Activated Charcoal Ice Cream

I promised I wouldn’t make you wait long until my next activated charcoal treat!

Activated Charcoal Ice Cream looks spooky but tastes like everyone's favorite flavor - vanilla!

And let me tell you, 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.

A bowl of Activated Charcoal Ice Cream has extra digestive benefits!

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.

A batch of Activated Charcoal Ice Cream is the perfect treat to whip up for Halloween!

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!

A hearty scoop of vanilla-flavored Activated Charcoal Ice Cream.

Tell me, do you have any favorite spooky treats you’ll be whipping up for Halloween? Let me know in the comments below!

This post contains affiliate links.

Activated Charcoal Ice Cream
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
30 mins

This creamy ice cream recipe has all of the flavor of classic vanilla but with a spooky gray-black color and the added health benefits of activated charcoal.

Course: Dessert
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
  • 2 tablespoons activated charcoal
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons whole milk, divided
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 4 ounces mascarpone
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the activated charcoal in a bowl with ½ cup of the milk and the heavy cream.

  2. In a separate small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons milk with the corn starch and whisk into a slurry.

  3. In another medium bowl (preferably one with a resealable lid), combine the mascarpone and salt. 

  4. Place the first milk mixture in a saucepan with sugar, corn syrup and vanilla. Bring to a boil and boil for 4 minutes.

  5. 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.)

  6. Pour saucepan mixture into bowl with mascarpone mixture and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate a couple of hours (or until cool.)

  7. 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. 

  8. Ice cream will keep for quite some time in the freezer, so feel free to make this recipe in advance!

Recipe Notes

You can buy activated charcoal on Amazon here(Affiliate link.)

Activated Charcoal Ice Cream |

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Your Monday meals just got a whole lot better…

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes |

If the fact that I made these Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes multiple times in the span of a week isn’t a clear indication of why you should plan on making these TONIGHT, I don’t know what is.

As you can imagine, the life of a food blogger is constantly filled with new recipe ideas to try and different flavor combinations to test out. This makes it a very rare occurrence that a certain meal appears on repeat in our house. I find we have an endless supply of leftovers sitting in the refrigerator, and once we finish one thing it’s immediately replaced by one or more new dishes that I’ve been fine-tuning and getting ready to be photograph-able in the very near future.

When the hubs and I sat down to eat my first go-around with these sweet potatoes (which actually included sweet Italian sausage crumbles instead of pancetta – also super tasty, might I add) we started reminiscing about how much we loved sweet potatoes, and how much better they were than good ol’ white potatoes.

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes |

Having both grown up with moms that were raised on the East Coast, we remarked about how, when we were little, there were always regular baked or mashed potatoes on the table, but never our sweet, creamy sweet potato friends. The horrors! I guess now we’re trying to make up for lost time by making these Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes on repeat. Life could certainly be worse.

But guys, seriously, I could make these Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes forever and ever and ever. They are soooo good. And also really darn healthy. Can I get an “Amen?”

The other great thing about these sweet potatoes is that they come together fairly quickly with just a little bit of planning. The longest part of the process will be baking the potatoes, but you could even do this on Sunday during meal prep for the week (the plain baked sweet potatoes will last in the refrigerator for a few days), or just turn on the oven and pop them in right when you get home from work.

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes |

Once you have your sweet potatoes baked, all that’s left is to whip up the white bean and pancetta filling and the sweet, garlicky bruschetta topping. For the beans, you have two options. I had batch-cooked some dried flageolets I had in the pantry a couple days before, so I simply reheated those in the same pan that I crisped up the pancetta in (hey, there’s nothing like a little leftover pancetta grease to really flavor up some plain ol’ white beans.) But, if you really want to make this a quick and easy meal and aren’t in to the dried bean soak and batch cook, simply use canned white beans.

If you do use the canned white beans, feel free to leave them as is, or add in some rosemary and garlic when you’re reheating them in the pancetta pan. This will leave you with an unbelievable flavor bomb when said white beans are combined with the bright and flavorful bruschetta topping on top of the creamy, roasted sweet potato.

The bruschetta is classic and comes together with just a few ingredients. It’s exactly what you would make for the classic Italian crostini topping: peak season tomatoes, sharp, raw minced garlic, fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil and dash of salt…and you’re set! No cooking required for this little step.

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes |

Once you have your sweet potato baked, your pancetta crisped, your white beans warmed and your bruschetta mixed, you’re ready to rock and roll. Slice open the sweet potato and mash it down just a tad to make an easy landing zone for the white beans and pancetta. Be generous here, no skimping on all of these mouthwatering flavors. Finish off your stuffed tater with a topping of tasty bruschetta, and you have a simple, light weeknight meal, perfect for any night of the week when a heavily-involved dinner just sounds like no fun at all.

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, you’re my weeknight hero <3

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes |

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: Makes 4 servings

A healthy, Italian-inspired stuffed sweet potato recipe with a fragrant white bean and pancetta mixture and zesty bruschetta topping.


