Saturday, September 10, 2016

Curtis Stone's Hot Choclate and Ice Cream Floats--Made Dairy-Free and Delicious

Yeah, it's kind of been one of those weeks--long and tough--even with the Labor Day holiday. So honestly, I have been eating soup and random leftovers and not messing with cooking beyond that. Maybe not the best week for I Heart Cooking Clubs theme to be Finishing Touches--all about making dishes special with garnishes, sauces, and other "extras" to make a dish special as I am not in the mood to fuss. 

I had Curtis Stone's Hot Chocolate and Ice Cream Floats from his website tagged to make for a while now, as I wanted to try a dairy-free, vegan version. Since I had leftover vegan chocolate ice cream from earlier in the week, I put a can of coconut milk in the fridge over night for whipped cream and figured it would be a quick, easy and comforting treat and with the finishing touches of ice cream, whipped creme and shaved chocolate.

Well, my mood certainly transferred to my cooking mojo, as this is not the prettiest Curtis Stone recipe I have made--through no fault of Curtis, of course. I had my first coconut whipped cream failure. I am blaming the brand of coconut milk (not my normal brand) since it was slightly grainy and strange, and the moment I opened the can and carefully scrapped off the top 'set' layer, I looked at it and just knew it wasn't going to fluff up. But, looks (my ice cream melted pretty fast) and non-set whipped creme, aside, this is a delicious hot & cold beverage--like a non-coffee affogato, that tastes as decadent as a full dairy version but is completely dairy free. My vegan adaptations to Curtis's recipe are in red below.

Hot Chocolate and Ice Cream Floats 
Adapted from Curtis
(Serves 4)

1 1/3 cups whole milk (I used coconut milk)
1/3 cup amaretto or other almond-flavored liqueur (I used Kahlúa Hazelnut which is vegan-friendly)
2 tablespoons sugar (I used 1/2 Tbsp agave)
4 ounces dark chocolate (bittersweet or semisweet), chopped (I used Lindt Excellence Dark 70% which is dairy-free)
3/4 cup heavy cream (I used whipped coconut cream)
1 pint vanilla Swiss almond ice cream (I used this vegan chocolate ice cream)
(I added shaved dark chocolate to garnish)

To prepare: Place coconut milk (I prefer Whole Foods 365 brand or Thai Kitchen Brands) in the fridge overnight to chill.

To make whipped coconut creme: Place a mixing bowl and hand mixer beaters into the freezer to chill for 15-20 minutes before preparing Carefully take your can of chilled coconut milk out of the refrigerator--keeping it level and still. Skim the solidified coconut cream from the chilled coconut milk and transfer the solids to the bowl of the stand mixture. Do not include any of the coconut water, even if you have to leave behind a little margin of coconut cream (even a little bit of coconut water can harm your results). Beat for 1 to 2 minutes until fluffy.

In a medium heavy saucepan, combine the coconut milk, Kahlúa and agave and bring to a near simmer over medium heat. Add the chopped chocolate and whisk into the milk mixture until smooth and melted. Keep hot chocolate warm.

To Serve: Place one scoop of ice cream in each of four bowls. Pour the hot chocolate mixture over the ice cream and top with the whipped cream. Garnish with shaved dark chocolate if desired. Serve immediately with spoons.

Notes/Results: So beyond the coconut whipped cream not getting fluffy, the rest of this recipe was a successful experiment. When you buy coconut milk for the purpose of using it for whipped cream, you want it to be full-fat and have the least amount of preservatives as possible. The full-fat one I had in my cupboard (Natural Value Organic)  seemed like it would be perfect because it had no additives but maybe I had a bad or old can--I can't make out the date on the bottom. I have had good luck with the two brands I mentioned above in the recipe, so I likely won't try this one again. The vegan ice cream I made was chocolate and because the taste of the whipped cream was OK, the graininess went away, and it was just creamy rather than whipped and fluffy--I went ahead and used it for the visual contrast against the hot chocolate and chocolate ice cream. Because coconut milk is already sweet, I reduced the sweetener down to 1/2 Tbsp agave and used no sweetener in the whipped cream. This is a rich and indulgent dessert that is fun to eat and straddles the change of summer to fall nicely. I would definitely make it again. 

I am linking this dish up over at I Heart Cooking Clubs for Finishing Touches. You can see what everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post. 


  1. Cream floats remind me of childhood. Chocolate with floats, I like it!

  2. Oh boy. Sounds like you had a week much like mine:( I had little to cooking mojo and we had Panera for dinner twice! What I will say is that anytime you combine chocolate and whipped cream it always looks pretty and I have a feeling that the taste put on a smile on your face:) Chocolate always looks delicious!

  3. I have to try this creamy yummy float that does not make you feel weighted down with fat.

  4. As they say, anything with chocolate will definitely boost or lift your spirits. I'm glad these chocolate floats turn out really good. Now you make me want to try it too.

  5. This would be perfect for anytime of the day! We are experiencing 34 degrees C on most days, so this would be welcome indeed!


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