Creamy Hazelnut Choc-Chip Ice Cream (Dairy, Egg, & Refined Sugar Free)

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Several weeks ago a gorgeous little arrival took my niece/nephew count up to 12.
BOOM.
I love it. I love them all!!

Back 6&1/2 years ago when the first two arrived (twins!) I never expected the wash of emotion that comes with being an Aunty. I was used to friends having gorgeous children I totally adored (and still do!) So in the wait for my neices’ arrival, I expected to feel the same.
Then suddenly, two little girls were born and my heart flipped. It was next level. Small lives, not my own but deeply connected by blood of family; I felt instant connection, love, and protectiveness for them. These were lives I would know and love for the rest of my own. Forever linked. A part of who we are.
Now there are 12. 12 little people who are the next tier of family. 12 individuals who bring so much spunk, delight, gentleness, adventure, creativity, craziness, and excitement to family catch ups.
There are still three precious ones I’m yet to meet in person (aiming to tick that box within the next 5 months!) so thank goodness for Skype, Whatsapps, and emails which ensure we’re not totally disconnected from them. My 12 favourites.

After meeting the newest of the clan, I was inspired to create a new ice cream. Something to pair with the Italian origin of his name and something delicious, just like him ❤

xx

P.S I pondered the idea of cutting “Creamy” from the title, because, well; creamy creamy double up! But heck this ice cream is magical so it deserves the mention twice. Get the message? It’s creamy.

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Creamy Hazelnut Ice Cream (makes approx 1+L)

3 large bananas, sliced and frozen solid
8 dried dates, soaked in water for 3+ hours (OR 4 fresh medjool dates)
3 tbsp hazelnut butter
3 tbsp thickened coconut milk (refrigerate a can of full-fat coconut milk overnight, open it carefully and scoop the thick part from the top)
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts (preferably roasted and skinned) – optional
1/2 quantity of homemade chocolate (use the rest as a hardening shell sauce on top) OR 1/3 cup of your favourite dark chocolate, chopped finely

Place the soaked and drained dates, hazelnut butter, coconut milk, salt and vanilla in a small bowl. Blitz with a stick blender until you have a smooth consistency (if you don’t have a stick blender you can do this in a stand blender).
Tip the frozen banana slices into your food processor. Blitz until they become crumbly. Add the date/hazelnut mixture over top. Process until it has mixed well through the bananas and is a smooth consistency. Add the hazelnuts (if using) and chocolate. Pulse to mix. Then quickly spoon the mixture into a freezable bowl to set for 2+ hours or more prior to serving. Will keep well in the freezer for 3 days.

Homemade Chocolate/Hardening Sauce 
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
pinch salt

Melt the coconut oil in a small pot over a low heat. Remove from the heat. Add the cocoa, maple syrup and salt. Quickly whisk to combine to a smooth mixture.
If you are planning to use this as chocolate chips; lay a piece of baking paper on a tray. Spread the chocolate mixture over thinly. Freeze until set. When required for the recipe, break into small pieces and add to the ice cream.
NOTE: this chocolate mixture is soft at room temperature so store in the fridge or freezer until needed.
If you plan to use this as a hardening sauce, pour the combined liquid mixture into a small bowl and set aside until needed then drizzle over ice cream as desired. (If it sets before you wish to use it then warm it gently by placing your small bowl in a larger bowl of very hot water – being careful water doesn’t get into the chocolate mixture – and stir carefully until it is liquid once more)

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