Set your churning bowl in the freezer the night before to chill. Soak your cashews the night before as well, or for at least 4-6 hours before blending.
OPTIONAL STEP: When ready to prepare ice cream, steep HALF of your fresh mint leaves in the coconut milk. Bring the coconut milk to a simmer in a small saucepan and add the mint leaves, then turn to low. Use a wooden spoon or muddler to puncture the mint so it infuses the coconut milk. Keep on low for 15 minutes, then kill heat and let cool. Once cooled, strain out the mint leaves using a fine mesh strainer and pour the coconut milk right into a blender. (If not doing this step, just add all of the fresh mint and coconut milk right into the blender. The flavor won't be AS strong, but it will still be delicious.)
Add remaining ingredients, including DRAINED cashews and remaining fresh mint (vanilla extract is optional) and blend until creamy and smooth - about 3-4 minutes, using the "liquify option" if you have it. Taste and adjust sweetness/minty-ness as needed.
Add mixture to your chilled ice cream maker bowl and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions until thoroughly chilled, about 45 minutes. It should resemble thick soft serve (see photo).
While churning, prepare your raw brownie by processing dates in the food processor until small bits remain - it will likely form into a ball. Remove and set aside.
Add nuts and process until small bits remain, then add back in dates and cocoa or cacao powder and process until well combined (see photo).
Transfer to a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper and use hands to form into a "brick" shape. Set in freezer to chill.
Once ice cream is done churning, break off chunks of your brownie and stir into the ice cream. I used about 3/4 of my brownie.
Transfer ice cream to a freezer-safe container, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until hard - at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Will keep in the freezer for up to one week, though best when fresh.
Before serving, let thaw on the counter for 10-15 minutes to soften.
*Adapted from my Vegan Chai Ice Cream. *Prep time does not include chilling/soaking. *I'm not going to candy-coat it. This is a rich dessert and you only need a little bit to feel satisfied. So no whining about the high calorie count, Rhonda. *Nutrition information is a rough estimate.