I know. It’s still technically winter you guys. But in the Northwest it’s practically spring! There are literally trees blooming outside our window. I could faint from excitement.
Plus, you know how I feel about dessert. Thus the reason we must ice cream.
Yes, ice cream is now a verb. Get on board.
If you’re ever in the area, you must try their coconut caramel ice cream with chocolate candy chunks. It’s what vegan ice cream dreams are made of.
The best part about this recipe? It requires only 7 ingredients and it’s naturally sweetened!
I opted to forgo the chocolate candy bar pieces because I’m a purist (or lazy). But in my opinion, it’s so close to the original that if blindfolded I may not be able to tell the difference between their version and mine. I think this is love.
I was half tempted to try a sugar-based vegan caramel sauce, but I realized my sea salt date caramel was a very good thing. Date caramel is entirely natural, quick, easy, and requires just 2 ingredients. TWO.
Add bourbon at your own discretion. But c’mon, a little won’t hurt.
This ice cream is delicious like WHOA. It’s:
I have another recipe coming soon that utilizes this ice cream to recreate one of my favorite desserts of all time. Any guesses? I gave you guys a sneak peek on Instagram a couple weeks ago and can’t wait to share! Sit tight to see what I came up with. It’s gonna blow your dessert-loving mind.
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked for 4-6 hours in cool water, or 1 hour in very hot water, then drained)
- 1 15-ounce can full fat coconut milk (sub light with less creamy results)
- 3 Tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup or agave nectar (sub up to half with cane sugar)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- pinch sea salt
- 14 dates pitted (if dry, soak in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1-3 Tbsp warm water (optional - for thinning)
- OPTIONAL: 1 Tbsp bourbon
- The night before, place your ice cream churning bowl in the freezer to properly chill. Also, make sure you soak your cashews overnight OR the next day for at least 6 hours. Be sure to drain before adding to blender.
- Add soaked, drained cashews, coconut milk, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt to a high speed blender and blend until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Use the “liquify” setting if you have it. You want it to be completely creamy and blended.
- TIP: For best texture, chill mixture for at least 4-6 hours or preferably overnight. If you're in a rush, pop it in the freezer for 1-2 hours before adding to ice cream maker. Otherwise, proceed without chilling - it will just take longer to churn and may require extra chilling (see next step).
- Add chilled mixture to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions - about 45 minutes. It should look like soft serve. If it wasn't chill enough, it may not firm up during the churning process. In that case, pop it back in the freezer (still in the churning bowl) and freeze until mostly firm. Then, churn once more.
- In the meantime, prepare caramel by adding dates to a food processor or blender and blending until creamy and smooth, adding warm water to encourage it along if it needs extra help. Season with sea salt (and bourbon if desired) and blend once more to combine. Taste and adjust flavor as needed. Set aside.
- Once churned, transfer the ice cream to a large freezer-safe container and spoon in desired amount of caramel (I used it all, but you can reserve it for other uses) and use a spoon or knife to swirl. Add a pinch more salt for even more salty-sweet contrast if desired.
- Smooth top and cover well. Freeze for at least 4-6 hours or until firm.
- Set out for 10-15 minutes before serving to soften. Will keep for up to 1 week, though best when fresh.
*Prep time does not include soaking, chilling and freezing.