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.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate. *Prep time does not include soaking, chilling, and freezing.