Almond Joy ice cream makes an unforgettable edible gift

The toasty, coconutty, almondlicious chocolate-enhanced confection of your ice cream fever dreams.

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Dish of ice cream against black background
Photo: Veganbaking.net/Wikimedia Commons

I Melt With You is a new ice cream column from The Takeout. I’ll be here all summer with new ice cream recipes, unique ingredients, equipment recommendations, and ways to make your home ice cream experience as easy and fun as possible. I am always up for a challenge, so feel free to send flavor requests to hello@thetakeout.com. If you want to see some of the flavors I have been developing for you, feel free to pop over to my IG @stacey.ballis and scroll back for some serious ice cream content.


Of all my ice cream experimentations, this flavor is the one that has been the most universally beloved, the recipe requested by all who have tasted it. I liken it to an Almond Joy because it features all the best parts of a rich coconut ice cream, enhanced with chewy toasted coconut, crunchy toasted sliced almonds, and flakes of dark chocolate.

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I originally made this for my mom as a Mother’s Day present. She took one sample bite, then quickly hid the quart in the freezer all for herself! If you make one batch of ice cream this summer, this should be it. Major props to Rose Levy Berenbaum and her book Rose’s Ice Cream Bliss, which initially gave me two great ideas to adapt and riff on: infusing the milk with coconut, and using cream of coconut in the mixture as a flavor booster. Get ready to spread the (almond) joy.


Almond Joy Division

Makes about 1 ½ quarts

  • 1 ½ cups (360 g) whole milk
  • 1 ¼ cups (100 g) unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 3 Tbsp. (20 g) milk powder
  • 2/3 cup (100 g) white chocolate chopped
  • ½ can (245 g) cream of coconut (Coco Lopez or other sweetened cream of coconut designed for cocktails, not coconut milk or coconut cream designed for cooking)
  • 1 ½ cups (350 g) heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. (40 g) coconut syrup or honey
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 g) vodka (Note: this helps keep the ice cream from freezing too hard. If you prefer to not include any alcohol, you will want to let the frozen ice cream sit out an extra 5-10 minutes before scooping for optimal texture.)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract or paste
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

For the chocolate flakes:

  • 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. instant espresso powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • pinch fine sea salt

Mix-ins:

  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut and 1/2 cup sliced almonds toasted in 350-degree oven until golden brown (about 10 min) and cooled
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Heat milk with milk powder to simmer, stirring constantly, then add unsweetened flaked coconut. Simmer 3-4 minutes, then let cool to room temp in pot, and steep minimum of 2 hours at room temp or up to overnight in fridge. (Steeping longer enhances the coconut flavor and is what I prefer, whereas less time steeping will imbue a more subtle coconut flavor.) Strain well, squeezing as much liquid out as possible, you should have 240 g. If you are short that amount, add more whole milk to come to that level. (See note on coconut flakes below.)

Heat the cream with the white chocolate 2 min in the microwave to melt chocolate, and blend till smooth. Add the rest of the base ingredients and blend with immersion blender till perfectly smooth. Once the mixture is well blended, taste to be sure you like the balance, if it doesn’t feel sweet enough to you, or a flavor is not coming thru well, add more of what you need. It should be intensely flavored because flavors mute on freezing. When it is right, pour into a sealed container and chill to cure the flavor, 6-24 hours. Should be very chilled before churning.

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Before churning the ice cream, make the chocolate: Melt dark chocolate, coconut oil, cocoa powder, espresso powder, vanilla, and salt together in microwave or on stovetop. Allow to cool slightly, but keep it liquid. I put it in a squeeze bottle, and remelt in the microwave if needed.

Remove ice cream base from fridge and churn according to machine directions to soft-serve texture. Fold in the mix-ins, and then drizzle the cooled chocolate mixture in while the machine is running to make chocolate flakes. Transfer to containers and freeze for minimum 8 hours or overnight for best texture.

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Note: After steeping them, I spread out the spent coconut on a sheet pan and dehydrate in a 200-degree oven for a couple of hours, and then stash in the freezer and use in granolas or cookies, or as a topping for crisps. It won’t have coconut’s usual flavor punch, but its milder flavor and good texture are worth saving for your future kitchen experiments.