nothing.
Another case of forgotten dinnertime by the dinner maker—me. We quickly throw an embarrassing assortment of food on her plate and call it dinner. There’s homemade ice cream in the freezer for dessert. Of course I didn’t forget that. I’m forever a delinquent dinner maker. I’ll use summer as my excuse for now.
Because we did it once, we have to do it the same way every time. We scoop cones of the blackest black ice cream and grab a blanket before heading out to the front porch. She jumps into my lap. We wrap ourselves up. It’s 86°. My left heal deliberately lifts up and down from the ground—a slow rock fit for ice cream licking. Though ice cream licking is always her second move. Why she insists on biting the very bottom of the cone first will always baffle me.
What also left me baffled was the first time trying a scoop of Black from Milkjam, a new-ish ice cream shop in Minneapolis. It was unreal. Deep, deep black in color. Rich, chocolatey, and smooth in flavor with an almost untraceable taste of coconut. And naturally vegan. Instantly, it became my favorite scoop in all of Minneapolis. I had to figure out how to make it at home.
I’m not one to recommend adding extra ingredients to your pantry. I’m a pantry minimalist. But this recipe requires a couple new ones. I’m certain they wont go to waste. An order from Amazon plus a stop at Trader Joe’s and Target will do the trick, unless your local grocery store is extra awesome. I recommend using only the best ingredients for optimal flavor. Oh, Ladycakes swears by Califia Farms Almond Milk (Target), so that’s what we used. I ordered Black Cocoa from King Arthur Flour (Amazon), because they can do no wrong and because they actually sell a black cocoa. Who knew that was a thing? Coconut Cream from Trader Joe’s because I’ve never bought anything different. And finally, that Lyle’s Golden Syrup (Amazon and some stores) for texture. It mimics the structure of corn syrup with a flavor worth consuming.
Scoopable straight out of the freezer, this ice cream will make you anything but a delinquent this summer. According to Hal, it’s best served on the front porch, in a rocker, wrapped a blanket, no matter the temperature.
- In a medium sauce pan, whisk together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt until evenly combined. Slowly pour in almond milk while whisking to combine. Add in coconut cream and golden syrup.
- Turn heat to medium, and continue whisking to evenly incorporate. Bring mixture to a simmer and allow to simmer for about 3 minutes longer to thicken, continually stirring. Remove from heat and pour mixture into a high-powered blender. Blend on high, counting to 30 Mississippi. Remove lid and stir to release heat. Press plastic wrap to the top of the surface and place in fridge to cool completely, preferably overnight or all day.
- Once mixture is cold throughout (not a trace of warmth), pour into prepared ice cream maker and follow manufacturers instructions. Churn until the mixture resembles soft-serve ice cream, about 25 minutes. Quickly pour ice cream into a plastic or metal container. (Glass always gives me trouble.) Spread out evenly. Press plastic wrap into the surface, cover with lid, and place in freezer until frozen solid, overnight or all day.
- Once frozen, ice cream is scoopable straight out of the freezer.