What's not to love about fragrant, sweet, tangy cherries paired with rich chocolate? This ice cream is a must have for all those Cherry Garcia fans out there! This homemade version of the iconic ice cream flavor its much healthier and doesn't contain any nasty ingredients.

Raw Cherry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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Ingredients

For the Raw Chocolate Chunks:

  • 1/2 cup cacao butter
  • 2 heaped tablespoons raw cacao powder (add more if you like it more bitter)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

For the Ice Cream Base:

  • 2/3 cup cashews (soaked for minimum 6 hours and rinsed)
  • 3 Medjool dates (soaked for 10 minutes in hot water, or 4 hours in cold water)
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod
  • 3 tablespoons brown rice syrup or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut butter, melted

For the Cherry Sauce:

  • 1 cup frozen sour cherries (fresh if you can get your hands on them)
  • 1/2 teaspoon agar agar powder
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice syrup or maple syrup
  • Some extra cherries for garnish
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Preparation

To Make the Raw Chocolate Chunks:

  1.  Place the cacao butter into a bowl and melt it by sitting it on top of a saucepan with some simmering water.
  2. Remove form the heat and stir in the cacao powder and maple syrup. Stir well.
  3. Line a baking tray with cling film or parchment paper and pour the chocolate out on it, spreading evenly.
  4. Place into the freezer for about 20 minutes to set.
  5. Once the chocolate is hard, remove it from the freezer, and cut in into chunks.

To Make the Ice Cream Base:

  1. Add the cashews, dates, lemon juice, coconut milk, vanilla, and brown rice syrup to a high speed food processor. Blend for 3-5 minutes or until the mixture is completely smooth and silky. Taste and add more brown rice syrup if you want it to taste sweeter. 
  2. Add the melted coconut butter to the mixture and blend for another 30 seconds to incorporate it into the mixture. Pour into a large bowl and set aside.

To Make the Cherry Sauce:

  1. Add the cherries and their juice to a bowl. Place them on top of a pan of simmering water.
  2. Add the agar agar powder and stir the mixture for about 5 minutes until it thickens slightly.

To Assemble the Ice Cream:

  1. Add the cherry sauce and 3/4 of the raw chocolate chunks to the bowl with the ice cream mixture.
  2. Carefully fold the mixture while ensuring not to over mix.
  3. Pour the mixture into a loaf tin lined with parchment paper.
  4. Garnish the top of the ice cream using the remaining chocolate and some whole cherries.
  5. Cover the ice cream with plastic wrap or tin foil and freeze for a minimum of 6 hours.
  6. Remove the ice cream from the freezer about 15 minutes before serving and dip your ice cream scoop into hot water before scooping.
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