Friday, August 10, 2012

Dark Cherry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

Yummy note: It's almost nearing the end of the summer, and I finally got around to stirring up some homemade ice cream for the kids. It is not just any ordinary ice cream, as this particular ice cream is dairy-free! My oldest child would eat ice cream morning, noon, and night if I let her. Sadly, my youngest child never really gets ice cream due to a milk allergy, so I immediately wanted to fix that. He's had fruit sorbets in the past, but it just isn't the same cool creamy yumminess that you get from ice cream. So immediately, I went to my go-to website for dairy-free recipe ideas from Silk. They have some great tips here for cooking and baking with soy milk, so I knew this recipe from Silk was my starting point. I ended up adding in some dark cherries and some dairy-free chocolate pieces to make an amazing combination. The cherry flavor wasn't too overwhelming, but if you are looking for a strong cherry flavored ice cream, you might want to add in a few tablespoons of cherry juice/extract to bump up the flavor. Or perhaps if you are making this for an adult treat, I bet a nice cherry liqueur would be a wonderful addition to this delicious frozen treat.

Dark Cherry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

3/4 cup of soy milk (I used Silk Vanilla)
2 cups of soy creamer (I used Silk Original Creamer)
1 1/2 cups of pitted dark cherries
1/2 cup of agave or sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 tablespoons of arrowroot (or cornstarch)
1/2 cup of dairy-free chocolate chunks
Optional: 1/4 cup of cherry preserves or few tablespoons of cherry liqueur  
*Note: You want to yield about 4 cups total of ice cream mix to put into your ice cream maker.

Pit cherries and cut them into pieces. Place 1/2 cup of vanilla soy milk, a split vanilla bean, creamer, agave, and cherries into a saucepan. (Note: To prepare a split vanilla bean, cut the vanilla bean open and scrape seeds into the saucepan and toss the empty pod into the pan as well to infuse the flavor more.) Heat the mixture on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to simmer. Stir and remove from the heat. Mix 2 tablespoons of arrowroot into the remaining cold creamer and then whisk into the warm mixture. Cover the pan and let the mixture sit for about 15-20 minutes.

Remove the vanilla bean. This next step is optional- if you want, puree the cherry mixture in a blender to chop up the cherries a bit. Do it to your preference; my kids like the smaller pieces, so I went fairly small, perhaps if you want large chunks of cherries you could just omit this step. Next, chill the mixture completely. This is very important or else the ice cream will not set up properly in your ice cream maker. Process the mix according to your ice cream maker's directions.

While the ice cream is churning, chop up about 1/2 cup of dairy-free chocolate chunks to toss into the ice cream mix. Towards the end of the ice cream processing time, add in your chocolate. You could also add in a flavorful cherry preserve or jam at the end to make ripple ribbons of fruit throughout the ice cream. Enjoy the soft set ice cream immediately, or freeze the ice cream for a few more hours in an air tight container until ready to serve. Makes about one quart of ice cream.

Serve with some fresh fruit!
Garnish with a dairy-free chocolate syrup! 

Want another fun ice cream idea? Use this recipe from Silk, but substitute the Soy Original flavor with the Silk Chocolate flavor! Treat yourself to a frozen chocolaty treat.

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