As summer begins to wind down and because my Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Cocoa Nib post was so popular, I wanted to bring you another, crave worthy, vegan, dairy free ice cream recipe. This bourbon salted caramel pecan ice cream will satisfy your sweet cravings and will help keep you cool during the dog days of summer.
Slow Churned Ice Cream
This recipe requires an ice cream maker.
If you don’t have one, consider borrowing or purchasing one. Mine is borrowed, and often. I really appreciate knowing the exact ingredients in my ice cream and I love being able to pronounce all of them too!
I use a Vitamix to ensure my ice cream is smooth. Throw all the ingredients in after soaking the cashews, blend and chill over night. I like to make the caramel sauce right after I make the base or the day before I churn the ice cream so it has time to cool to room temperature.
Prepare Your Ingredients
The ingredients couldn’t be simpler, but you’ll need to plan in advance to complete your ice cream. I make this ice cream over a three day period. I know that may sound like a long time, but it is so worth it. If you’re in a hurry, you could make it in two days, but it may be a push. You’ll need to soak the cashews for part of the base, then make the base, refrigerate over night, churn the ice cream, then freeze for at least seven hours.
The bourbon salted caramel sauce is quite simple and quick to make. You can whip it up in about 5 minutes, but it takes much longer to cool. If you’re a little squeamish about making caramel, I completely understand. I’ve had many flops when it comes to caramel. But once you are successful in creating this glossy, sweet and rich confection, you’ll be whipping it up and putting it on everything like cupcakes, your latte, or just eating it with a spoon!
It’s so worth it!
Making Caramel Sauce
You’ll notice in my photos how the caramel sauce looks lighter in my final photographs than in my process photos. This is because my final photographs were taken with a completely different batch of caramel sauce. I was impatient with photographing the process batch final photos because we wanted to eat it posthaste!
So, I made another batch and rephotographed the final shots… which turned out much better, but you can see how light the caramel sauce is. This is because I eyeball the caramel sauce for color to determine when it is done cooking. The deeper color the longer the cook time, although there is a fine line between deliciousness and burnt sugar. If you eyeball your caramel for color change, color variation will probably result from one batch to another, but it tastes just as good.
When I was a kid, my Pa-Paw used to make plain and simple hand churned vanilla ice cream. My brothers, sister, cousins and I impatiently stood around my Pa-Paw and watched as he churned, stopping occasionally to stuff the old fashioned ice cream maker with ice and rock salt, laboring over that ice cream maker for what seemed like days.
We really have it easy now. No messy rock salt or ice, and no manual churning, just plug in the ice cream machine and walk away. Easy peasy!
Bourbon Salted Caramel Pecan Ice Cream - Vegan
For the Ice Cream:
- 1 C Cashews soaked overnight (or at least 6 hours)
- 2/3 C Water
- 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
- 1/3 C Maple Syrup
- 1/2 C Almond Milk
- 1/4 tsp Guar Gum
- Pinch of Sea Salt
- 1/3 C Pecans toasted and chopped
For the Custard:
- Soak the 1 C of cashews for at least 6 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse the cashews.
- Place the soaked cashews, water, vanilla bean paste or extract, maple syrup, almond milk, guar gum and sea salt in a high speed blender. Blend on high speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides and lid. Blend again for another 30 seconds. Scrape down sides and lid. Blend one last time for 30 seconds.
- Pour into lidded storage container and store in fridge overnight or for at least 8 hours.
- Now is a good time to make sure your ice cream churning bowl is in the freezer.
For the Pecans:
- Place the pecans in a 325F oven and toast for 8 minutes. Cool and rough chop. Set aside.
For the Caramel:
- Place sugar in 2 qt sauce pan. Add the lemon juice. Turn the stove heat to high and stir the sugar and lemon together until incorporated (the lemon inhibits crystallization).
- Brush the inside of the pan, all the way around, with the wet pastry brush. Do not touch the sugar with the pastry brush. You just want to make sure there is no sugar up on the sides of the pan where it shouldn't be. Set the pastry brush aside. Gently stir and mash the sugar clumps until all the sugar is melted. As soon as the sugar mixture begins to boil, do not stir any more. Allow the sugar to cook.
- It will begin to boil. You want it to boil until it is amber in color (the degree of amber will vary. I err on the side of caution and make mine generally lighter). Boil for about 2 and 1/2 minutes.
- Remove from heat. (Remove from heat before it is overcooked because it will continue cooking in the pan as you add the coconut milk).
- Right away, start whisking and stirring in, very slowly, adding a little at a time, the coconut milk. The caramel will hiss and boil up, this is why you want to move slow with the pouring hand and quickly with the whisking hand. Pour until all the coconut milk is gone.
- Pour into a lidded bowl/jar and let cool for about 10 minutes.
- Whisk in the bourbon.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Place the container you'll store your ice cream in, in the freezer.
- Churn the ice cream according to the manufactures instructions. During the first 5 minutes of churning, add 1/2 the room temperature caramel to the churning ice cream.
- Five minutes before the ice cream is complete, add the toasted, chopped pecans, reserving 2 Tbs.
- Spoon 1/2 the ice cream in a freezer cold storage container. Pour 1/3 of the remaining caramel over the ice cream. Sprinkle 1 Tbs of the reserved pecans over the caramel.
- Spoon the last 1/2 of the ice cream over the caramel. Top with another 1/3 of the remaining caramel. Use a straw or end of a chop stick it in one end of the storage container. In a wave patter, swirl the caramel into the ice cream. Sprinkle the final reserved 1 Tbs of pecans over the top.
- Place plastic wrap, parchment or wax paper directly on top of the ice cream, cover and freeze overnight or for at least 7 hours.