Coconut and Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwiches (vegan, gluten and refined sugar free)

Vegan, Gluten and Refined Sugar Free
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Check out my new title! Isn’t it beautiful?! My amazing friend Lilli designed and drew it for me in exchange for some homemade cinnamon buns. She is an art student and anyone wanting some sweet web design, leave a comment below for contact details. She does portraits, Henna at Glebe Markets on occasion, paintings, sculptures and jewellery too, because being good at one or two things just isn’t enough for that girl. (Check out these buns omg….)
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You may have noticed I got rid of the ‘recipes from a home kitchen’ bit. Why you may wonder? Why the hell was it there in the first place is my question. “Recipes from a home kitchen”? What does that even mean? Where else would they be from?? Someone else’s kitchen? I don’t even remember what was going through my mind at the time when I wrote that but I think I just thought it sounded like something someone would have on their blog. 

Plain old “Sugar and Cinnamon” seems better I think. It’s funny that that’s the title and that’s what Lilli wanted as her number one dessert, sugar and cinnamon buns. Maybe after drawing and painting the words ten times she got a mad craving for some hot sugar and cinnamon pastry. I don’t know why I keep talking about the cinnamon buns because that’s not even what I’m posting about. I copied the recipe directly so it’s not like I could blog about it! (I got it from Poires au Chocolat and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll leave this blog and get your ass over there for some hot, buttery goodness). So instead I’m sharing with you the most delicious vegan, gluten, and refined sugar free ice cream sandwiches known to man. 

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The biscuits are awesome. If you’re gluten free, vegan, sugar intolerant, or if you LOVE COOKIES! Then you’ll love these biscuits. They taste so indulgent. They’re soft on the inside, crispy and super coconutty. There’s a lot of coconut action going on in there, with coconut butter, milk and flour, so it’s a good thing to like coconut before you get involved with these. 

I’m really unused to cooking with coconut products so I’m always pretty nervous before beginning. Especially when baking without eggs and gluten! But these cookies were so easy to make. And they’re easier to shape than chocolate chip cookies! What’s that about?!?!?! You can flatten them down if you want crispy cookies for crunching up over the ice cream, or you can leave them thicker for making sandwiches or eating with tea. They don’t spread too much so it’s up to you! 

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Now on to the ice cream. This ice cream is infused with an entire vanilla pod and seeds for an hour, giving it the most aromatic perfume and sweetness. There’s only three ingredients! So you really have no excuse not to make it. I used one can of coconut cream and one can of coconut milk, and it turned out creamy but still quite light tasting. You can use just milk (or just cream for all you gluttons) if you prefer, but don’t use “light” coconut milk because you’ll be left with a bland tasting coconut ice block. 

Coconut milk is a God-send for people that can’t eat regular dairy because it’s so creamy! Perfect for substituting in desserts, creams and ice creams. It’s also really good for you, despite what some people claim about the saturated fat content. Saturated fat is present in dairy cream and milk anyway so I’m not sure why people make coconut out as the devil’s food. 

You don’t have to use this ice cream just for sandwiches. There will be leftovers unless you double the cookies, and it’s delicious over tropical fruit, a crumble, or just on its own as well. If you’re like me and hate wastage, take out two tablespoons of the coconut milk before you make the ice cream and keep it for the biscuits, that way you won’t have to open another can. Remember to take it out of the freezer about half an hour before you want to eat it so it’s nice and soft! IMG_6346

Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream: Adapted from GI 365

800ml (3 +1/4 cups) coconut milk (or half cream)

300ml (3/4 cup + 2 tbsp) runny honey or maple syrup

1 vanilla pod, or two tsp vanilla extract

Pour the coconut milk into a medium saucepan and scrape in the vanilla seeds. Drop in the pod as well and bring to a simmer over a low heat. Once scalded, allow to cool completely and leave to infuse for at least an hour. 

Remove vanilla pod, dry and keep for another use. Chill the coconut mixture in the fridge overnight. Pour into an ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Leave in the freezer until the cookies are ready.

