vegan cookie dough ice cream


We're just just starting to hit the beginning of warm weather. I just came back from a week-long stint in Phoenix. The desert gives you unrealistic expectations of where the rest of the world should be, let me tell you. And even though it hasn't quite reached summer-mode here (or, you know, summer), we're starting to hit our shorts-and-a-light-jacket-at-night stride which of course often includes another warm weather staple: ice cream.

Now, I've eaten ice cream in mid-January. Outside, no less. Teeth chattering won't keep me from the good stuff. But warm weather marks a time when it's not only safe to have a frozen treat but a time to make your own. That and I just got my replacement attachment for my stand mixer. Thanks, KitchenAid!

So not only were we marking the start of another season, but we were christening the brand new mixer attachment (yes) and the flavor choice was crucial. So many directions to go: but which one? I ended up on an undeniable classic: cookie dough. Classic as it may be, it also presented a bit of a vegan-workaround challenge. The vegan ice cream base has pretty much become one of those things I can make half-asleep and blindfolded. But the cookie dough chunks were something else. Not that your basic chocolate chip cookie batter is all that complicated, but it just added a little something extra (special) to the process.

For this recipe, you'll need:

For the ice cream base:

2 15-ounce cans of coconut milk (1 full fat, 1 light)
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot

For the cookie dough chunks:

1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

You want to start by preparing the cookie dough. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the coconut oil and both sugars. And in your milk, flaxseed meal and vanilla and beat together until well incorporated, about one minute.

In a separate bowl, whisk together your flour, salt and baking soda. Add in your dry ingredients to your wet, in two to three increments if you're not looking to make your life harder. Fold in your chocolate chips. 

Separate your dough into tiny bite-size chunks. Place on a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper, again, to make your life easier) and place in the freezer for 1-2 hours. BONUS: If you don't plan on using all of your cookie dough in your ice cream (because you won't really need all of it), you can bake some into actual cookies for about 12-13 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Or, you can freeze cookie-sized chunks and bake on demand, adding about 2 minutes to your cook time. 

In the meantime, prepare your ice cream base. Add your coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla extract to a medium stockpot over medium heat. Whisk together until the sugar has melted (or no longer feels gritty).

Spoon out a few tablespoons of your warm base into a separate small bowl. Stir in your arrowroot until smooth. Bring your mixture to a gentle, barely-there simmer, whisk in your arrowroot mixture and then remove your stockpot from the heat. Allow to sit and cool for one hour. Transfer to a bowl, cover well and store in the back of the refrigerator for at least four hours or up to overnight.

Once your base has properly chilled, it's time to churn. I started this early in the morning so we could have ice cream later that evening, but it also works to get it done the day before for an impressive homemade dessert the next day. Using your ice cream maker of choice, churn the cooled mixture until about doubled in size and the texture of soft ice cream.

Transfer to a freezer-safe container. Between layers, sprinkle a generous handful of frozen cookie dough chunks (and additional chocolate chips, just for fun). Transfer to the back of the freezer until solid and scoop-able, at least two hours.