Coconut Cookiewiches

Hola! Bonjour! Cheers!

It's been too long my friends. I've been absent from blogging due to summer travels (and some laziness) but after having spent two weeks in Europe I can assure you I am chock-full of new ideas. From Edinburgh to Barcelona and all the way to Paris, one thing I was sure to try in every city of my vacation was... ice cream!

Firstly, I have to confess that "coconut" may be a little misleading of a description but I had to cue you in to the fact that these delightful little nuggets are [insert drum roll here] DAIRY-FREE. That's right. You heard me. With the help of a couple of friends I actually made delicious, texturally sound cookies and ice cream without butter or cream. Who knew it was possible?! 

In case you missed it, Sunday was National Ice Cream Day. Not that I need a reason to celebrate ice cream but it did provide a little inspiration for the newest blog post. I love ice cream. It's quite possible that it's my favorite dessert of all time; even in the winter I am obsessed with the cold treat. However, while New York was experiencing a heat wave dairy sounded like the last thing I wanted to put in my belly. Hot weather and milk just don't mix! While I have tackled the idea of a coconut milk ice cream before I have to say I think this peanut butter blend gets the blue ribbon.

My dear, fellow-baking obsessed friend, Laura Boyd, and I decided that since we were going with a dairy free ice cream we wanted to also create a cookie that would fair well with the lactose intolerant people out there. No taste compromise allowed.  After cueing in our vegan baker friend Abby she let us know that we could simply replace the butter of a cookie recipe with, you guessed it, coconut oil! We settled upon a compost-style cookie with salty pretzels, chocolate chunks and peanut butter bits to sandwich our coconut-milk peanut butter ice cream. I was kind of blown away with how good they turned out. I am a firm believer in butter being a bakers best friend but it is possible to find a substitute when you're less dairy inclined. I hate to slap the word "healthier" on this cookie, because coconut oil is certainly not low in fat, but it does provide an alternative option. Don't you just want to bite into one?

Keep in mind, cookies are best enjoyed one after the other. Yum! 

Coconut Milk Peanut Butter Ice Cream

3 1/4 cups full-fat canned coconut milk, mixed well so it's not separated1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup creamy peanut butter

In a cereal bowl whisk together 2 tablespoons of coconut milk and your cornstarch until smooth. Put aside for later use.

In a large saucepan combine coconut milk, sugar and corn syrup, stirring until smooth. Turn on medium heat and bring to a boil.Pay close attention on the liquid because if it gets too hot, it will boil up and over super fast! Once it comes to that point, slightly reduce heat and keep at a low boil for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Very slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture while over a low heat. Once cornstarch is combined whisk in peanut butter and bring the ice cream base to a boil again.  Turn off heat immediately once it thickens slightly. This only took about one to two minutes.

Fill a large bowl halfway with ice and cold water. Remove the coconut milk mixture from heat and pour it into a smaller bowl inside of the ice bowl. It's kind of like a double boiler; meaning you don't want the ice cream base to actually touch the ice water, just for the ice water to cool the hot coconut cream down. After 30 minutes, or when the base is cooler to the touch, cover and refrigerate for four to eight hours. 

Finally churn your ice cream according to your ice cream makers instructions. I churned on my cuisinart for approximately 30 minutes or until the ice cream was smooth and creamy. You don't want to overchurn and make the ice cream icy. Place in an airtight container and let the ice cream freeze for four to eight hours before enjoying. It is particularly delicious sandwiched between two salty-sweet cookies.

Compost Coconut Cookie

1 cup coconut oil 
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup crushed salted pretzels
1 cup dark chocolate chunks
1 cup Reese's peanut butter chips 

In a mixing bowl whip together coconut oil and sugars with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. This should take just a few minutes. Add in eggs, one at a time and blend until smooth. Next, beat in your vanilla and baking soda. Sift in flour, about 1/2 a cup at time. Adding a little at a time simply prevents a flour explosion on your counters. Finally, turn off your hand mixer and stir in chocolate, chips, and pretzels. I have a feeling this would also be tasty with potato chips and sprinkles mixed in... Your call. Place dough in the refrigerator for ten minutes to chill while your oven heats up to 325°F. 

Line a baking sheet with silicone or parchment paper. Scoop 1 in. balls of cookie dough evenly on tray. A half-size baking sheet should fit about 12 cookies. Bake in oven at 325°F for 8 to ten minutes. Do not wait for cookies to get golden brown! You want the to stay light brown in color and slightly squishy so the finished product is chewy and soft. Trust me. Better cookiewich. 

Let cookies cool for twenty to thirty minutes before sandwiching your ice cream and enjoy!