I took the base of my ice cream maker out of the freezer because it was taking up too much real estate only to put it right back in. I love ice cream but don't make it that often. I'm really not very good at it and a pint of something is always on sale at the market to completely validate not going through the hassle. I wish I were the person whose affection for ice cream sprang up in the warm summer months but I don't discriminate based on weather. I love it, always. But now that our nearly two-year-old sees and wants every treat we reach for, I thought it was appropriate to try this coconut and cashew based recipe sweetened exclusively with maple. I've also gotten better at stashing cookies out of sight. I've made fully coconut milk-based ice creams before but adding the cashew cream was a really nice touch; breaking up the coconut milk flavor while still being super creamy. The thing is, sure it tastes different, but it is creamy and sweet with crunchy bits and a scoop with a sprinkle of granola on top is just the thing.
MAPLE PECAN CRUNCH ICE CREAM // Makes one pint
Recipe barely adapted from Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet by Christine Chitnis
As it goes with dairy free ice cream, the result is a little more icy than the real stuff. After it's completely frozen, let it sit for 10 minutes before scooping.
Note that the cashew cream requires starting a step the evening prior.
3/4 cup real maple syrup, divided
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pecan pieces
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup full fat coconut milk, divided
1 Tbsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch
1 cup cashew cream*
seeds of half a vanilla bean, optional
2 ounces dark chocolate, well chopped
In a cast iron pan over medium heat, warm 1/4 cup of the maple syrup and vanilla until thin. Add the pecans, sea salt and cinnamon and stir to coat. Transfer to parchment to cool completely.
Mix the arrowroot or cornstarch in a large bowl with 2 Tbsp. of the coconut milk to dissolve. Once dissolved, stir in the remaining coconut milk, remaining 1/2 cup maple syrup, cashew cream and vanilla beans if using. Put the mixture in the fridge to chill for a couple hours.
Churn the ice cream according to your machines instructions. In the last couple minutes, add in the mapled pecans and chocolate. Freeze for a couple hours to get a firmer, scoopable state.
* To make cashew cream, soak 1 cup cashew nuts, covered, overnight in cold water. The next day, drain and rinse well. Blend the nuts in a high powered blender for a couple minutes with a fresh cup of cold water until completely smooth. You can adjust the amount of water for how thick you want it, for an ice cream base, you need it pretty thick.