Heather’s bourbon salted chocolate-pecan cluster nice cream + a giveaway!

Bourbon Salted Chocolate-Pecan Cluster Ice Cream | A Dash of Compassion

When I was writing my cookbook three years ago, I was completely infatuated with developing recipes for the sweet treats chapter and baking almost every day—if not multiple times a day. And, it’s probably clear as the author of DIY Vegan I was also really into making everything from scratch, including blending whole grains in my Blendtec to make flour, soaking vanilla beans in vodka for some incredibly easy homemade vanilla extract, and making dairy-free whipped cream and pudding right from scratch, with simple ingredients.

During this process, the test batches of basic homemade chocolate and vanilla ice cream that sat in my freezer during the intense heat waves that summer were the perfect treat after a long day of recipe testing. Ice cream seemed to hit the spot when I needed it most, calming my over-heated and over-stressed self. I mean, who doesn’t love a scoop of ice cream on any given summer’s day?

I usually prefer a basic ice cream flavour with a handful of fun toppings over anything else. But then along came this bourbon salted chocolate-pecan cluster ice cream. Just take those words in for a minute. Are you drooling yet?

Yum Universe Pantry to Plate giveaway! | A Dash of Compassion

While I can’t take credit for today’s delectable ice cream recipe, it took me back to that summer in 2004 when ice cream was my everything—but multiplied the flavour satisfaction by about a hundred percent. Upon my first spoonful, I immediately fell in love with the sweet and creamy bourbon-induced, coconut-based ice cream swirled with chunks of homemade salted chocolate-covered pecan clusters. Those clusters, all by themselves, are worth the effort. I would have eaten them by the handful if it weren’t for the second part of the recipe.

The talented powerhouse behind this recipe is Heather Crosby of YumUniverse, and you can find it along with 100 recipes and templates of plant-powered amazingness in her new book, Pantry to Plate.

Bourbon Salted Chocolate-Pecan Cluster Ice Cream | A Dash of Compassion

It’s been 2 1/2  years since I shared a review of Heather’s first YumUniverse cookbook—along with a recipe for her dark chocolate, sweet potato and black bean brownies. Even back then, I remember being completely captivated by her creativity, talent and passion for healthy and approachable eating and living, and I still feel that same way as I work my way through this second book.

Heather’s talents aren’t just limited to the kitchen. She’s also a graphic designer who managed to design both of her cookbooks, entirely. As if the recipe development and writing weren’t enough of a challenge, in addition to the fresh and modern layout, Heather’s books are individual pieces of art, right down to the hand-painted vegetables that dance across the pages. Heather even designed her own tea towels and other pre-order bonuses in honour of the Pantry to Plate launch. If anyone has learned to meld together all her skills and talents into one, it’s this lady. Like I said, she’s a powerhouse.

Bourbon Salted Chocolate-Pecan Cluster Ice Cream | A Dash of Compassion

Pantry to Plate is based on a concept unlike any other in the cookbook world. Heather described it perfectly herself: it’s a recipe playbook designed to provide health-minded home cooks with the tools they need to create meals they love using what they have on hand. The book offers 30 mix-and-match templates, along with almost 100 standard recipe formats, allowing the freedom to adapt them as you see fit with the flavour and texture options listed—all plant-inspired and gluten-free. The emphasis on using up what is in the pantry also avoids unnecessary trips to the grocery store. For Heather, it’s all about freestyling.

Improvisational templates start with “what you need no matter what,” then outline riffs with ingredient variations for texture, flavour, and other mix-ins. It’s a fun and empowering approach, and her confident yet playful writing style will have you coming back for more. You don’t want to miss out on creations that have lighthearted names like amazeballs, bites & tots, mmmaki, and ‘banzo bakes, do you?

Bourbon Salted Chocolate-Pecan Cluster Ice Cream | A Dash of Compassion

Thanks to Heather and her publisher, I’m able to share the ice cream recipe with you today. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

If you’re interested in more, scroll down to enter the GIVEAWAY!

Print Print

Bourbon salted chocolate-pecan cluster nice cream

Yield: Serves 4+


  •  ½ cup (50 g) raw pecan halves
  • 1 tablespoon plus ½ cup (120 ml) maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Two pinches cayenne pepper
  • Two pinches ground cardamom (optional)
  • 1 vanilla bean pod
  • 3 cups (720 ml) canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch/flour
  • One 3-ounce (85 g) dark chocolate bar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. In a small bowl, stir together the pecans, 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup ¼ teaspoon of the salt, cinnamon, cayenne, and cardamom until the pecans are coated. Scatter on the baking sheet and roast for 7 to 10 minutes, until browned. Remove from the baking sheet and cool in the fridge.
  2. Press the vanilla bean pod so it lies flat on a cutting board. Carefully slice down its entire length with a sharp knife and open. Use the back of your knife to scrape out the caviar-like seeds and toss into a large pot. Heat the pot to medium-high and whisk together the coconut milk, the remaining 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) maple syrup, oil, bourbon, arrowroot, and ¼ teaspoon salt until velvety smooth and starting to simmer. Remove from the heat and chill for 2 to 3 hours in the fridge, until thoroughly cool.
  3. Melt the chocolate bar over a double boiler and toss the pecans in the chocolate until coated. Cool in the fridge; chop into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Process the chilled milk mixture in an ice cream maker until firm but stirrable. Transfer to a freezable container and fold in the pecan clusters until evenly distributed but maintain swirls and chunks. Freeze for 1 to 3 hours, until firm. Thaw to scoopable consistency and serve.

Recipe from YumUniverse Pantry to Plate  © Heather Crosby, 2017. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. theexperimentpublishing.com

Cookbook giveaway

One winner will receive a copy of YumUniverse Pantry to Plate by Heather Crosby. For a chance to win, simply enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below before June 21, 2017. Please note: this giveaway is only open to residents of the US and Canada.

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