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Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

It’s cherry season and for a few brief weeks those gorgeous dark red orbs can be had for a reasonable price.  I’ve been buying them in great quantities and mostly just snacking on them a bowlful at a time.  To me, they taste better than any candy ever did.

For the most part, Jon has been content to let this wonderful fresh fruit satisfy his sweet tooth, but the other day he was asking if I might make a dessert with some of the cherries that filled my kitchen.  Since it was like a zillion degrees outside, I didn’t want to bake anything, so I thought a nice batch of homemade vegan ice cream might do the trick.  Trouble was, I didn’t have my ice cream maker in the freezer so it would take until the next day before ice cream could be a reality.  That’s when I remembered that I had some bananas in the freezer.

I sometimes make a quick soft-serve ice cream in the food processor just by whizzing up some frozen bananas.  This time, I decided to use the bananas as a base to which I’d add some fresh cherries and, because I love the combination of chocolate and cherries, I knew I’d be tossing some chocolate chips in there as well.  A couple tablespoons of almond butter brought the flavors together and added richness.

The first time I made it, I just tossed everything in the food processor without measuring.  We ate it “soft serve” right out of the food processor! After tasting how good it was, I knew I’d need to share the recipe with you so today I made the supreme sacrifice of making another batch — and this time, I measured everything.  Here is the result:


Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

With just a few ingredients and no ice cream maker you can whip up a delicious homemade vegan ice cream in minutes.  Just be sure to keep cut-up bananas on hand in the freezer.  Recipe by Robin Robertson.

2 ripe bananas, peeled, cut into small chunks, and frozen

1/2 cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips

2 tablespoons almond butter

1 1/4 cups ripe pitted cherries

In a food processor combine the bananas, chocolate chips, almond butter, and 1 cup of the cherries.  Pulse to break up and then process until well mixed.  Add the remaining cherries and pulse to combine, leaving some bits of cherry intact.

Scrape the mixture into a container. Cover tightly and place in the freezer.  If you like soft-serve ice cream, it could be eaten right away or within an hour, depending on how soft you like it.  For a firmer ice cream, keep in the freezer for 4 hours or longer. If it freezes longer than 4 hours, it may harden too much, in which case it should be removed from the freezer for a few minutes before serving so it can temper and become slightly softened.

Serves 4




{ 24 comments… add one }

  • bookwormbethie July 25, 2012, 8:13 pm

    OMG, sigh, I’m in love, “ice cream” without needing an ice cream maker. I have a peanut and treenut allergy, so do you have any suggestions as to what I can substitute for the 2 TBS of almond butter??

    • Robin July 26, 2012, 8:36 am

      Bethie, The almond butter just makes the ice cream a little richer, so you could probably make it without it and it would still be good, just a little less rich. Otherwise, you could use soy “nut” butter or sunflower seed butter (sometimes used by people allergic to nuts) or coconut butter, unless you’re also allergic to that. I suggest trying it without any nut butter alternative first and see if you like it that way. Let me know!

  • Karen July 26, 2012, 9:05 am

    What a trooper you are, making a second batch for the sake of a recipe! X D

    • Robin July 26, 2012, 9:29 am

      Thanks, Karen. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it! 😉

  • Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy July 26, 2012, 12:15 pm

    oh my gosh that sounds SO SO delicious!

    • Robin July 26, 2012, 12:51 pm

      It really is, Caralyn. And so easy, too!

  • Chris July 26, 2012, 3:54 pm

    Who needs to wait? I just eat it straight up as soon as it’s blended – I think there are some cherries in in the fridge…

    • Robin July 26, 2012, 4:57 pm

      Chris, I admit that we ate the first batch right out of the food processor, as soon as it was done blending. I love it “soft serve” but wanted to provide the option to firm it up, too.

  • Florence July 26, 2012, 4:17 pm

    Dear Robin, could the chocolate chips be replaced by cacao nibs ?
    Or would that be too bitter ?

    • Robin July 26, 2012, 4:59 pm

      Florence, If you use really ripe bananas (which will be sweeter) and very sweet ripe cherries, and if you don’t mind the inherently unsweet flavor of cacao nibs, then I’d say go for it! I’d probably add less, though, maybe just 1/4 cup…

  • ricetteveg.com July 27, 2012, 5:32 am

    wow *____*

  • Jojo July 28, 2012, 7:19 am

    Wow! I wish I could find reasonably priced cherries here, do you think that this would work with frozen cherries if I defrosted them & squeezed out the excess water?

    • Robin July 28, 2012, 12:33 pm

      Jojo, It would probably work ok with frozen cherries (or another type of fresh or frozen fruit). The main caveat, I think, is that this ice cream gets its sweetness from the ripe bananas and cherries –without added sugar — so just be sure whatever kind of fruit you use, it has enough sweetness. Other than that, the only other thing you’ll be missing if you use frozen cherries is that bright flavor that comes from fresh fruit.

      • bookwormbethie July 28, 2012, 4:41 pm

        and speaking of ripe bananas, how ripe to my bananas have to be? i picked up cherries and bananas at the grocery store but my bananas don’t have any brown freckles on them yet 🙁 do they need to be “over-ripe” with really darkened peels — like what most people do for banana bread so you get all that extra sweet — or just have a good enough smattered of freckles?

        also just curious, will freezing the unpeeled bananas cause them to darken/change color ?

        • Robin July 28, 2012, 5:52 pm

          Bethie, The bananans should be very ripe because they will be more sweet. The reason that’s important is because there is no sugar in the recipe and the sweetness from the fruit must be enough to give it a good flavor. They don’t have to be super-ripe or overripe, necessarily, although those would work fine too.

          The bananas should be peeled first, then sliced and placed in a ziploc freezer bag or other container until frozen. Do not leave the peels on.

          • bookwormbethie July 30, 2012, 9:21 pm

            thanks for the tip! popped my sliced bananas in the fridge a little while ago and pitted my cherries. can’t wait to have this some of “ice cream” for dessert tomorrow evening! hubby thinks it’s awesome that we don’t have to have an ice cream maker to make this 🙂

  • bookwormbethie July 30, 2012, 9:21 pm

    i mean freezer 😉

  • Sharon Lee Hart August 7, 2012, 8:14 pm

    So…I am on my second round of making this in a week. Cherries continue to be on sale and beautiful, plus my omnivore boyfriend (said he likes this better than cherry garcia!) and I continue to crave this perfect flavorful treat. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Robin August 10, 2012, 11:33 am

      Wow, BETTER than Cherry Garcia — what a fabulous compliment! So glad you’re enjoying this recipe.

  • Carole August 27, 2012, 1:10 pm

    Just back from vacation and read this post…sounds totally delicious and easy! Since I don’t have almond butter, do you think creamy peanut butter would also be OK to use? I didn’t see it specifically mentioned in the previous posts, so I just wondered if peanut butter would be a reasonable substitution. Thanks, Robin.

    • Robin August 27, 2012, 2:14 pm

      Yes, you can use peanut butter instead of almond butter to make this. And yes, it IS totally delicious — and easy!

  • Carole September 10, 2012, 2:10 pm

    Hi Robin,
    This worked great with peanut butter – three times! Cherries have disappeared from our stores for the season…I wondered if you had any other vegan “pseudo-soft-serve” recipes in your files that you are willing to share? Thank you so much.
    PS – looking forward to One Dish Vegan publication; my copy of One Dish Vegetarian is looking pretty shopworn 🙂

    • Robin September 12, 2012, 6:54 pm

      You could pretty much substitute any of your favorite ripe fruit for the cherries. Or just use all banana and add some chopped nuts.

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