Meatless Monday: Vegan ice cream sandwiches

Vegan ice cream sandwiches with cool hint of coconut.

By , Novel Eats

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    A delicious chocolate cookie with a coconut ice cream center.
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Officially summer = officially time to make ice cream, even here in the Pacific Northwest. Last week, I finally got my ice cream maker out of its box, cleaned it up and stuck it in the freezer. It was time.

But then I realized I could take my ice cream one step further – ice cream sandwiches. I had never made my own ice cream sandwiches, but it’s really not that hard. It just takes a bit of time and effort, and once you’re done you’re rewarded with some pretty good tasting stuff.

How easy is it? Well, if you’re not up for baking cookies or making your own ice cream, just grab a box of your favorite vegan cookies (any should do) and your favorite vegan ice cream (vanilla is probably best) and start making sandwiches. But if you want to go the homemade route, then read on.

Recommended: Stir it Up!

You can make ice cream sandwiches with any cookie. At first I thought I’d go with chocolate chip, and a part of me wanted to go with oatmeal raisin, but then I remembered a recipe for chocolate cookies I had come across a few years ago on FatFree Vegan Kitchen. I only modified the recipe a tad, and they are absolutely perfect for this summer vegan recipe.

Vegan Chocolate Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Note: For the ice cream sandwiches I doubled this recipe, but it probably wasn’t necessary.

1 cup unbleached white flour (or to make it gluten-free, use gluten-free baking flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons vegan butter
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup soy yogurt or vegan milk (if you use vegan milk, you may need to increase the flour by a tablespoon or two)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Sugar or Celtic sea salt, both optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Mix the flour, soda, and salt together and set aside.

In another bowl, mix the cocoa with the granulated and brown sugars and set aside.

Melt the vegan butter in a medium-sized saucepan. When it is completely melted, take it off the heat and add the sugar and cocoa mixture, then stir to combine.

Then add the soy yogurt or vegan milk, vanilla extract and balsamic vinegar and stir until mixed.

Finally, add the flour mixture and stir just until it’s combined, but don’t over-mix.

Note: If you used vegan milk instead of vegan yogurt, you may wind up with a runnier batter. It will still be thick, but it may not be quite as thick as a cookie batter should be. I’d recommend just adding about a tablespoon or two of flour and then you should be good to go.

Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop tablespoons of the dough onto the baking sheets about 1-1/2 inches apart.

If you want your cookies to be uniformly round, grab a spoonful and roll it in your hands for a few seconds then place the cookie ball on the sheet. It will be more perfectly round that way.

Quick tip: If you want to make mini ice cream sandwiches, do smaller scoops.

Sprinkle lightly with your choice of vanilla sugar or Celtic sea salt (I opted for the latter on about half of the cookies), and place them in the oven.

After about five minutes, switch the pans around so that the one on top is on the bottom and the front sides are in the back. Check again in another five minutes. Be careful – depending on the type of pan you use, they can go from underdone to burned in seconds. They shouldn’t need more than 11 minutes and will look soft on top, but they’ll harden as they cool. I baked these for a maximum of 10 minutes because I wanted to keep them a little on the chewy side.

Remove from the oven and transfer onto cooling racks.

Next thing I did was make a basic recipe of coconut ice cream. I also doubled this recipe, but it’s really probably not necessary. I still have some ice cream in the freezer that I didn’t use.

The ice cream was still too soft once it was done, so I stuck it in the freezer overnight. I used a metal bowl and just covered it with plastic wrap.

Note: You should follow the instructions for your own ice cream maker, but there’s a good chance that you won’t want to store the ice cream in the bowl you used to make it in.
I then used a melon baller scoop and scooped out a generous amount of ice cream and placed it on the bottom side of a cookie. Take another similarly shaped and sized cookie and place it bottom down on top of the ice cream and press down.

You can either do one of two things:

  1. Eat it right away, but it will definitely be more messy because it will melt fast.
  2. Stick in your freezer for a few hours, then individually wrap each in plastic wrap and store in your freezer for up to five days.

These are fantastic, but I would definitely allow a couple of days to prepare if you are making these totally from scratch for a party, picnic or event. I thought I’d be able to make them in one day, but the ice cream really needs to be pretty well frozen to make it easy to put these babies together.

One variation I wish I had tried: blending a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter with the ice cream mixture. That would have been pretty awesome. A good excuse to make them again!

Samantha Mills writes a vegan blog at Novel Eats.

To a step-by-step photo guide to making Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches, click here.

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