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Coconut Cookies: Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories

85g (1 cup) rolled oats

20g ( 1 tbsp) coconut flour

60g (4.5 tbsp) coconut butter, melted

40ml (3 tbsp) coconut milk

60ml (3 tbsp) runny honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Mix all the ingredients together well in a bowl. Spoon into 12 flattish mounds on tray and bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. They’ll harden up more once out of the oven but remember, they’re quite crumbly, so don’t try and move them from the tray right away. 

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Assemblage:

Take the ice cream out of the freezer as you put the cookies in the oven, giving it time to soften. Once the cookies are out and cool enough to handle, take a spoon and get a good scoop of ice cream on it. Using a knife, transfer the ice cream to one cookie. Use the knife to flatten the top layer of ice cream and melt it so it’s a bit sticky. Place the second cookie on this prepared surface and squeeze together slightly so the cookies adheres to the ice cream. This method will ensure the cookie and ice cream are truly melded together. Place on baking paper in a cookie tin in the freezer, so that they don’t get flavoured by anything else in there at the same time. Eat within the month 🙂 IMG_6329

Cinnamon, Dark Chocolate and Berry Ice Cream Cake

Optional vegan

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I bloody loved Neapolitan ice cream when I was little. We always bought tubs when we went on summer holidays to the beach. By the end of the week there’d always be an empty hole in the middle where the chocolate had been, a half depleted strawberry and a barely touched vanilla. 

It’s funny remembering now because I don’t know why we always bought the Neapolitan tub for so many families and so many kids, when the only flavour anybody wanted was chocolate. Every time at the end of the week we’d have to throw out two or three containers of ice cream with only one third eaten. Why not just buy the plain chocolate? Were vanilla and strawberry ice creams somehow better for you?

I made this ice cream for my boyfriend’s birthday. And I just have to tell you, I’m not really bragging, but it’s the most incredibly amazing combination of ice creams in the entire world. My boyfriend is mildly lactose intolerant, but he loves ice cream and sorbet (and frozen yogurt, and milk…and cheese). I didn’t want to make three layers of cream-based ice creams and then have to watch him eat it and get sick, so two of the layers are sorbet! And the third is optionally vegan made with almond milk.

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The base is a rich brownie layer made from a Woman’s Weekly cheesecake brownie base recipe. You can sub in a natural nut and date base for a vegan option too. On top of this is a strawberry, raspberry and vanilla sorbet that is soo fresh and summery. The next layer is the richest dark chocolate sorbet in the world. Do you even have to ask where I got that recipe? Of course it’s David Lebovitz. I have never tasted a more delicious chocolate sorbet, even in a gelato shop, than this recipe. It’s so creamy considering there’s no milk! The real star of the show though, is the top layer. It was a little bit of a guess, informed by some reading here and there, but it was the most delicious ice cream flavour I’ve ever tried.

It’s basically a cinnamon ice, because there’s no custard involved. It sure freezes harder than ice cream but in an ice cream cake that’s a good thing, because by the time you come to cut it it’s soft and creamy. The two whole cinnamon sticks crushed in to the milk are so fragrant and really change this cake, so don’t leave out this flavour! Please!!!! A good tip for making homemade ice cream and using it for a cake, or just for plain eating- if you want it smooth and perfect consistency without the wait, just cut it up with a fork or knife and blend it for 30 seconds, return it to the freezer until ready to eat and enjoy smooth and creamy ice cream.

 Want to see some more great ice cream cake recipes?

If you want to construct a masterpiece from the ground up

For extra brownie layers

If the phrase “candied cocoa nibs” makes you drool

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 Cinnamon, Chocolate and Berry Ice Cream Cake:
Brownie base:Adapted from Women’s Weekly

120g (1 scant cup) dark chocolate, broken into chunks

100g (7 tbsp) butter, cut into chunks

200g (3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) white sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

120g (1 cup) plain flour

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 23cm cake tin with baking paper, right up the sides of the pan. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water, and stir to combine. Stir in the sugar and vanilla over a low heat and leave to cool. Sift the flour well. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs with the vanilla extract. Mix the eggs into the slightly cooled chocolate mixture, and then sift over the flour. Pour into tin and bake for about 10-12 minutes, until crispy on top. Allow to cool completely before adding any ice cream. 

OR: blend 1.5 cups walnuts with 1.5 cups medjool dates and 2 tablespoons cocoa powder for a raw and vegan base.

