Add the drained can of cherries to a medium saucepan on the stove over medium heat.
Add the sugar and cornstarch and stir to combine the ingredients.
Once the mixture begins to bubble, reduce the heat slightly and allow it to cook down for an additional 5 minutes.
During the cooking process, use the back of a spoon to smash some of the cherries, while keeping some of the cherries whole.
After the cherries have cooked down on the stove, remove them from the heat and allow them to cool while preparing the ice cream base.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and sea salt, set aside.
Whip the heavy cream with a stand mixer, or electric hand mixer, on medium-high speed until firm peaks form, about 4-5 minutes.
Fold the condensed milk mixture into the whipped cream with a rubber spatula until combined.
Stir in the chocolate chunks, then swirl in the cherries.
Pour into a 2 quart container, preferably metal, as it will freeze the ice cream quicker.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer.
Freeze for at least 5 hours, or overnight.
You can make this recipe with fresh cherries. Follow the recipe as instructed, but instead of using canned cherries, use two cups of fresh, pitted cherries. The cherries should be a red sweet variety, such as a bing, chelan, lapins, lambert or tulare.
You can make this recipe with frozen cherries. Follow the recipe as instructed, but plan to add at least 5 minutes to the cooking time for the cherries, as they’ll need to defrost and become soft enough to smash in the saucepan on the stove. You'll want to use two cups of sweet, pitted frozen cherries.
Freezing the ice cream in a metal container will make it freeze faster. If you want your cherry garcia ice cream ASAP, pour the ice cream into a metal container to freeze.
Place the ice cream as far back in the freezer as you can for a quicker freeze. You never want to store ice cream in the door, as it is the warmest place in the freezer. But I have also found for homemade ice cream, the further back in the freezer you place it, the quicker it will freeze.
This recipe makes approximately 1/2 gallon of ice cream, which equals 4 pints, or 12 scoops of ice cream.
This ice cream will stay good in the freezer for 6 months. Always seal the ice cream in an airtight container to avoid freezer burn. I like to use these glass containers to store the ice cream. This recipe will perfectly fit into two of these containers.
This ice cream recipe is gluten free. Just make sure the chocolate you’re using is gluten-free. Most chocolate chunks, chips or bars are naturally gluten free, but it’s always good practice to check the label, just to be sure!