Cherries are such a special and glorious fruit, don’t you think? They are sweet, yet tart, small, yet juicy and robust, and – they go marvelously with chocolate! Honestly, it’s a flavor combo I feel should be celebrated just as much as peanut butter and chocolate. The two ingredients compliment each other just as splendidly, (in my humble opinion, anyway!)
So it’s no surprise that the moment I saw fresh. ripe cherries in the grocery store this season, I knew a Cherry Chocolate Chunk Vegan Ice Cream recipe was in my future. After a couple of tries, this recipe was born in the Dunham kitchen, and we’re all officially hooked! This ice cream is super thick and creamy with lots of chunks of chocolate and deep red cherries. In fact, even the dairy lovers who stop by have raved about it, too! You should try it….
Here’s how to make it:
1. First, place your cashews in a bowl and cover them with about 2 1/2 cups of water. Allow them to soak for at least 6 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
Note: if you use the type of ice cream maker that requires a frozen base in order to make the ice cream, place that base in your freezer now!
2. Drain and then rinse your cashews thoroughly in cold water. Then, place them in a high speed blender for now.
3. Add the entire can of coconut milk, maple syrup, sugar, vanilla and salt to the blender also, and then blend on high until the mixture is very smooth.
5. Next, pour this ice cream base into your ice cream maker and start the churning process! My ice cream maker usually takes about 20-25 minutes to create thick and creamy ice cream, but others may take longer or shorter amounts of time.
6. In the meantime, prepare your cherries and chocolate! This would probably be a good time to share a kitchen gadget that I feel is totally worth the money and space that it takes up in my drawer (and I’m very picky when it comes to what items get to stay and take up kitchen space!) It’s a cherry pitting tool that pits six cherries at once!
Simply place the cherries in their spots and press down on the lid to push out the pits in each one.
Granted, you will want to check each cherry afterwards to make sure the pit made it’s way out, but I’d say I have success about 91% of the time!
If you’re interested, you can find one of these handy contraptions HERE.
Afterwards, place those cherries in a pile and give them a good chop. Then, chop your chocolate, too. I aim for slightly larger than pea-sized pieces of cherries and about double that size for the chocolate. You’ll naturally end up with some smaller chocolate pieces and shavings too, which is perfect.
7. When your ice cream becomes very thick and slightly harder to churn, add your cherries and chocolate and allow those two to churn with the ice cream for a few minutes until incorporated.
8. Finally, spoon your cherry jam into the ice cream maker. I usually only allow the jam to churn with the ice cream for about 10 seconds because I like the swirly look it creates when it isn’t fully mixed in. But if you want a nice, evenly pink colored ice cream, allow the ice cream maker to go a little longer.
BTW – since we’re talking kitchen tools, THIS is the ice cream maker I use and I love it. I’ve had it for years; it’s super easy to use and clean!
9. At this point, the ice cream is more in “soft serve” form, so for more traditional ice cream, spoon this dreamy mixture into a storage container and smooth over the surface. I like to add a little more chopped chocolate and/or cherries to the surface if I have left overs in order to make it look even more enticing! Then, I secure the lid and it’s off to the freezer.
After a few hours of freezing, your ice cream will be nice and firm and ready for enjoyment.
Mmmm… this ice cream is so good!
This is definitely one of my new favorite warm weather recipes, and I hope you love it as much as we do.
Cherry Chocolate Chunk Vegan Ice Cream
Makes about 8 big scoops
- 1 cup of Unroasted, Unsalted Cashews (see instruction #1 above)
- One 13.5 oz. can of Full Fat Coconut Milk, usually found in the baking aisle
- 1/3 cup Maple Syrup
- 3 Tb. Granulated Sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 tsp. Salt
- 18 Whole Fresh or Frozen Cherries
- 1/2 cup (85 grams) Chopped Dark Chocolate Bar of choice (I like the type with sea salt and almonds added, such as THIS one or THIS one)
- 1/2 cup Cherry Jam or Preserves* (I like THIS brand)
*If you can’t find cherry jam, raspberry or mixed berry jams work well, too! The brighter the red the better.