Ice Cream Sandwich Magic

So this whole MPLS.TV Eater’s Digest thing is fairly new, and I had never really met any of the contributors.

But a Memorial Day BBQ was arranged, and I figured I should make something spectacular & BBQ-y; thus, my first attempt at vegan ice cream sandwich cookies. Making your own ice cream is insanely easy, yet is guaranteed to be an instant crowd pleaser!

This is a multi-recipe endeavor, and I took both recipes from the Veganomicon, the fanciest, most intimidating cookbook I own. The result was Peanut-Ginger-Sesame Cookies with Peanut Butter Ice cream, and they are amazingly tasty. I wanted to make them all in one go, so I made the ice cream batter first and chilled it while I made the cookies. Then, while the cookies were cooling, I made the ice cream.

For the ice cream you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup cream of coconut milk – The easiest way to obtain this is by putting a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight. The cream will rise to the top, allowing you to scoop it off. Throw the remainder in your freezer for use in a future endeavor.
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 oz silken tofu – 1/2 a package (Again, refrigerate or freeze the rest for future usage.)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, any kind

It’s a good idea to refrigerate all your ingredients before you start — you want everything to be as cold as possible. You will, generally, have to refrigerate the inner piece of your ice cream maker overnight, so it’s one of those recipes where you have to plan ahead a bit. All you do is throw all the above items in a food processor or blender, and blend away! Then follow the instructions on your ice cream maker. It’s usually just “turn it on, pour in batter,” and 20-40 minutes later you have delicious ice cream!

For the cookies you’ll need:

  • 2 1/4 cups flour (I used all-purpose, but you can also use whole wheat pastry, white whole wheat, or a combo of any of the above.)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegan shortening, softened
  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar, plus additional sugar for rolling
  • 1/2 cup soy milk (I used almond milk.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 5 oz candied ginger, diced finely (A little over 1/2 cup.)
  • 1/3 cup each white & black sesame seeds, or 2/3 cup of just one kind

Preheat your oven to 350˚F, and either lightly grease a couple cookie sheets, or line them with parchment paper. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, ginger, and cinnamon and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use some form of electric beaters to cream the shortening until it’s light and fluffy, approximately 3 minutes. The shortening will turn from its inherent creepy, clear-ish color to a white, whipped-creamish looking situation.  Then add the peanut butter, rice syrup, sugar, “milk,” and extracts and continue to beat another 4-5 minutes until the mixture becomes creamy. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture, then add your chopped candied ginger and stir until a firm dough forms. You can even use your hands towards the end. Trust me, it’s satisfying.

Now you’re going to roll scant tablespoons of the dough into walnut-sized balls. The easiest way to do this is to use an actual tablespooon measure. I like to lightly apply some cooking spray so that the dough doesn’t start sticking to your spoon. Roll each ball in the sesame seeds, and then in a little bit of sugar, and place it on your cookie sheet, leave some space between cookies, and flatten them down a tiny bit.

Bake for 10-11 minutes, then remove from the oven. Let them sit for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack. When they come out of the oven they will look like magical, fluffy cookie pillows, but as they cool they will deflate a little bit.

For the assembly-portion, you simply spoon some ice cream onto a cookie, top with another cookie, smooth out the edges a bit with the back of your spoon, and roll the edges in sesame seeds for that extra-fancy look. In theory, this was what I was going to do, but I ended up having to freeze the ice cream overnight and wake up at 5am to assemble them before I went to work. The cookies need to freeze a minimum of two hours or they will be too soft and squishy, so the soft-serve-ish style ice cream that came out of my ice cream maker just wasn’t going to cut it.  I refrigerated the cookies overnight as well, just in case, since my first couple sandwich cookie attempts resulted in a sad, melted, ice cream/cookie mess that I was more than willing to clean up with my mouth, then have trouble sleeping from all the sugar. After that overnight chilling time, the assembly went much easier.

Seriously though, these things were insanely good.

Holly likes ice cream, and has a food blog she hasn’t updated in 5 months called Babes in Soyland