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 Stone.com
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.