  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • 4 ounces pancetta (or crumbled Italian sausage, or even tofu if you’re so inclined)
  • 1 – 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 ½ cups homemade white beans)
  • 4 cloves garlic, separated (2 peeled and smashed, 2 minced)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 cups diced tomato (about 2 medium tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper


  1. First, bake the sweet potatoes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Pierce each potato about four times with a fork and wrap individually in aluminum foil. Bake in 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to one hour, or until the potatoes feel soft to the touch. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. Add pancetta to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat on your stove. Cook until pancetta just starts to turn crispy.
  3. Add white beans, the two smashed garlic cloves, and the fresh rosemary. Cook until mixture is heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Finally, make the bruschetta. Combine the two minced garlic cloves, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  5. Now it’s time to assemble. Slice each sweet potato in half and smash down slightly to make a good “cradle” for the toppings. Top generously with white bean and pancetta mixture and then finish off with bruschetta. Serve immediately.


Wine Pairing Note: This light dinner would pair well with a number of wines because of the multitude of flavors. A creamy Chardonnay, an herbal Sauvignon Blanc, or a light Pinot Noir would all be fantastic options with this meal.

Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes |


Sweet potatoes on sweet potatoes…

If you liked this recipe, you might also enjoy:

Ahi Poke Salad with Macadamia Nuts

We made it through the gluttony of the weekend and I’m sure you’re as eager as I am to get your eating back on track and get more clean foods and vegetables into our systems. This Ahi Poke Salad with Macadamia Nuts is the perfect solution.

Ahi Poke Salad with Macadamia Nuts | CaliGirl Cooking

I’ve been a big fan of the Hawaiian delicacy known as poke ever since I learned that, hey, raw fish is actually delicious and I was surrounded by it at every grocery store I shopped at when I lived in Hawaii. When you’re living in a state that has temperatures over 80 degrees almost every day of the year, you learn (very quickly) to love healthy foods that require no cooking over any type of heat source.

Even though poke has been on hand as a convenience food in Hawaii for many years, it has only just started making its way onto the mainland. I say it’s about time! There are “poke bowl” shops popping up all over and it’s now just as common to find poke on the menu at your favorite seafood restaurant as it is to find ceviche (at least in California, anyway.) But have no fear! Even if the poke craze hasn’t landed in your city yet, you can jump ahead of the trend and make this super-easy, incredibly healthy recipe on your own.

Ahi Poke Salad with Macadamia Nuts | CaliGirl Cooking

Speaking of healthy dishes you can make on your own, I’m excited to announce that I’ve partnered with my friends Tobias and Christel at The Fit Blog to start bringing you quick, easy, healthy meals on a more regular basis on their site. Tobias and Christel are certified personal trainers with a passion for bringing the healthy lifestyle to everyone, no matter your age, size or activity level. I love their message because they are all about finding the balanced lifestyle that is right for YOU, without prescribing any strict, crazy diet regimens. Basically, they speak my language!

If you’ve been following me for any period of time now, you’ll know that I am all about that balanced living. I believe that everyone is different, but that you can be healthy and happy without having to cut a ton of food groups out of your diet/give something up completely (unless you’re deathly allergic, that is.) I believe that it’s all about moderation and that, if you focus on primarily eating whole, unprocessed foods, and getting in consistent physical activity, the rest of your health will fall into place.

From the moment I started talking with Tobias and Christel, I knew that we would be a great fit for each other. They, too, champion an extremely balanced lifestyle, and the fact that they don’t have a ton of specific criteria for what they would/wouldn’t like to see in the recipes I contribute (as long as they’re nicely balanced) won me over right away.

That being said, this Ahi Poke Salad with Macadamia Nuts is my first recipe contribution to The Fit Blog, and I’m so excited to share it with you today as well. It’s incredibly easy to make, comes together in under 30 minutes, requires no cooking and is also super healthy and chock full of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. It’s the perfect dish to fuel you up for (or help you recover from) a great workout. It’s filling yet won’t leave you feeling heavy. Plus, you can serve it in an avocado! How cute is that?

Ahi Poke Salad with Macadamia Nuts | CaliGirl Cooking

To get the deets on how to make my Ahi Poke Salad with Macadamia Nuts, click on over to The Fit Blog.

And if you make it, please be sure to tag @caligirlcooking so I can see your creations! Happy, healthy Wednesday everyone!

Ahi Poke Salad with Macadamia Nuts | CaliGirl Cooking

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Join Food Blogger Pro

(If you’re even remotely interested in blogging – food-related or “other” – that is.)

*This post contains affiliate links. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I’m sneaking in on a Sunday to tell you about a REALLY exciting opportunity that is RIGHT at your doorstep (er, at your fingertips?) at this very moment. It’s called Food Blogger Pro and, for just FOUR more days, you can get in on alllll of the action.

