This creamy ice cream recipe has all of the flavor of classic vanilla but with a spooky gray-black color & the added health benefits of activated charcoal.
This Activated Charcoal Ice Cream is one for the books. I mean, who doesn’t want to enjoy some spooky gray ice cream with added health benefits this Halloween?
Sure, I could have gone the Instagram-friendly route and make you some trendy Black Sesame Ice Cream, but I felt like mixing things up a bit and I knew my new obsession with activated charcoal would be just the thing to give this ice cream the little eerie touch I was looking for.
After a few fails and successes, I think I’ve finally nailed down a favorite base recipe for any sort of ice cream. I made this Fresh Mint Dark Chocolate Chip Ice Cream over a year ago and it turned out so creamy and delicious that I never want to try any other base recipe ever again. One of my favorite things about it is that it gets super creamy without requiring any sort of egg custard, so you don’t have to worry about cooking it a certain amount or the danger of undercooked eggs (for us preggo peeps at least.)
So, when I decided to make an Activated Charcoal Ice Cream, I knew exactly which recipe I wanted to riff off of to make this extra-special Halloween treat.
The key to the creaminess in this ice cream is a healthy dose of mascarpone along with some light corn syrup to really bind everything together. You still have to heat the base up over the stove for a bit but, trust me, the stress level is way down from not having to worry about incorporating raw eggs.
It’s an easy recipe, but one that does take some time to both cool down in the refrigerator and set up in the freezer, hence why I’m showing you how to make Activated Charcoal Ice Cream now rather than waiting until a day before Halloween. This way you can easily whip up a batch this weekend or early next week, pop it in your freezer, and pull it out when the time is right (which, honestly, may or may not be before you even make it to Halloween.)
As far as taste goes, if you’re familiar with activated charcoal, you’ll know it really doesn’t have much flavor. For that reason, I made sure to load this ice cream up with a healthy dose of vanilla, so you’re really eating a vanilla ice cream with that fun gray-black color. Obviously, even the pickiest of kids are going to love this fun take, and get an added dose of digestive benefits to boot!
Tell me, do you have any favorite spooky treats you’ll be whipping up for Halloween? Let me know in the comments below!
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Activated Charcoal Ice Cream
- 2 tablespoons activated charcoal
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons whole milk, divided
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 ounces mascarpone
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- In a medium bowl, whisk the activated charcoal in a bowl with ½ cup of the milk and the heavy cream.
- In a separate small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons milk with the corn starch and whisk into a slurry.
- In another medium bowl (preferably one with a resealable lid), combine the mascarpone and salt.
- Place the first milk mixture in a saucepan with sugar, corn syrup and vanilla. Bring to a boil and boil for 4 minutes.
- Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the corn starch slurry. Return mixture to heat and bring to a boil once again, stirring continuously for 1 minute (or until the mixture begins to thicken and coat the back of your spoon.)
- Pour saucepan mixture into bowl with mascarpone mixture and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate a couple of hours (or until cool.)
- Once mixture is cold, add to an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer to a resealable container and freeze to finish.
- Ice cream will keep for quite some time in the freezer, so feel free to make this recipe in advance!