I wanted to title this Mexican Hot Chocolate Ice Cream, but that seems like an oxymoron. It tastes like a warm cup of Mexican Hot Cocoa, in a deliciously refreshing ice cream form. The subtle spice of cinnamon, chile, and cayenne peek through the full and deep chocolate flavor. The marshmallows are swirled in, as opposed to melted on top of a mug, and crunchy almonds throughout. I dub it Mexican Dairy-Free Rocky Road Ice Cream instead.
My family are huge ice cream lovers. That's why you can find a good handful of dairy-free ice cream recipes in my first book Against all Grain (Mint Chip, Chocolate Frozen Yogurt, and Vanilla Bean), as well as a few on my blog. Over the past year, I've slipped and taken to buying regular ice cream or frozen yogurt. Unfortunately, my gut has not been fond of that. I also forgot just how wonderful and easy homemade ice cream can be.
My favorite candy bar as a child was a Rocky Road bar so I naturally gravitated to making this a dairy-free rocky road ice cream. I remember going on special little outings with my mom and she would get one for us to share as a treat. I tired of coconut-tasting ice cream from the coconut milk, so I switched to cashew milk for this one. The cashew milk, in addition to the small amount of gelatin added to the mixture, makes this ice cream wonderfully creamy. Both of those ingredients, plus adding lots of air to the “batter” by the use of a blender, prevent it from getting icy in the freezer. It scoops like a dream, and doesn't require an ice cream maker! Just blend and freeze. So easy!
You can omit the mix-ins and just use the base to make a delicious chocolate ice cream, but I highly suggest using them to create that beloved rocky road taste. I like to add small marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, and chopped Spiced Candied Almonds. These mix-ins take the ice cream to another level with the added crunch and sweetness. Plus the almonds add a bit more spice to compliment the cinnamon and chocolate. I use a natural and gluten-free brand of marshmallows called Elyon for ease, but it contains sugar. You can easily make a batch of homemade honey marshmallows beforehand.
Thank you Stacey!
Yum! I want to make this today! I have some cashew milk already made. Approximately how much liquid would you say you used?
It’s tough to say as this specific recipe makes a really thick cashew milk while most standard homemade recipes are much thinner than what this recipe uses so I’m not too sure if a standard homemade cashew milk would work. That being said, it’s probably around 4 cups of thick liquid.
Can we use any other sweetener, rather than maple syrup ? If so, what sweetener ?
You could use honey!
I ran out of maple syrup and did half honey! … and only did 1 cup total of sweetener. Because I was off sugar for 9 months and wanna take it easy!
Can you use cashew milk from the store instead of making your own?
I wouldn’t suggest it in this recipe as the cashew milk that’s made is extremely thick, unlike store bought brands. So it wouldn’t turn out the same in this recipe!
I’m nursing my one week old and have had to eliminate all dairy and gluten out of my diet to help with tummy issues, but I’ve been craving ice cream since it’s officially summer in Texas and sweltering hot. I’m going to buy the ingredients to make this tomorrow!!!! Thanks again for sharing your recipes 🙂 I have three of your cookbooks, but I must have overlooked this recipe by mistake.
Enjoy, mama! This recipe isn’t in any of my books, only on the blog 🙂
is the gelatin necessary?
What brand marshmallows did you use?
Elyon Mini Marshmallows!
Is there any nutritional information? We have a Type 1 diabetic in the family and have to know carbohydrates per serving to calculate insulin doses.
Unfortunately, not! You could enter in the recipe on an online nutritional calculator though.
I am in the market for an ice cream maker. I know you use a Kitchen Aid ice cream maker for your mixer and I read some reviews that there were problems with the blue liquid leaking, cracks, and the blue ice inside not freezing after only a couple of years. Have you run into any of these problems?
I personally haven’t run into those problems! This specific ice cream recipe does not require an ice cream maker though.
Kirsten Coate Bibeau
Yum! Can’t wait to try this. Tomorrow is the day ?
Yay! I hope you love it.
Can not have cashews could I substitute for another nut instead?
I wouldn’t suggest it in this recipe!
OOOOH MY! This came out UN-believable!! EXACTLY Like real ice cream. Even my picky husband said the texture was perfect. This is a MUST make!! I really think you could use this as a base for other flavors…mint extract instead of the spices for chocolate mint maybe? It was super easy to make. Thanks Danielle!!!
No problem Robin! I’m so glad you guys liked it 🙂
Hi Veronica- No worries at all! Thanks for reaching out to clarify. When I say “the water” I am referring to the water that is listed in the ingredients “1 1/2 cups water, divided”. I do not list an amount of water that you soak the cashews in. Just soak the cashews and drain that water. Hopefully that makes sense!
LOL. I totally used the water that I soaked the cashews in. Whoops. #conservewater?
What type of loaf pan do you use, glass or metal? How do you store in the freezer with some type of cover/lid? How long can it be stored? thx!
Hi Carole- I used a metal loaf pan. I just place plastic wrap on the ice cream as a “cover”. And it’s best stored for no more than 1 month!
I only have glass….would this work you think? Maybe it will take longer to freeze…?
This looks delicious!! I want to try it and see if my dairy loving husband notices a difference 😉
I hope you guys love it!
I second Danielle B! This recipe is so great but it other flavors with a similar process and texture would be awesome!
Thanks Alyssa! Yep, it’s a great base that you can play around with 🙂
Once I put the marshmallows in I just stirred it so that they’d be more incorporated. Hopefully that helps!
You could try using agar agar powder or a sea vegetable gelatin!
It definitely won’t be as creamy and will not yield the same results but you could try it.
I made this last night and just enjoyed a bowl to myself and WOW! This is so delicious! I can’t wait to feed it to my dairy loving family! It’s more like a gelato than an ice cream. I left out the nuts because I don’t like nuts in my ice cream and neither does my boyfriend, so we call it “smooth road” ice cream, ha!
Question: what size loaf pan do you recommend for this?
Haha smooth road! That’s awesome. I’m so glad you liked it! Any size will work (the size will just lessen or increase the freezing time). I just used a standard sized loaf pan though.
Hi Annie- I usually make homemade marshmallows. You can find my recipe for that in Celebrations. https://amzn.to/1SKbNRb
Nicole LeGard Lenderking
HI! I can’t wait to make this recipe! Do you have to use the Dutch cocoa, or can it be another cocoa?
In this recipe, the dutch processed cocoa powder helps achieve a deep chocolate color and flavor.
Danielle, I was wondering if you were able to not use the cashew pieces with the water and gelatin? I do not like nuts of any sort so would you replace it with something else or could I just not add it?
How do you feel about blending bananas into it as sweetener instead of PMS or honey?
Hi Jessitea, I think the bananas may affect the consistency of the ice cream. Blending dates into it would be a good option though! If you try either please let us know how it turns out!
I gotta ask….what’s the point of the lemon juice since you aren’t using berries? really curious…. 🙂