Food Blogger Pro Spring Enrollment 2016

But first, let me tell you a little story about how I came to be an esteemed Member of this rad, awesome, entertaining and inspiring community. For us food bloggers out there, there’s this little (er, not so little) mecca of a blog called Pinch of Yum, run by Lindsey Ostrom and her husband, Bjork. Pinch of Yum is basically an industry leader (aside from Smitten Kitchen, IMHO) in this fairly new food blogging world. Lindsey and Bjork have spent countless hours refining their brand and determining the best ways (and how) to monetize their food blog. It has become a wild success for them and, this is the good part, they’ve created the online forum that is Food Blogger Pro (or FBP as us natives have come to call it) to share what they’ve learned with all of us! How cool is that? Successful people helping other people become successful. That is so my jam!

So, instead of me rambling on and on about how great Food Blogger Pro is, I thought I’d narrow it down to a list of 5 (almost) concise bullet points as to why you should join this amazing community. Let’s have at it!

#1 You Find YOUR People

This is for sure #1 in my book and if you read any part of this post, please let it be this.

Let’s be real here. I’m the lone food blogger in my group of “real life” friends. I have a couple of friends that write travel blogs, but none are currently trying to make it their full-time gig like I am. As you can imagine, this leaves me feeling a bit isolated at times because they just don’t “get” it. How in the world can you make a living from writing a blog? Why are you saying no to Happy Hour or a beach day just so you can work on your blog? It’s nothing against them, but they’re just not in the same mindset as this crazy Type A, “I’ve gotta be successful with this” person (points to self.)

Once I joined Food Blogger Pro, I realized that I am sooooo not alone. I was suddenly surrounded by like-minded people, trying to do the same thing I am, or having already been successful and sharing their stories with others. Although virtual, I finally found that connection and sense of community I had been looking for. As my friends and I would say, I found myself surrounded by some really #awesomehumans.

Food Blogger Pro Spring Enrollment 2016

#2 Community Forums

TBH I was a little intimidated by Food Blogger Pro when I first joined. I kept asking myself, “Where do I start?” I found my way to the community forums (even before I started watching the tutorials) and immediately felt at home.  There were people asking questions that had been in the back of my mind since who-knows-when, there were others offering encouragement, and others seeking feedback. There were members asking for roundup contributions from other members, and members sharing business opportunities. This was a whole new world for me and I was totally digging it. Talk about being able to lose yourself in something for hours at a time…

#3  Video Tutorials

I’m just going to brush over the surface of these, because there are still sooooo many that I need to get to, but don’t let that undermine their importance. One of the greatest resources Bjork and Lindsey have provided through FBP is their video tutorials. You guys, there are videos on EVERYTHING you’ve ever wondered about as far as setting up your blog, optimizing it for SEO, selling products on your site, etc. The list goes on and on. And the best part is they keep adding more! Recommendations and questions are pulled from the community forums and turned into quick (we’re talking 5-10 minute) tutorials. I have learned so much from the few video tutorials I’ve already watched, I know I’ll be rocking-and-rolling as soon as I find the time to watch them all!

Food Blogger Pro Spring Enrollment 2016

#4 Live Online Events

Okay, so I can’t say that I’ve been able to attend one of these yet (that dang 9-5 job keeps getting in the way) but, about once a month or so, the Food Blogger Pro team (often including Bjork and/or Lindsey) will host a live Q&A to answer your most burning questions as they relate to the blogging world. As you can imagine, this is an incredible opportunity to learn from the best of the best and keep your feet headed in the right direction.

#5 Endless Tools & Resources

I’ve already mentioned a bunch of the tools available to members of Food Blogger Pro, but wait, there’s more! In addition to the community forums, video tutorials and live online events, there are countless other resources to help make your food blog (or any blog for that matter) a success. There are experts on staff to help with areas such as social media, security and SEO, there’s a Nutrition Label Tool that you can use for all of your recipes, and so much more!

Bottom line: If you’ve already started a blog but feel stuck and unsure of how to move forward or progress, you should join FBP. If you haven’t yet started a blog but have aspirations to do so, you should join FBP.  If you want to monetize your blog so you can quit your 9-5, you should join FBP.  If you’re a successful blogger and just want to connect with like-minded individuals, you should join FBP.  Have I given you enough reasons yet?

Food Blogger Pro Spring Enrollment 2016

The details:

  • As I mentioned above, enrollment for Food Blogger Pro is only open for a limited time! Open enrollment closes at 11:59 PM CST on Thursday, June 2. After this deadline you get stuck on a long waiting list with no idea of when you’ll be invited to join this group of #awesomehumans, so hurry up and do it now! Just click on this link or on the banner below.
  • The cost to be a member of Food Blogger Pro is $29/month or $279/year. And you can cancel at any time! There are no contracts and there is no sketchy fine print. I was hesitant to cough up the cash at first, but I am soooo happy I did! It has proven to be well worth every penny.
  • No, you don’t need to be an official, certifiable food blogger to join the party. About 10-15% of Food Blogger Pro members come from other walks of blogging life.
  • To sign up, simply click on the links or banners within this post. Each one will take you to where you need to be!

Food Blogger Pro Spring Enrollment 2016

That’s my Sunday spiel for ya, so hurry and go sign up so we can be friends! Now excuse me while I get back to my regularly scheduled Sunday programming of lounging on the couch with my man and multiple cups of coffee…