Strawberry and Raspberry Sorbet: Adapted from David Lebovitz

500g (around 3 cups, 1 pound) cut up strawberries

200g (1 cup) raspberries

150g 3/4 cup) sugar

1 tbs lemon juice

1.5 tsp vanilla paste

Cut up the berries and stir in all the ingredients. Leave to macerate for about an hour until all the sugar is dissolved. Chill for at least 8 hours and than freeze in an ice cream maker according to instructions. Once frozen, spread in an even layer over the brownie base and put back in the freezer. IMG_5741Chocolate Sorbet: From David Lebovitz

170g (1 3/4 cups) dark chocolate

550ml (2 +1/3 cups) water split into 375 ml (1.5 cups) and 125ml (1/2 cup) bowls

200g (3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) sugar

75g (2/3 cup) cocoa powder

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk 375ml (1.5) cups of water with the sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Bring to a boil and whisk frequently. Boil for about 1 minute until completely combined and glossy

Break up the chocolate in a bowl and set aside. Pour over the hot chocolate mixture and leave to melt. Stir together until completely incorporated, then stir in the rest of the water and the vanilla. Cool in the fridge over night then churn in ice cream machine. Spread in an even layer over the strawberry layer. 
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Cinnamon Sherbet:Guided by this recipe

 1 litre (1 + 1/3 quarts) full-fat almond or regular milk

150g (3/4 cup) sugar

2 cinnamon sticks, crushed

Heat the milk with the sugar and cinnamon until boiling. Leave to steep for about an hour. Strain out the cinnamon and chill for at least 8 hours. Freeze in ice cream machine and spread on the top layer. Freeze for at least 8 hours before cutting. 

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Berry and Lychee Vanilla Yogurt Cake (gluten and sugar free)

Gluten free and Refined Sugar Free

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Have you ever had a bite of something, and the smell or taste struck a memory really powerfully in your brain that you’d forgotten you’d ever had? This happens to me always in the strangest of reminders. Whenever I smell diesel and marigolds at the same time, my body physically relocates to New Dehli. Suddenly I see hundreds of colourful bodies carrying overflowing baskets of bright orange flowers on their backs, in between moving cars and spindly rickshaws and heavy, docile cows decorated in cloth. The smell of burning oil and fragrant spices and pollution comes back in waves and I’m left blinking, remembering images I’d seen and forgotten years ago when I was just a child.

It happens whenever I smell melted cheese and corn thins. I can hear faintly Ocean Girl playing on TV, and I can smell the earth and coffee scent that perfumed my Dad’s old house. Meaningless memories of my sister and I eating makeshift pizzas using corn crackers as bases and watching re-runs of the Simpsons, come creeping back to me.

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The same thing happened to me when I recently was eating a tub of froyo (don’t judge me! I may be mildly lactose intolerant and I may have limited funds but I will never stop eating froyo on a weekly basis!) and I ate a bite of the lychee topping. Suddenly I remembered the first dessert I ate as a child, tinned lychees with vanilla ice cream. Always with the red spoon. Always on the kitchen floor or under the table. I hadn’t thought of that dessert in years but after that bite I couldn’t get it out of my head. Out of that bite this cake was born.
In the centre, lychees are blended up with natural Greek yogurt and topped with a strawberry, raspberry, maple syrup and vanilla bean paste compote, then frozen until just set. It is so delicious! Like a tropical flavour bomb. Each layer has its own unique texture and there are so many flavours that somehow come together in the most perfect of ways. 

If you can’t tolerate sugar then it might be hard to find lychees that aren’t in sweetened syrup unless you can get fresh ones. The best thing to do would be to probably replace the lychees with something like banana or mango, that is sweet enough fresh by itself.IMG_5739

The topping is probably the best part, with the tangy raspberries softened by the maple syrup and the burst of vanilla paste. I used an entire teaspoon here because I got too excited, but the flavour spreads out over the entire cake so I don’t think I was being too generous.

