I know that ice cream doesn’t typically seem like a winter-ish dessert, but really, who refuses ice cream any time of year? I have a distinct memory in high school of standing outside in the rain waiting for an ice cream snowstorm (like a blizzard) treat from my favorite hometown ice cream shop on opening day. In mind my, it totally wasn’t crazy to be standing in the freezing cold rain to just get colder and eat ice cream, right? While I am usually all for the usual ice cream flavors, I wanted to put a holiday twist on this frozen treat, something that screams ‘Christmas!’ and makes you want to curl up with a bowl of ice cream, even if it is snowing outside.
Cranberries are usually reserved for sauces and cakes, but when you roast them, they get all juicy and sweet, eschewing their tartness for a sweet, but still tart note. Perfect for mixing into ice cream! I wanted to add the usual molasses into this ice cream, adding the gingerbread component into the mix, but I found out too late that I was out of molasses and, considering I was mixing this together at 10pm on a Saturday night, I wasn’t about to wait or run out for a jar. Instead, I whipped up a batch of my favorite date caramel and mixed it in, which ended up being a perfect swap for the usual molasses notes. The churn time for this ice cream was increased a bit because I chose to go with light coconut milk rather than full fat coconut cream. Between cookies, cakes, and all things Christmas, a little lightening up can’t hurt, right?
Vegan Roasted Cranberry Gingerbread Ice Cream
- 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
- 2 cans light coconut milk
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 15 dates
- 1/2 cup water
To roast the cranberries: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spread cranberries onto a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and spices. Stir in the roasted cranberries. Set aside.
To make the date caramel: In the bowl of a food processor, blend together the dates and water until smooth. You may need to add a bit more water to keep the mixture going.
To make the ice cream: Pour the coconut milk mixture into a bowl of an ice cream maker and prepare according the machine directions. I let mine process for about 10 minutes before adding the date caramel. Continue to process for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until mixture is fairly solid. Transfer ice cream to a pan and freeze to solidify.