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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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29 Responses to “Heather’s bourbon salted chocolate-pecan cluster nice cream + a giveaway!”

  1. Josiane — June 7, 2017 @ 2:29 pm

    Oh, that nice cream sounds absolutely divine! And the cookbook sounds perfect for me. I’d love to get to add it to my bookshelves because improvising meals based on what I have on hand is precisely how I cook most of the time, and there are days when I could certainly use some fresh inspiration that works with my style of cooking. So thank you for letting is know about this new release, and for offering us a chance at winning a copy!

  2. Jeffrey — June 7, 2017 @ 5:52 pm

    I’m always on the hunt for healthy recipes for my entire family that incorporates a variety of plants and pantry staples!

  3. Lesia Kohut — June 8, 2017 @ 12:36 am

    Oh my gosh, this dessert looks amaaaaaaazing! So looking forward to trying it out!! I’ve been making so much dairy ice cream since we moved to Victoria, it’s time I made more plant-based frozen treats! Perfect summer recipe! Thanks Nicole! :)

  4. Pia — June 8, 2017 @ 3:47 am

    Chef Heather strikes again!
    But seriously, why WOULDN’T I desperately want to be able to consider myself the owner of Heather’s new masterpiece, Pantry to Plate? I mean, so far I have heard/read nothing but rave reviews of it and, let’s face it, it truly is so much more than a cookbook: it’s a piece of art.
    Moreover, as someone who isn’t all too keen on following recipes to a T, the concept of this book really speaks to me. I also absolutely love her approach to food (whole food, minimally processed, refined sugar free, 100% plants) and, being a loyal reader of her blog, I know for a fact that her recipes are simply outstanding -creative, versatile and genuinely DIFFERENT.
    So really, Plate to Pantry ticks all the boxes, and I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed super hard, as I would be over the moon if I was to win this giveaway.

  5. stacey bradford — June 8, 2017 @ 10:36 am

    This looks so yummy.. it’s 7am and it still looks great! Can’t wait to try it!

  6. Shira Isenberg — June 8, 2017 @ 1:56 pm

    This book looks awesome. I like how there are templates for recipes so you can create your own masterpieces!

  7. Aimee Brimmer — June 8, 2017 @ 3:31 pm

    I’d love to have a copy of this cookbook because it looks like it has lovely recipes and would make an amazing addition to my collection. :)

  8. Scarlett Jones — June 8, 2017 @ 4:33 pm

    This looks amazing! Would love to see the book

  9. Annette — June 9, 2017 @ 12:14 am

    This recipe alone is enough to make me want the cookbook, but I also need some more vegan recipes to try.

  10. charj — June 9, 2017 @ 7:13 am

    I love all the recipes that I’ve tried from the blog, especially the eggplant bacon.

  11. Christine — June 10, 2017 @ 10:47 am

    I have been seeing recipes from this cookbook popping up all over my favorite blogs, but this one has got me the most excited! Sounds like the perfect summer treat! Newlywed life means penny pinching, and inspiration for making healthy, delicious meals from the stuff I already have in my pantry is just what I need right now!

  12. Lydia Claire — June 12, 2017 @ 12:29 am

    I love to win for the healthy vegan recipes!

  13. Corrine — June 12, 2017 @ 12:43 am

    I”m always on the lookout for healthy recipes, always vegan!

  14. Susan P. — June 13, 2017 @ 1:13 am

    I still like to use and look through cookbooks and have always used whatever is on hand for creating dishes. This will give me some new ideas!

  15. Kim Y — June 13, 2017 @ 6:24 pm

    Because why wouldn’t I want a copy of this book!!!! Wow!

  16. Linda — June 13, 2017 @ 7:23 pm

    I want this book because the photos of that ice cream are amazing!

  17. Kim @Brownble — June 14, 2017 @ 7:57 am

    Awesome book! And now I’m dying to make this recipe!

  18. Jennifaux — June 15, 2017 @ 10:30 am

    Yes, I am drooling! It’s only 10:30am, and I am droooooooling, I tell you! I’ve been eyeing this cookbook after reading a review of it elsewhere. Now, I feel even more convinced I need it! I’ve been vegan 11 years, but there is still so much to learn from others’ creativity. I can’t wait to make this! Thank you!

  19. Julie — June 16, 2017 @ 2:26 pm

    I would love a copy of the book, to try out all of the delicious recipes!!

  20. Carolsue — June 17, 2017 @ 1:18 am

    Besides collecting cookbooks in general, I need lots of ideas on things to cook that are gluten free for my son. That’s why I’d like to win!

  21. Carla — June 18, 2017 @ 10:26 pm

    That looks so delicious! I love that there is no white sugar in it! Thanks for the giveaway!

  22. Melanie Foster — June 19, 2017 @ 9:10 am

    Wow! Just when I’m trying to convert my family to plant based and/or vegan, this lovely cookbook giveaway appears!

  23. kelly woods — June 20, 2017 @ 10:49 pm

    I bet there is some great recipes in the cookbook.

  24. Donna Kozar — June 20, 2017 @ 10:54 pm

    I am trying to eat more healthy.

  25. Mya Murphy — June 20, 2017 @ 11:21 pm

    Being from Alabama, I am always cooking with super greasy things… I would love to seriously cool more healthy!!

  26. Michelle Catallo — June 20, 2017 @ 11:22 pm

    I am a health-minded single mother to three amazing kids that I want to see grow and have their own (many decades from now… LOL) kids. I believe in teaching my kids through emulation and would love to introduce them correctly into Vegan which I feel will benefit all of us.

  27. Elicia P — June 20, 2017 @ 11:25 pm

    I was a vegetarian but with my son not being able to have dairy (nursing), I became a vegan. I am always in the lookout for new recipes. That is why I want to win.

  28. Virginia H — June 20, 2017 @ 11:30 pm

    This book sounds like what i’ve been looking for. I love everything even the design of it. I love how she finds a way to put yummy recipes together with only things you have on hand without a trip to the grocery store. Thats a wonderful talent.

  29. Jen Freese — June 20, 2017 @ 11:38 pm

    I`m always looking for new recipes! The illustrations are amazing!!

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