I shot the recipe for this healthy cherry chocolate chip ice cream at the end of last spring in my Italian kitchen. As I was scrolling through the photos (which I shot for a collaboration with Vitamix and Coconut Bowls) I felt a big sense of nostalgia.
I have been gone from Italy for so long now that just seeing my kitchen counter, the hazelnuts from Piedmont scattered on my table, and the produce haul from my trusted organic farm made me tear up.
While I have been pretty much traveling full time for the last ten years and I am used to being gone from Italy (and from my family) for long stretches, this time it feels a little different. I know for a fact that I won’t be going back there anytime soon and this definitely adds a layer of sadness to the very long distance that separates the West Coast from my home country.
In 2020, due to global events and the very problematic situation we faced in Lombardy, I was gone from the US for many months, and exceeded the amount of time I am allowed to stay outside of the US to maintain my “permanent residence” status. Now I need to make up for that.
I know, this is getting a little long. And we’ll get to this healthy cherry & chocolate chip ice cream very soon. But since many of you are asking me on my Instagram when I am going to be back in Italy, the answer is: “I have no idea”.
My US citizenship interview (which was supposed to happen this July) got pushed back seven more months… and unless they surprise me with an earlier date, I won’t be able to visit Italy for at least that long.
I am hopeful to have my family come see me here in the States this Fall… but until then, it’s going to be a lot more video calls and more going through pictures and videos on my camera roll just to hear the sound of the bells, see the countryside where I grew up and hear the lively chatters in the Italian piazzas when it’s time for aperitivo.
Now, let’s get to this healthy cherry & chocolate chip ice cream for real. First things first: you might want to check out the Gluten Free Cherry & Almond Tart I prepared last year in Italy during the cherry season.
It’s a delicious Italian fruit pie of which I photographed the entire process and took some time to share it with you what a “frangipane” filling is. Don’t miss it!
As per this cherry chocolate chip ice cream, know that is gluten free, dairy free, vegan, free from refined sugar, and can be made compliant to the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) if you replace the chocolate with carob chocolate and replace the crushed hazelnuts with coconut or tigernuts flakes.
All you need to know about this Healthy Cherry & Chocolate Chip Ice Cream:
No. This is not real ice cream, and while it tastes just as good and creamy as a regular one, it’s simply made with fruit and does not contain the amount of fat and sugar needed to make it maintain its creamy texture once frozen.
Make sure to only prepare the amount you want to eat right away. And if you do have any leftover cherry & chocolate chip ice cream, scoop it in an ice cube tray, freeze it and churn it (or I should say “blend it”) again in a high speed blender or food processor when you are ready to enjoy it.
Melting real chocolate and pouring it while it’s still piping hot over the cold ice cream is the technique gelato masters use in Italy to make “stracciatella gelato”. The chocolate solidifies immediately after it touches the frozen surface of the gelato, and that point gelato makers break with a cold steel spatula to fold it in the actual ice cream.
For convenience, this flavor is often translated in English as “chocolate chips” but in case you were wondering why there are no chocolate chips mentioned in the ingredient list… well, here’s the answer!
This type of ice cream, that’s only made with frozen fruit and without using any fats and added sugars, is commonly referred to in health food cuisine as “banana ice cream” or “nicecream”.
Freezing bananas and the other fruits needed for it the right way is hugely important for the success of your recipe. This is why I wrote a full guide on How to Make Banana Ice Cream. Make sure you check it out before you start throwing your bananas in the freezer whole and with the ski on 😉
As you can see from the photos, I love to enjoy my dark chocolate granola on top of some unsweetened coconut yogurt and berries. But I also love it as a topping for a smoothie bowl.
Speaking of which… did you check out my GUIDE to make smoothies that keep you full? I am sure you’ll love it. It answers to 10 FAQs and it gives you lots of ideas to make delicious smoothie bowls.
If you happen to stumble upon this recipe when cherry season is already over (I know, so short, huh 😓), feel free the either use store bought frozen cherries, ore replace this fruit with other berries of choice. Frozen strawberries, blackberries and blueberries all make for a great replacement and are a really good match with chocolate.
Healthy Cherry & Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (GF, DF, Vegan, *AIP)
- High speed blender (of you don't have one you can use a food processor as well)
- Place the frozen bananas, frozen cherries and coconut cream into your Vitamix or other high speed blender.
- Blend on high speed using the tamper to push the frozen fruit down as needed. After 1-2 minutes the ice cream will run smoothly.
- Pour your ice cream in a coconut bowl, drizzle the melted dark chocolate on top and place in the freezer for a few minutes to set.
- Add some toasted hazelnuts on top and enjoy your healthy ice cream.
- Try this simple, delicious recipe while cherries are still in season!
I am excited to see your recreations of my healthy Cherry & Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, so don’t forget to take a photo and tag me when you share it on Instagram!! Also, if you love it, please share this recipe with your friends on Facebook, save it on your favorite Pinterest board and subscribe to my newsletter so that you never miss a post!!
Lots of love and ciao!