A while back I got an ice cream maker because although Swedish Glace is delicious, the choice of flavours is a bit boring after a while. I wanted to be able to make versions of all the Häagen-Daz and Ben & Jerry’s flavours I used to love but without the lactose. Swirls, chunks, sprinkles and sauces – I want them all! But we’re starting with the basics. Here is a plain coconut ice cream, unsurprisingly made from coconut milk, with a bit of sugar and a bit of cornstarch. It is creamy and delicious. And, although I had my gluten-free ice cream cones on order (I’ve got to draw the line somewhere on homemade, and since I don’t like waffle cones I can’t imagine how I might recreate a rice paper one at home), I knew I needed something to hold my ice cream. A bowl, you say? Too easy!! Plus I wanted something portable that C and I didn’t have to sit still to eat. After some searching I decided on the ice cream sandwich cookies from Gluten Free on a Shoestring. I was convinced by Nicole’s description of the perfect ice cream cookie not shattering on the first bite. Sold! I’ve tweaked the recipe slightly to remove the xanthan gum, and I make only half the amount as I’ve not got that many mouths to feed. A quick mention of cocoa powder – in the USA they distinguish between ‘Dutch Process’ and ‘natural’ cocoa powders and we don’t do that in the UK. The way to tell here what you are buying is to look at the ingredients to see if an alkalising agent has been added. If yes, then it is Dutch Process, if not then it is natural. I use Green & Black’s cocoa powder which is Dutch Process. If you have an ice cream maker with a built in refrigeration unit (fancy!) then you don’t need to plan ahead, but with mine you chill the bowl before use and it’s got to be really cold or the ice cream won’t form and you’ll just have coconut soup. Also you’re making a kind of custard with the ingredients which also needs chilling down before you try to make the ice cream. So this recipe actually takes two days to make unless you have a posh ice cream maker, which is worth bearing in mind. The cookies can be made on the day but I’ve found they keep quite well so you could make them advance. The ice cream is vegan by the way, but the cookies have an egg and butter and so are not.
Chocolate cookie and coconut ice cream sandwiches
Prep time 15 minutes + overnight cooling Cook time 25 minutes churning + 2 hours freezing Makes approximately 8 cookie size servings
For the ice cream
- 2 cans full fat coconut milk
- 150g caster sugar
- pinch salt
- 2¼ tbsp cornstarch
Set 60ml of the coconut milk to one side in a small jug, and put the rest in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with the sugar and salt. Bring this slowly to simmering point. In the meantime whisk the cornflour into the jug of reserved coconut milk. When the milk is hot whisk in the cornflour mixture and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until it has thickened and easily coats the back of the spoon. Now cool this custard like mixture and then chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Follow your ice cream maker’s instructions for how to churn ice cream. In mine (a Cuisinart) the bowl is chilled for 24 hours before placing in the machine. You then pop in the blade, turn it on, pour the cooled custard in through the top and let it churn for around 20-30 minutes. Mine was a little stiffer than soft serve after this time, so I put it in the freezer to firm up a touch more.
For the sandwich cookies
Prep time 20-30 minutes Cook time 8 minutes per batch Makes 8 servings (16 cookies in total)
Preheat the oven to 150ºC fan-assisted
- 24g brown rice flour
- 24g sweet rice flour
- 24g sorghum flour
- 24g potato starch
- 24g tapioca flour
- 15g cocoa powder
- 55g light brown sugar
- 25g granulated sugar
- ½ tsp whole psyllium husk
- pinch salt
- 21g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 36g vegetable shortening, melted and cooled (I used Trex)
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
In a large bowl combine the flours, starches, cocoa powder and sugars, along with the pinch of salt and psyllium husk. Mix well. Now add the cooled, melted butter and shortening, the beaten egg and vanilla extract and mix to form a ball of dough. The easiest way I found to cut the cookies out was using a silicon mat and a sheet of cling film. Place the dough on the silicon mat and cover with a sheet of cling film about the same size as the mat. Roll out the dough between these two until it is about ¼” thick and then slide the mat carefully, with the cling film still on top, onto a baking sheet. Place this in the freezer to firm up for 10 minutes (or longer if necessary – until firm enough to cut through without sticking to the cutter but not so hard you can’t cut through it). Using a 3″ plain circular cookie cutter, cut out rounds at least ½” apart. Peel away the dough that sits between the circles and put to one side to re-roll. Using a cocktail stick poke five small holes evenly near the centre of each cookie and bake in the oven for 8 minutes (the top of the cookie should look mostly matt instead of shiny). Do not over bake or they will become too brittle for a successful ice cream sandwich. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and leave the cookies to cool and firm up before moving them. I use two silicon mats and two baking trays to cook all the mixture in two batches, one after the other, shaping the final scrapes of dough with my hands as a ‘tester’ for the cook!
Assembling the ice cream sandwiches
Remove the ice cream from the freezer and leave to soften for 5-10 minutes (depending on how hot the air temperature is). Scoop a large dollop of ice cream onto an upturned cookie, spreading it to the edges and levelling off as much as possible with a round ended knife. Add a second cookie on top and press down slightly to form a sandwich. Then run the knife quickly around the edge of the sandwich to trim any excess ice cream off before serving immediately.