A healthy cherry ice cream rippled with fresh cherries and chocolate chips. Make with or without an ice cream maker, and know you are eating a nutritious treat high in protein, dairy-free and vegan.
Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream
It's cherry season and it's ice cream season, two of the best times of year for me.
I have been branching out with my ice creams lately. I've been trying to add flavors and ingredients that are not typically associated with ice cream.
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For instance, I used cauliflower as the base in this Cauliflower Ice Cream. And I used blueberries as the primary ingredient in Blueberry Ice Cream. And I used leafy greens in Leafy Green Mint Ice Cream.
So this flavor today of cherries during cherry season is pretty tame. But delicious.
The Ingredients in Cherry Ice Cream
I made this recipe flexible, so you can choose from two different bases.
Cashews: The ice cream base in this recipe is primarily with soaked cashews. You want to soak them to increase the creaminess of the ice cream, as well as make them more digestible. Nuts have enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid; soaking removes the enzyme inhibitors and breaks down the phytic acid.
Coconut Cream: This ice cream base is wonderfully easy, just open a chilled can and scoop out the cream. Plus coconut meat is super healthy. MCTs support brain health, other aspects support weight loss, bring down cholesterol, balance blood sugar, fights inflammation and more. [source]
Cherries: And I used fresh cherries. I have also included a cherry compote recipe if you want a cherry swirl. The ultimate flavor of the compote is fruity and a bit tart because of lemon juice.
Milk: I used a dairy-free milk. I happened to use coconut milk when I use cashews as the base, and I use cashew milk when I use coconut cream as the base. Any milk will do.
Maple Syrup: You need this to sweeten the ice cream and bind it.
Chocolate Chips or Chunks: Try to use a 70% chocolate or higher to offset the sweetness of the ice cream.
This recipe works in an ice cream maker or as a no-churn as well creating a soft serve texture.
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Okay back to the recipe!
How Healthy Are Cherries?
Regarding this ice cream's overall nutrition, the cashews and coconuts bring protein, fiber and a slew of other nutrition. But the star of the show are the cherries! Cherries are considered among the healthiest of fruits.
Primarily, they are full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. They also slow aging, and ward off illness. They promote sleep and lower cholesterol. And they reduce workout soreness by supporting muscle recovery. Pretty cool nutrition for an ice cream.
How To Make Cherry Ice Cream
1. It's very easy! To start, the night before set your raw cashews submerged in water in the refrigerator. Or chill three cans of full fat coconut milk.
2. The next day, rinse the cashews and toss them in the blender.
Or open the coconut milk cans and scoop out only the coconut cream (solid part). Each can will give you about ½ cup of solid cream.
3. Put either the cashews or coconut cream in the blender along with maple syrup and blend. Set it in the refrigerator to chill while you roast the cherries.
4. Pit and cut the cherries and roast at 300 F for 15 minutes. Allow to cool and then fold them and chocolate chips or chunks into the chilled ice cream mixture.
5. Either run this mixture through an ice cream maker or chill in a loaf pan and freeze for a less creamy soft serve texture. This recipe makes about three cups of mixture, or about six servings.
Tip to Keep Ice Cream From Becoming Icy
Cherries are full of water so the best way to use them in ice cream is to roast them first to draw out the water. Using fresh fruit in ice cream will lead to ice crystals and we don't want a water, icy texture. I roast mine at 300 F for 15 minutes but don't burn them so if your oven is hot, roast a shorter time.
How to Store Cherry Ice Cream
Keep ice cream frozen for about two weeks.
Q&A for Cherry Ice Cream
Is there a cherry flavor ice cream?
Yes! Cherry ice cream is the third most requested ice cream flavor in the United States. My recipe is has no artificial flavors, just fresh cherries.
What type of cherries are in ice cream?
Fresh cherries, pitted and chopped, are best for cherry ice cream that is healthier and not processed. Stay away from chemically-processed jarred cherries, such as maraschino or even cherries in syrups.
What is cherry ice cream made of?
Traditional cherry ice cream is made with milk, cream, sugar and cherries. My healthier recipes is made of cashews, maple syrup, and fresh cherries. Or substitute the cashews for coconut cream.
Try My Other Healthy Ice Cream Recipes
Want more healthy homemade ice cream recipes? Try these..
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Healthy Cherry Ice Cream
For Ice Cream Base
- 2 cups cashews, soak overnight and rinse or use 2 cups of cashews, soaked overnight
- 1 cup dairy-free milk
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- pinch of salt
For Roasted Cherry Compote
- 1 cup fresh pitted dark cherries
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ½ cup chocolate chips, mini
- If using an ice cream maker, make sure the bowl for your ice cream maker has been in your freezer for 24 hours.
- If using cashews, soak the cashews overnight as well. Rinse and place in a blender. Blend until the cashews become creamy - you are making cashew butter - about 5 minutes.
- If using coconut cream as the base, chill overnight 3 cans of full fat coconut milk
- Pit and slice cherries, sprinkle with lemon juice and roast for 15 minutes at 300 F. Watch them though, if they look like they are roasted remove them, they burn easily. Chill.
Make Ice Cream
- If using blended cashews, add those rinsed to a blender, and the milk and maple syrup and blend until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
- If using coconut cream, open cans and scoop out cream (save milk for smoothies), and add that to a blender as well as the milk and maple syrup and blend until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in the roasted cherries and chocolate chips or chunks.
- If using an ice cream maker, chill the mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and churn for about 20 minutes, although follow the directions for your particular machine.
- If creating a no churn soft serve, pour the ice cream in a parchment-lined loaf pan or an ice cream container. Freeze until scoopable texture; eat right away for a soft serve.
- Keep ice cream covered and frozen for about two weeks.