Put the coconut milk and dates in a blender and purée until smooth.
Add the almond, cashew or hemp milk; then add the cocoa powder or raw cacao powder; vanilla extract; and thickener (if using). See below for thickener variations. Purée until smooth.
Freeze for about an hour or refrigerate until cold.
Pour into the ice cream machine and churn per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Eat right away or freeze until hard for pretty scoops.
This recipe makes 1 to 1 1/2 quarts. When a recipe lists a thickener, you can choose from these two: 1. Guar Gum: Add 1/2 teaspoon guar gum to the blender with the other ingredients and purée. Each batch of ice cream contains about six servings, which is less than 1/8 teaspoon of guar gum per serving. I prefer guar gum to xanthan gum for two reasons: First, I prefer that guar gum comes from guar or “cluster beans,” while xanthan gum comes from bacteria. And second, I prefer to use guar gum because xanthan gum bothers a lot of people, partly due to the fact that it’s usually grown on corn. 2. Unflavored gelatin: The second option for thickener is gelatin. It’s dairy-free but not vegetarian. Gelatin was the first thickener I used in my ice creams, and it’s still the one I prefer because of its gut-healing properties. Slowly stir 1 tablespoon gelatin into ¼ cup boiling water until it’s completely dissolved. Pour the mixture into the blender last, just before you purée the ice cream mixture.
This recipe is excerpted with permission from <a href="http://amzn.to/1wrEGAX">"Dairy-Free Ice Cream: 75 Recipes Made Without Eggs, Gluten, Soy, or Refined Sugar"</a> by Kelly V. Brozyna and published by Victory Belt Publishing.