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.
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
- 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 tbsp 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 Fahrenheit. 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.
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, instead 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.
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. Note that 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.
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:
- Eat it right away, but it will definitely be more messy because it will melt fast.
- 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!
Do you ever make ice cream sandwiches? What is your favorite combo?