These cherry chocolate ice cream bars might be the easiest, most delicious dessert I make all summer. Fruity, rich, and creamy bites of frozen bliss, these bars are exactly what I want during Madrid's sweltering summer days.
The vegan ice cream is made by simply blending together cherries, coconut cream (either store-bought or from canned coconut milk), vanilla, lemon, and maple syrup. The mixture is then poured into a loaf pan to partially freeze before topping with melted chocolate, returning to the freezer, then slicing into bars. These bars remind me of Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream flavor and are a delicious, quick and simple treat as is.
But option #2 is for all you chunky ice cream lovers. If you prefer swirls, chocolate, nuts, brownie bites or cookie dough in your ice cream, then you'll want to make the cookie crumbs for the bottom layer. The crumbs are made by baking only the "crumble" of a fruit crumble, then scattering the crumble in the loaf pan before covering with the ice cream mixture and freezing.
I made the bars both ways, as shown in the photos, to test if the cookie crumbs really made a difference. I'm partial to them because I like chunky ice cream. They also give that wonderful buttery cookie flavor.
You can't go wrong with either option. The important thing is that you make these ice cream bars soon! If you do, leave a comment below telling me which option you choose! Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
P.S. To all my U.S. readers, Happy 4th tomorrow! If you're still looking for a dessert to bring to an outdoor BBQ, these ice cream bars would be fab!
Cherry Chocolate Vegan Ice Cream Bars
Makes 10 bars
Notes: Pro tip! Remember that flavors mellow once frozen. Make sure the filling is slightly sweeter and richer at room temperature than you'd like the end (frozen) product to be. The recipe calls for coconut cream. I used store-bought and have not tested the recipe using cream from canned coconut milk. It should work, but I can't guarantee results or exact measurements. See notes below recipe.
- 1 heaped cup (180 gr) pitted cherries
- 1 loose cup (150 gr) coconut cream, softened
- 2-3 tsp. lemon juice (1/2 - 3/4 of small lemon)
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 50 gr. dark (70%+) chocolate (I use a bar)
- 1 tsp. coconut oil
- 1/2 Cookie Crumbs, optional (recipe below)
- Make cookie crumb base, if using. Line a standard size loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper large enough to hang over sides.
- Make sure your coconut cream is soft. If it's hard and crumbly, break it up and pop into the microwave for 5-10 seconds to soften only. Don't melt!
- In the bowl of a large food processor, add pitted cherries, softened coconut cream, lemon, maple syrup, and vanilla. Blend until smooth. Depending on your cherries, you may have to adjust for sweetness and tartness.
- If using cookie crumbs, scatter them on the bottom of the parchment-lined loaf pan. Use as much or as little as you want. Pour filling evenly over crumbs. Place pan on a level surface in the freezer and freeze for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, break chocolate bar into small pieces and place in a small heat-proof bowl with coconut oil. Microwave, stirring every 10-15 seconds, until melted. (Alternatively, melt over low heat on the stovetop, stirring often to avoid burning.) Immediately pour melted chocolate over cherry ice cream. Spread to edges to cover the top evenly.
- Freeze another 1 1/2 hours. Remove from loaf pan and slice into 10 bars. Enjoy immediately! Store leftovers in freezer.
Coconut Cream: Here in Europe, I buy Rapunzel coconut cream online or at well-stocked health food stores. If you can't find coconut cream in the store, you can get it from chilled, canned coconut milk. Don't use the coconut milk that comes in a carton because the mixture is homogenous and won't separate once chilled. Chill two cans of coconut milk until very cold (~overnight or 6-8 hours). Don't shake cans before or after chilling. Open chilled cans and scoop out the thick cream that rises to the top, reserving the coconut water underneath for smoothies or cooking rice. See a photo tutorial for removing coconut cream here.
Notes: Adapted from Smitten Kitchen. Or use my pecan crumble recipe, adding a scant 1/4 tsp. baking powder, and following instructions below. You'll only need half of the crumble recipe for these ice cream bars. But I suggest making the full recipe because the crumbs store well and make a great topper for yogurt and fruit. Or even better, they'll be waiting for you when you run out of ice cream bars and want to make more!
- 1/2 cup (65 grams) raw pecans
- 1 cup + 2 Tbsp (155 grams) spelt flour
- 1/3 cup (40 grams) muscovado sugar (natural, unrefined can sugar)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 6 Tbsp. (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted (or coconut oil)
- 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 176 C/350F. Place nuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. While oven is preheating, bake nuts until toasted, 10 to 13 minutes, stirring half way through to ensure they brown evenly.
- Place pecans, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a food processor and blend you get a fine crumb. Add melted butter and vanilla and pulse until large crumbs form.
- Drop small and large crumbs back on the prepared baking sheet used to toast pecans. Bake for 8 minutes, then gently flip crumbs, and bake another 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool on rack, then transfer half (or as much as desired) to cover the bottom of lined loaf pan. Store remaining crumbs at room temperature in an airtight container for a week.