This is incredibly chocolatey and not too sweet. If you prefer more sweetness, you can definitely add more agave or dates. With ice creams, make sure that the pre-ice cream freezer mixture is sweet enough to your liking or even a little too sweet. For some reason, ice creams taste less sweet after they are frozen in the ice cream freezer.
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least an hour in purified water (do not reserve the water)
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup agave syrup or mild date (such as halawi)
20 oz cherries, divided (pitted)
1/2 tsp almond extract, alcohol-free (optional)
Pre-freeze your ice cream freezer bowl overnight.
Take 1 cup of cherries, chop and put in a bowl in the refrigerator. These will be the chips for later. Drain cashews and add to high powered blender along with cacao powder and agave syrup (or dates). Blend on high until thick and creamy and no chunks of cashews are left. This should look like a very thick pudding. Add remaining cherries and blend again until creamy and no chunks. Taste at this point for sweetness. If it is not sweet enough add up to another 1/4 - 1/2 cup of agave or dates. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and set in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.
Start the ice cream freezer, and pour the chocolate cherry mixture into the freezer. My ice cream takes a total of about 20 - 25 minutes depending on how warm the house is. Check the ice cream after about 10 - 15 minutes. When the mix is starting to set, add the chopped cherries. Adding them at this point will ensure you have an even distribution and that the cherries do not fall to the bottom of the freezer. Let the ice cream freezer run (according to manufacturers instructions) until mix is completely frozen. You can serve and enjoy at this point and the ice cream is like soft serve. Or spoon mixture into a freezer safe container, and freeze overnight so it sets up hard like carton ice cream.