Raw Dirty Turtle Ice Cream

In case you are wondering what "Dirty Turtle Ice Cream" is... it is pure chocolate, caramel and pecan ice cream bliss! Turtles are a candy with caramel and pecans dipped in chocolate and I have always been a big fan of them since I was a little girl.  Caramel and chocolate, count me in when I was a five year old.  The pecans had to grow on me, luckily now as an adult I love them.  So when my Mom was telling me about a dirty turtle ice cream, I was game to trying a raw version.

Turtle ice cream alone would be amazing, but the "dirty" part, meaning chocolate ice cream base sounded even better.  I used my classic raw ice cream base, which is a mixture of coconut and bananas and added raw cacao powder for the chocolate base.  I made one of the most delicious raw caramels I have ever made, and swirled that in, along with crunchy pecans and cacao nibs. It was simply heavenly.  Put me in my happy place.  Yes, I eat ice cream all winter long and I did not care that it was only about 10F degrees outside...it was that good!

Raw Dirty Turtle Ice Cream
Makes about 6 cups

Raw Caramel Swirl:
1 cup medjool dates, pitted (soaked in filtered water for 30 minutes if not soft, then drained)
2 Tbsp raw coconut butter
3 Tbsp raw coconut nectar, or maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp maple extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp filtered water

Ice Cream:
1 cup coconut water
3 cups young coconut meat*
2 cups ripe bananas, sliced
1/2 cup raw coconut nectar or maple syrup (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
seeds of one vanilla bean (or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
a pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup coconut butter (not oil), warmed to liquid

1 cup raw pecans
1/2 cup raw cacao nibs

For the caramel, combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.  Set aside.
To make ice cream base, to a high speed blender or food processor, add coconut water, coconut, bananas,  nectar, vanilla, sea salt, and process until very smooth, about a minute or two. Add the coconut butter slowly so it gets incorporated and doesn't clump up.  Process a minute more.  Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to directions.
Set aside.  When the ice cream is done churning, remove from ice cream maker, then pour 1/3 into a freezer safe container with a lid. drizzle 1/3 of the caramel over it, scatter 1/3 of the pecans and cacao nibs over that, then pour half the remaining ice cream over that.  Drizzle with half the remaining caramel, scatter with half the remaining pecans and cacao nibs, then top with the remaining ice cream then the remaining caramel and pecans and cacao nibs.  Place in the freezer and let sit for at least four hours or overnight to firm up to scoopable consistency.

*If you do not have access to young coconut meat, you can either use an equal amount of raw soaked cashews in its place, or you may use 3 cups full fat coconut milk (canned if you do not mind the recipe not being raw).

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