Although the flavour profile here is a real winner, you could take this cake idea in so many different ways! There were so many different elements of inspiration for me but I will leave a few links to other alternative healthy cheesecakes that I have ogled at in the past few weeks:

For the classic baked lemon cheesecake

For something pretty and girly

For a vegan berry cheesecake 

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Berry and Lychee Vanilla Yogurt Cake: Inspired from here :
Crust:

300g (2 cups) dried organic apricots, soaked (if not organic, replace with dates)

185g (1.5 cups) walnuts

20g (1 tbsp) chia seeds

30g (1 heaped tbsp) desiccated coconut

45g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder

For the middle:

350g (1 + 3/4 cup or 1 tin)seeded lychees (if using tinned, drained)

500g (1 pound) natural Greek yogurt

250g (2 cups) mixed strawberries and raspberries

15 ml (1 tbsp) maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)

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 Soak the dried apricots for at least an hour before continuing. Note that normal dried apricots as opposed to organic are dried with sulphuric acid (the orange ones, not brown) and will be too sour. Replace with dates. In a blender blend all the ingredients for the crust. Line a 20cm pan with baking paper and press in the crust carefully with a spoon in an even base layer. Refrigerate until firm. 

For the middle, blend together the lychees and yogurt until combined. Pour over the chilled base. Refrigerate until slightly firm. Blend together the berries, maple syrup and vanilla and pour over the cake. Freeze overnight before serving. Remove from the freezer about half an hour before you want to eat it. 

To remove from the tin, place the tin in some warm water to loosen the sides before pushing out. Serve with fresh berries! 

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Rhubarb and Coconut Crumble Slice

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I have one thing to say about this cake. It made me do something I have done never before. Never. Before. I had just taken the first photo, picked up a knife to cut out an artful slice. Before I knew what was happening my camera had been flung to the side, I had grabbed a plate and was eating an enormous piece right there in the morning sunshine. It was glorious. 
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The base is a buttermilk cake that bakes into a deep, golden yellow full of lemon zest and cinnamon. On top of this, fresh rhubarb is chopped up with sweet and crisp apples. This is tossed with sugar and lemon juice so that it bakes into a sweet, jammy, tart centre. What makes this cake perfect though is the coconut and brown sugar topping, that bakes into a deep brown crunchy crumble. I ate it while it was still warm and the fruit juices were just starting to set into a ruby jelly around the edges. I made it to last a few days, and I’m sure it would have tasted lovely the next morning with some tea. Unfortunately everyone that’s walked through the door has taken one look and demanded a slice, and then looked up with exactly the same look of “whaaat is this slice TALKIN ABOUT.” Eight hours later there’s hardly any left.
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I read about this delicious recipe on Smitten Kitchen, and was drawn to it because of the huge bunch of rhubarb we had. Family friends recently gave us a bag full of lemons from their tree. The zest was so fragrant I increased the amount to two teaspoons and added lemon juice to the rhubarb and apple. The coconut in the topping was a little bit of an experiment, but I’m so glad I tried it. It makes the crumble chunky and crispy, and adds a tropical flavour. If you don’t have any rhubarb, stone fruits would work well instead. Apples could be nice except the sugar would have to be reduced, otherwise it might end up too sweet.
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Rhubarb and Coconut Crumble Slice: Adapted from here

500 grams (17.5 ounces, 1 pound) rhubarb, cut into 1cm chunks

2 small apples, peeled and cut into chunks

2 tsp lemon zest and the juice of the whole lemon

150 grams (2/3 cup) sugar + 100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar, separate

2 large eggs

110 grams (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter

165 grams (1 + 1/3 cups) plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

100ml (1/3 cup) buttermilk 

Toss the apple, rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice with 150g of the sugar and set aside. Preheat the oven to 165C and line a 20 by 25cm pan (also works with slightly larger) with baking paper so that the edges are overhanging. Beat the sugar and butter together until fluffy and light and slowly add the eggs one at a time. Whisk the flour, baking powder and cinnamon together and stir half into the mix, than stir in half the buttermilk. Repeat and mix until just combined. Pat into the pan with a spatula and pour the fruit on top evenly. 
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Topping:

50 grams plain flour

85 grams fine desiccated coconut

1 tsp cinnamon

50 grams brown sugar

55 grams butter, melted. 

Stir all the ingredients together until lumpy and toss over the fruit. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the top is golden and the cake is no longer crumby on a skewer. Allow to cool so the fruit is set before removing from the pan and cutting into slices. 

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