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Yesterday was National Milk Chocolate Day. But since I’m still following BeachBody detox and a primarily vegan-based diet I swapped the “milk” for “almond milk.”

Beyond sorbet and fresh fruits, I haven’t had dessert in more than six weeks. (I also haven’t had a cocktail, but I’ll get to that in a later post…) I wanted to make a frozen treat for the family, but I wanted to enjoy it too. Armed with tofu, chocolate chips and almond milk I set out to make a non-dairy ice cream. To keep it vegan, substitute chocolate chips with a vegan version.

I wanted to make a caramel-based sauce but in keeping with the dairy-free theme I found another challenge. How to make it without heavy cream or butter? Almond milk and Smart Balance light buttery spread. And a recent post on Devo Olive Oil’s blog, courtesy of Juanita’s Cocina, gave me an added flavor inspiration, espresso balsamic, not only for the caramel, but for the ice cream too.

What I ended up with was an extremely creamy and tasty frozen treat with a luscious sauce. Hubby liked the ice cream maker bowl and was eager to have a bowl. He called our daughter to the kitchen to try it. She said, “Yum! But don’t tell me what’s in it or I won’t eat it.” So, I wouldn’t tell the family what was in it.

Keep your mind opened and try it.

Chocolate Espresso Dairy-Free Ice Cream

{to make it vegan: swap regular chocolate chips with a vegan version. I used Ghirardelli chips and I’m not 100% positive that they’re vegan}

chocolate espresso non-dairy ice creamIngredients:

  • 1 16 oz pkg firm lite silken tofu
  • 1 c almond, coconut or soy milk
  • 2 tbs Devo Olive Oil’s Aged Espresso Balsamic
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c Stevia
  • 1/4 c natural cane sugar
  • 2/3 c semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/2 c toasted hazelnuts, chopped

If desired, garnish with Espresso et Caramel au Beurre Sale (Salted Espresso Caramel Sauce). See below.

Directions:

  • Place the tofu, milk, balsamic, vanilla and sugars in bowl.
  • Using immersion blender, puree until smooth (or use blender or processor).
  • Pour in melted chocolate and continue to puree until well mixed.
  • Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  • Pour chilled mixture into ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions, about 20 minutes.
  • During last 5 minutes of freezing, add hazelnuts.*
  • Transfer to freezer container and place in freezer for a few hours.

*I love texture in my ice cream, but my family doesn’t like chopped nuts in theirs. Instead of adding it to the ice cream, I ground the nuts and sprinkled it on top of ice cream. My first melting of chips was a fail, but to recover I added the re-hardened chocolate bits instead of chopped hazelnuts.

Espresso et Caramel au Beurre Sale {Salted Espresso Caramel Sauce}

{vegan/dairy-free}

Based on my Caramel au Beurre Sale and inspired by Juanita’s Cocina’s Espresso Caramel Sauce. Since I’m continuing a BeachBody detox I needed to experiment with dairy-free options.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Combine the sugar, water and buttery spread in heavy saucepan.
  • Cook over low heat, 5-10 minutes, until sugar dissolves. Do not stir.
  • Increase heat to medium and boil uncovered until sugar turns into a warm chestnut color; about 5-7 minutes.
  • Gently swirl the pan to stir; watch mixture carefully – it will burn quickly.
  • When it reaches a deep amber color, remove from heat.
  • Stir in balsamic, almond milk and salt.
  • Simmer over low heat; stir constantly, until sauce is thickened, about 20 minutes.
  • If consistency is too thick, add a little more almond milk, 1 tsp at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Store in refrigerator.
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