Ice cream is one of the few desserts that is universally loved. Not only do the flavors vary but the ways that it can be served is also interchangeable. My preference will always be any ice cream sandwich: sandwiches between two cookies or cakes.
Evenings in with my friends typically end with an ice cream sandwich-fest, where we buy a dozen of cookies, and sandwich our favorite ice cream flavors between them. No matter how funky the flavors we get, I always devour the classic chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice cream sandwich. My ice cream consumption is very limited, however my coconut cream consumption has increased lately.
I was initially drawn to non-dairy frozen desserts when I was experimenting with a more plant-based diet. Trader Joe’s had become our primary store and they offer a plethora of soy and coconut based desserts. I had fallen in love with the cherry-chocolate chip soy ice cream and was exhilarated when they released their vanilla soy ice cream sandwiches. Soy can have a bland taste and at times, I felt as though the ice cream in the sandwich was letting me down. I decided to play around with vegan ice cream sandwiches and came up with this lovely combination.
Rather than using the bland soy ice cream as a filler, I replaced it with its sweeter and tastier long lost non-dairy cousin, coconut milk. I was familiar with making ice cream from coconut milk and so my main challenge was creating a base. I was in search for a vegan cake that would compliment the coconut ice cream and would hold its shape. Luckily, I aced the recipe on my first try.
Ice cream has become the quintessential summer dessert: cold, sweet, and tasty. These ice cream sandwiches embody all three of these characteristics. Since they are not made from actual dairy, the coconut ice cream has an icier consistency but that doesn’t make them any less tasty than your typical ice cream sandwiches.
Coconut Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches (Vegan)
- 2 13.5 oz cans full fat coconut milk
- 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
- pinch sea salt
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cacao nibs
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 3 dates, pitted
- 1 flax egg
- 1 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
In a blender, combine the coconut milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract until the sugar is dissolved. Transfer to your ice cream machine and follow the manufactures instructions, churning for about 1 hour.
Transfer the ice cream to a glass container. Mix in the cacao nibs, close the container, and place in the freezer for about 4 hours, until the ice cream is mostly frozen.
Continue by baking the cake.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a rectangular pan (?X? inches) with parchment paper
In blender, mix together the almond milk and dates until the dates are pureed. Pour into a bowl. Add in the flax egg, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix until all ingredients are completely combined. Sift in the salt, almond flour and cocoa powder into the bowl.
Place the batter into the prepared pan. Using a spatula, even out the batter until it is even. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes; a toothpick should come out clean. Turn off the oven and let the cake sit in the oven for another 20 minutes to ensure that it dries and holds its shape.
Remove the cake from the pan, keeping it attached to the parchment. Place on a cooling rack and let cool completely. One the cake is cold, cut it in half.
Remove 2 cups of the coconut ice cream from the freezer. Let the ice cream sit for 2-5 minutes, until it begins to soften but is not turning liquid. Using a spatula, spread the ice cream on 1/2 of the cake into an even layer. Top with the other half of the cake. Lightly press down until some ice cream begins to emerge from the sides. Place in the freezer again and freeze for another 1 1/2 hours, until the ice cream and cake are frozen together.
Remove the sandwich and place on a cutting board and trim the edges to create clean sides. Cut into 12 slices. Place again in the freezer until ready to serve.