I’ve been curious about all of the black charcoal ice cream photos I’ve been seeing on social media. After realizing it is the same ingredient that I use to whiten my teeth – activated charcoal, I decided to give it a try. And what better time but for Halloween! Then, I thought adding some orange would be fun – enter tiger tail flavour. Not to worry if black licorice is not your thing, I have also included an option for a plain, black vanilla ice cream. Activated charcoal will take on whatever flavour you want it to, so feel free to give it any flavour you desire.
I usually don’t like to have a lot of copy in my recipe posts, because, I personally, find it a touch annoying when all I want to do is access the recipe; but there are a few things you should know, before we begin. It might be obvious to some (I hope) but I have to say it, you can’t use charcoal from your BBQ or fireplace or anywhere else. It has to be ‘activated charcoal’ powder or capsules. You can find it in any health food store (I just saw it in the bulk barn, today).
It is extremely messy and it stains. So, be careful where it falls in your kitchen and wipe it up right away. (And, of course, if you have any health conditions or questions it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor.) See my blog on activated charcoal for more details and health benefits.
Rest assured, it is completely safe to eat. The kids and I ate 2-3 scoops of ice cream, each (I’m lying… I had a good 5 scoops).
Ok, the ice cream…
A few words on the orange ice cream. This can be done in a few ways. I had heard that curcumin – a naturally occurring chemical compound that is found in turmeric – gives a beautiful orange colour. I thought, perfect, I’ll be making anti-inflammatory, cancer fighting ice cream! I was also inspired by Meghan Telpner using soaked goji berries to achieve the orange colour. So, I thought I’d do a test. I blended a bit of each into some milk (after soaking the goji berries for a good 10 min) to see their colours.
You can see in this photo, that the goji berries (right), showed a deeper orange when soaked and puréed than the curcumin at left. So, I decided to give the goji berries a try. Though, I didn’t think about what would happen when I mixed it with maple syrup (my favourite sweetener to use for ice cream). The amber colour dulled the bright orange. So, I then added 2 capsules of the curcumin, which solved the problem. It was bright again. So, here are a few options for your orange flavour:
• since the orange amount is small, you could leave the maple syrup out of the orange, adding it into the black ice cream (it’s all going to the same place anyway) • use honey instead of maple syrup for the orange ice cream • make an orange sorbet
• use the maple syrup with both goji berries and curcumin, as I did when I first experimented
The other important step to note, is combining the two colours. I added the orange to the black, as you can see in this video. A lot of the orange eventually disappeared. I did not wait until the orange was fully frozen. Be sure to add the orange when frozen – no liquid, and at the end just long enough to combine (think about if you added orange silly putty with black silly putty – the black would eventually take over if mixed too long).
Also, my kids asked for more orange next time. I went heavy on the black because of Halloween. Just alter the amounts accordingly if you want more or less of each colour. For example, if you want it half and half use 1 3/4 cups of coconut milk for each flavour, with 1/4 cup of sweetener; adjust essential oils and natural food colouring agents accordingly.
• 2 tbsp maple syrup (if you don’t have curcumin on hand you might want to use honey)
Make the orange ice cream earlier in the day if you can. It’s super quick and easy to prepare. Pour all orange flavour ingredients in a blender and mix. Pour the orange into an air tight container and place in the freezer for at least 3 hours, until frozen.
Place all black flavour ingredients in a blender (or use hand mixer) and mix. Pour into ice cream maker (at least 3 hours after making the orange, or test to be sure it’s frozen if your freezer is faster).
Follow the specifications for your ice cream maker model. For mine (Cuisinart from Costco), the ice cream takes approx 20 minutes (for soft serve). A few minutes before it’s finished, start adding spoonfuls of the orange, dropping them into the ice cream maker as the black churns. Allow just enough time so that the two flavours combine. You don’t want the black to cover up a lot of the orange.