Activated Charcoal Ice Cream

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.

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

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
Cuisine: American
Keyword: activated charcoal, dairy, dessert, fall, Halloween, ice cream, sweets
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 |

Midnight Mai Tai

I mean, what better way to celebrate a Friday the 13th in October?

This Midnight Mai Tai features a spooky twist on the classic tiki drink with the addition of activated charcoal.

If you know me, you know I’m not the superstitious type, but when a Friday the 13th also happens to fall within the spookiest month of the year, I feel it’s only appropriate that we celebrate with a dark-as-night Midnight Mai Tai. You feel me?

But before we get to the recipe, I want to take a minute to send out thoughts and prayers to all my dear friends in Napa and Sonoma Counties who have been quite literally living in their own type of apocalypse this past week.

As you may know, I lived in Napa for three years before moving to Santa Barbara, and I can say with confidence that I made the best group of friends and had the strongest sense of community living there than any other city I’ve lived in in my life. It’s a small town with a big reputation, but everyone supports each other and lifts each other up.

While most of my friends are currently safe, I am sad to say that my dear friends from college lost their home in Santa Rosa. They’re estimating that their house burned down only 10 minutes after they were able to get out with what mattered most – themselves and their three little boys.

We also have a good friend who is a firefighter up there, taking on the daunting task of getting these fires under control, and we are praying for his safety and courage every day.

It’s a very sad time for many who I still call my closest friends, and I feel helpless being so far away and somewhat limited in what I can do, seeing as we could be welcoming our baby girl into the world any day now. Nevertheless, we’re finding ways to help, and if you’re interested in doing so as well, please feel free to reach out and I will steer you in the right direction.

A Midnight Mai Tai is the perfect spooky cocktail to kick off the weekend.

With all that being said, I’m sharing this Midnight Mai Tai recipe with the hopes of providing a small bit of fun distraction amongst a barrage of unsettling news. It’s also my hope that, by the time Halloween rolls around, my friends’ worlds will have returned (as much as possible) to normal and they’ll be ready to enjoy a festive cocktail or two.

Activated charcoal has become one of my new favorite ingredients, especially during the month of October when inky black foods are hip and on-trend, for quite some time now. In fact, last October I shared this recipe for a Total Eclipse cocktail, which is still one of my favorites today. I also have a fun dessert to share with you later this month that gets a Halloween-esque hue from the popular new superfood. How fun is that?

So this year for my annual activated charcoal cocktail, I decided to put a spooky spin on the classic Mai Tai. I love a good Mai Tai, and it is certainly my drink of choice whenever I’m in Hawaii or visiting another tropical locale. That being said, I didn’t want to mess with the classic recipe too much.

Midnight Mai Tais use activated charcoal to give them their inky black color, perfect for Halloween!

In this Midnight Mai Tai recipe, you’ll find the requisite rum, orange curacao, lime juice and orgeat, but then you’ll add just a smidge of activated charcoal (which you can easily find on Amazon) to give it that jet-black color that makes it so fun.

So no, this isn’t a complicated recipe, but right now I think it’s just what we need to kick off what will hopefully be a relaxing weekend. We’re hoping to hit up our local Harbor & Seafood Festival and maybe a pumpkin patch to get in the Halloween spirit before baby comes. We’re trying to get in as much quality time as possible before we’re a busy family of three!

Midnight Mai Tais are the perfect cocktail for Halloween!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend as well and, remember, if you’re looking for ways to help those affected by the fires up north in Wine Country, leave me a comment below!

Midnight Mai Tai
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins

This spooky take on the classic tiki drink uses activated charcoal to achieve a rich, inky black color. The perfect cocktail for Halloween!

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: activated charcoal, cocktails, drinks, entertaining, Halloween, Hawaiian, mai tai, rum
Servings: 1 cocktail
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
  • 2 ounces dark rum
  • 3/4 ounce orange curacao
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce orgeat
  • 1/4 teaspoon activated charcoal
  • Pineapple wedge and cocktail umbrella, to garnish
  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake to combine. 

  2. Strain ingredients into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. 

  3. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and cocktail umbrella and enjoy!

Midnight Mai Tai |

Slow Cooker Superfood Oatmeal

Delicious, hearty steel-cut oatmeal slow-cooked overnight with turmeric, maca powder, chia seeds and more. 

Slow Cooker Superfood Oatmeal | CaliGirl Cooking

I hope you’re ready for this big bowl of deliciousness. After kicking off this week with Shrimp Ceviche with Papaya, I decided to keep the healthy train going (we’ll see how long it lasts…Actually, I can tell you not long because I have too many delicious St. Patrick’s Day treats to share with you in the next week.) Well, we’ll keep it going for at least one more day, sound good?

Today we’re talking ooey, gooey, warm steel-cut slow cooker oatmeal loaded with delicious superfoods. Seriously, I can’t think of too many more good-for-you ingredients that I could have crammed into this tasty little concoction (okay, I did want to add some spirulina, but I knew that just would NOT be photogenic…at all…and this is a virtual business, after all.) So, what did I include? Let’s see here:

  • Cinnamon – speeds up metabolism and stabilizes blood sugar
  • Turmeric – fights inflammation and has high antioxidant value
  • Maca powder – balances hormones and provides energy
  • Coconut oil – improves cholesterol and lowers risk of heart disease
  • Coconut milk – see above; also builds muscle and helps lose fat
  • Chia seeds – great source of healthy fats and fiber
  • Honey – rich source of vitamins and minerals and boosts athletic performance
  • Strawberries – boost immunity and great source of fiber and potassium

Are we feeling SUPER good about ourselves yet? Okay, maybe I am because I’ve actually made (and devoured) it, but I have no doubt that you will too once you try this for yourself.

Slow Cooker Superfood Oatmeal | CaliGirl Cooking

The other great thing about this Slow Cooker Superfood Oatmeal? It’s made in the slow cooker. Overnight. Meaning that if you take just a couple of minutes to throw everything together the night before, your breakfast will be ready for you right when you wake up (that’s right, folks, this oatmeal is perfectly done after 7-8 hours on the low setting of your slow cooker, which, in case you didn’t know, is the recommended amount of sleep for most individuals.) So not only are we putting all of these delicious superfoods into our body, we’re also getting plenty of sleep! Clearly this is a win-win situation.

Slow Cooker Superfood Oatmeal | CaliGirl Cooking

So what do you say? Are you ready to give this Slow Cooker Superfood Oatmeal a shot? Once you have all of the ingredients on hand, it is really sooooo easy. And to help you obtain these sometimes considered “off-the-wall” ingredients, I’ve made it SUPER easy by including links to where you can find them below. Now you have no excuse. Go forth and conquer this amazing nutri-bomb of a dish!

Slow Cooker Superfood Oatmeal | CaliGirl Cooking


Slow Cooker Superfood Oatmeal
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
7 hrs
Total Time
7 hrs 5 mins

Delicious, hearty steel-cut oatmeal slow-cooked overnight with turmeric, maca powder, chia seeds and more.

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: breakfast, healthy, maca, oatmeal, slow cooker, superfoods, turmeric
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 389 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 cups coconut beverage
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Turn on low heat for 7-8 hours. If possible, stir once or twice during the cooking process to ensure that all of the ingredients meld together.

  2. When serving, garnish with more fresh fruit or nuts, if desired.

Slow Cooker Superfood Oatmeal | CaliGirl Cooking

Superfood city up in here!