Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Tartufo

raw vegan chocolate ice cream with hazelnuts, dairy-free, refined sugar-free

The other week when this classic raw chocolate tartufo recipe happened it seemed destined to be repeated in other flavors. I mean, who stops at just one ice cream flavor when they stumble upon a simple recipe, right? The chocolate ice cream base was a clear invitation for hazelnuts... (along with some other fun things I'll share with you another time!) For now let's talk chocolate, hazelnuts, and ice cream... oh yes, and a hint of espresso (couldn't resist).

hazelnut chocolate tartufo dessert, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, vegan

Just so we're all on the same page here, a tartufo is a type of Italian dessert -- an ice cream ball (or more like a dome), that's often chocolatey, sometimes a bit fruity, and always delicious. When I made this simple version of it, I couldn't believe how easy it was to adapt the classic into something  involving no dairy, refined sugar, or churning ice cream.

For this hazelnutty version, I tried it out several ways. Many people loved the former cashew-based recipe, but there are always requests for a cashew-free version. Well, this recipe isn't exactly it, but it's very close -- you could make it with all hazelnuts and no cashews if you prefer.

I tried an all hazelnut version and quite liked it. The caveat was that it needed to be more frozen to be enjoyed. When it thawed out a bit too much it started tasting slightly gritty. So long as it was more frozen it was all good. In contrast, the recipe version below has mostly hazelnuts and a bit of cashews, which offsets the grittiness very nicely since cashews add a nice layer of creaminess instead. So up to you -- if you're cashew-sensitive, feel free to go full hazelnut here instead.

a vegan hazelnut spin on a classic chocolate tartufo recipe, remade without dairy

One other quick note is that I used some instant espresso powder for a deeper, stronger flavor. You could omit it, but then adjust the sweetener to your liking -- chances are you'll need to use a bit less without the bitterness of the espresso in there.

a classic tartufo remade without milk or sugar (veganized)

Last but not least, I made these in this silicone mold that's perfect for classic tartufo. But you can get away with using silicone cupcake liners for the same concept -- I've seen lots of remakes of the original recipe using those and nobody complained so far ;). But of course, the classic tartufo shapes makes a pretty, unique presentation too if you're in the mood for fancy.

Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Tartufo -- a dairy-free, refined sugar-free recipe

Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Tartufo

  • Author: Audrey @ Unconventional Baker
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 large servings
  • Category: Ice Cream
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: Dessert


Rich vegan ice cream recipe for classic tartufo Italian dessert. Notes of hazelnut and espresso blend perfectly in raw ice cream balls. Cashew-free option.


Ice Cream:

  • cup hazelnuts, pre-soaked and strained*
  • 3 tbsp raw cashews, pre-soaked and strained
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp melted cacao butter
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder (I recommend using alkalized**)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder (optional, if not using, feel free to reduce amount of sweetener a touch)
  • ¼ tsp salt


  • additional cocoa powder and espresso powder for dusting.


  1. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before starting***. Blend all ice cream ingredients in a high power blender until completely smooth.
  2. Set the silicone pan (I used this one; see notes above recipe for alternatives) on a small flat tray or cutting board. Divide the chocolate mixture evenly between three of the mold cavities.
  3. Place the pan into the freezer for 5-6 hours or overnight to set. When ready to serve / eat, remove from mold and plate, dust with some cocoa powder and with a bit of espresso powder if using. Let the tartufo thaw out for 5 minutes and enjoy!


*To pre-soak nuts: place in a glass bowl, cover with water, and leave to soak for 4 hours (or overnight in the fridge). Then strain and discard the water.

For a quick pre-soak, cover with boiled water and soak for 15 mins, then strain and discard water. (Note: this technique doesn't preserve the nutrition of the recipe as well as the traditional soaking technique above).

Note: the purpose of soaking the nuts is to re-hydrate them and plump them up for blending into a smooth, cheesecake-like consistency. Proper soaking techniques also maximize nutrition and digestibility. If you're interested in learning more about nut soaking and other dessert prep tips and tricks, I delve into these subjects in detail in my book Unconventional Treats.

**note: I recommend going with alkalized cocoa powder over raw cacao powder for raw cakes, as sometimes raw cacao powder can react with other ingredients and spoil the cake.

***If you have cold items, they'll make the mixture firm up too quickly in the blender / if your items are extremely hot, like the cocoa butter, they'll cook the sugar in the blender and make the mixture clump up. Room temp or very slightly warm is idea.

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