These dairy-free and gluten-free Mint & Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies are out-of-this-world-good. Crisp, chewy cookies sandwich the most luscious, creamy, naturally sweetened mint ice cream made with both coconut milk and almond milk.
It feels silly to share a dessert when the world seems so salty lately. The increasing negativity makes my day job, and this side hustle, all seem a bit silly. Developing recipes for my day job, then coming home to develop and write more, leaves me thinking, “what gives”? And “does this really matter?” My recipes aren’t changing the world and they aren’t spreading peace amidst so much hatred. Sure, they may prove to be helpful or educational, and I assume many of you who visit ZK come for entertainment and inspiration. But I can’t seem to shake the guilt I sometimes feel for having chosen a career that can often be defined as trivial, lacking importance, or doesn’t better the world. I sit with this feeling a lot and often have to convince myself to crawl out of that space simply for my own mental health.
I received a text this morning from my sister that took me back to that space, but with a different mindset. For someone who is generally optimistic, giving, and full of service, she carried immense frustration and desperation in her words. “Why is everyone so deeply angry? Yoga, meditation, wine, exercise, and good food…this is my prescription to solve this problem.” And although I know wounds run deep through people of this country—and rightfully so—I do believe that good food can bring people together. I believe that the practice of creating, cooking, and sharing a meal with someone, or a group of people, may not completely heal wounds or solidify bridges, but it does bring people together through a common experience.
When we sit down at a table, instead of shouting, we have a conversation. Instead of punching, we pass plates. Instead of taking, we give. Let’s make good, wholesome food and share it with our neighbors whom we don’t see eye to eye with. We can choose to sit around a table and listen to both sides, agreeing to disagree, while vowing not to hold those differences in vain. Let’s do our best to put ourselves in other people’s shoes while being proud and owning our own stories. I truly believe that food can heal just about anything in this world, we just have to make the effort to do so. I hope we can start to put down the hateful words, the weapons, and the armor, and pick up our plates and forks and share a meal. It’s at least worth a try, we can all agree on that.
On a lighter note…homemade ice cream is always better, I think we can all agree on that too. And this dairy-free mint ice cream is so creamy and luscious, you’d never know there wasn’t cream in it. With a faint green tint, thanks to fresh mint and matcha, it’s also pretty beautiful too. Although the ice cream is vegan, the cookies aren’t, so if you’re looking to make it vegan, try a different cookie, or eat the ice cream alone.
If you don’t mind a little egg white in you life, well then I highly encourage making a batch of these heaven-on-earth-cookies. They’re so good, chewy, nutty, and incredibly easy to make—I swear, you can make them blindfolded. I developed this recipe with my Dad’s birthday in mind, a hybrid of his favorite things, and they were a hit. Through my testing I found that these ice cream sandwiches benefit from being assembled and frozen within a day or so of the cookies being baked . This ensures they retain a crispy-chewy texture rather than just a crispy one.
Chewy Chocolate-Walnut Cookies:
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups walnut halves, toasted and roughly chopped
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Mint Ice Cream:
- 2 cans coconut milk (13.66 ounces), refrigerated
- 2 cups vanilla almond milk (Califia Almond Milk works best here due to its creamy texture)
- 6 medjool dates, pitted (¾ cup)
- 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves, divided
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch
- 1 tablespoon matcha powder (optional)
Chewy Chocolate-Walnut Cookies:
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two to three rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Sift sugar and cocoa powder into a large bowl, add salt and walnuts and stir to combine. Whisk together egg whites and vanilla until foamy, then add to sugar mixture and stir until completely combined.
- Scoop batter onto prepared baking sheets in mounds of 2 level tablespoons each, arranged at least two inches apart (6-7 cookies per sheet).
- Bake cookies until puffed, tops look glossy (but not wet), and have cracks, 13–15 minutes, rotating halfway through. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks and cool 5 minutes, then gently transfer cookies from sheets to wire racks and cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter.
Mint Ice Cream:
- Scrape the thick, white layer of coconut milk fat off the top of the cans of coconut milk and transfer to a large saucepan, discard the opaque liquid. Add almond milk, dates, ½ cup mint leaves, honey, and salt to saucepan. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook 5 minutes then remove from heat. Let steep 15 minutes then remove and discard mint. Transfer mixture to a blender with remaining ½ cup mint and blend until smooth (if using a standard blender, blend mixture in two batches).
- Transfer all but 2 tablespoons of the blended mixture back to the saucepan. Bring mixture to a low simmer over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Whisk the 2 tablespoons of reserved mixture with arrowroot starch, then whisk into simmering mixture and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute more until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in matcha, if using. Transfer mixture to an airtight container and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.
- When ready, transfer mixture to the bowl of you ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's instructions, it should look like soft serve ice cream. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until firm, about 2 hours.
- When ready, scoop a scant ⅓ cup of ice cream onto bottom side of half of the cookies, then place remaining cookies, bottom side down, on top of ice cream and gently press to even out ice cream layer. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.
- Let ice cream sandwiches sit at room temperature 5 minutes before serving.
Assembled ice cream sandwich cookies keep frozen, in an airtight container, for up to 1 month.
For homemade ice cream or frozen yogurt I prefer, and love, my Cuisinart ice cream maker. If I have the room, I like to keep the freezer bowl in my freezer for the duration of the summer. That way, when I get a hankering for something cool and sweet I’ve got everything ready!