Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chocolate Orange Creamsicle Gone Raw... with cookies

When I saw that Lisa and Nicole had organized a new Raw Recipe Challenge, I knew it was time to roll up my sleeves, put on my apron, and sign up for my first ever recipe blog challenge. The challenge: A Raw Vegan Ice Cream Sandwich. The problem? I'm about the world's worst decision maker ever.

Step 1. Brainstorming

Here was the short list of what I considered creating:
  • A marzipan cookie with blueberry lavender ice cream (I already had the blueberry lavender ice cream down pat) but too dainty
  • A superfood cookie (goji berries, pistachios, mulberry) with a plain vanilla ice cream (it could have been really colorful and pretty) but potentially too expensive for recipe testers
  • A beet-juiced reddened maple cookie with maple ginger ice cream in honour of our upcoming Canada Day but too... patriotic? and maple syrup is an iffy raw ingredient.
  • A chocolate chipotle cookie with a vanilla spice-kissed ice cream... but potentially too spicy (we had made something similar before and was made for our spice loving palates, so the public didn't take it super well)
And the list goes on and on and on...
    I could have settled for good ol' cookies and cream, chocolate chip cookie with a rich coconut vanilla ice cream, or even oatmeal raisin, but Andrew gave me a suggestion that rang true. So I settled on something I've never done before:
    A Chocolate Orange Cookie with an Orange Creamsicle Filling.

    The result? It worked! The honest result? I'm not over the moon about it, but still pleased. In all fairness, and as I mention pretty much every time I talk about raw desserts, I'm neither a super huge fan of chocolate (even less so when it's flavoured) nor am I big on raw desserts.

    So why in the world would I make this you asked? Well, having dedicated the past week (and my forseeable life) to 811, this didn't exactly fall within the guidelines. My second reason? I'm still a total foodie at heart and love to make desserts for my favourite primate, so I usually go to him for guidance on what to make since he'll be the one eating all of this anyway!

    Step 2. Making the Cookie
    Ingredients
    1 C almonds, ground into flour
    2 heaping tablespoons of cacao powder
    3 small fresh dates*
    couple dashes of salt
    zest of 1 orange**
    juice of 1/4-1/2 a small orange

    *I used Mazafati dates, that were fresh & sticky enough that they didn't need to be soaked. They're about 1/2 the size of a Medjool for a measuring idea.
    ** Zest it well, 'til it's begging for mercy! That's where all the flavour is!


    1. Grind almonds in a food processor or Vitamix dry blender until it forms a flour.
    2. Add in the rest of the ingredients, but only the juice of 1/4 of the orange, and blend until it forms a soft dough ball (if you're using a Vitamix, switch to the wet blender). If it's still too dry or not orange-y enough, add the other 1/4 orange's juice (or another date if it's not sweet enough or still too dry).

    3. Chill the dough ball in the freezer for about 30 minutes (I added this step because mine was really sticky to work with).


    4. After 30 minutes, use the world's most brilliant tip I just learned from Nicole tonight: Flatten the dough out on a piece of parchment paper, place another piece on top, then using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into as thick a layer as you like. Take off the top parchment sheet and use a cookie cutter/mug/mason jar cap to cut out round cookie shapes. Transfer the cookies on the parchment paper back into the freezer while you make the ice cream to harden.

    Step 3. Making the Ice Cream
    Ingredients
    2 frozen bananas
    2 dried apricots, soaked
    1/4 C cashews
    1 heaping tablespoon of orange zest
    1 heaping tablespoon of coconut butter, soft/melted
    1 orange (I had chopped it and frozen it)
    1/2 vanilla bean pod
    dash of salt

    1. Throw everything into the Vitamix/high speed blender and power away until you get a soft serve like consistency.

    2. At this point you can either a) use your ice cream maker to turn it into ice cream b) pour it into an appropriate container and stick it in the freezer until it becomes ice cream, though this might not make it as creamy textured (might take another 30 minutes or so).

    3. In my case, use your mom's fabulously '70s ruby red Danvier ice cream maker until you get the desired texture.

    Step 4. Assemble & Savour

    (I just realized that there is no translation for the French term "déguster" in English.)

    To assemble, take the cookies out the freezer and spread however much ice cream you wish onto the bottom layer. (I used about 2/3 of the recipe because I wanted one big sandwich!) Place another cookie on top and gently press down. Refreeze the cookie sandwich for about another hour if you can wait. We couldn't and tried half after about 20 minutes and it melted really fast... Also, the orange flavour actually comes out more if you wait longer.

    The verdict? Andrew said the texture was great, like those Klondike ice cream sandwiches. Thing is, some ice cream sandwiches tend to have disproportionately hard cookie for how soft the ice cream is, so when you take a bite, the ice cream globs out the other end (I've been disallowed to use the term I actually thought of for that). This one worked out great though! Taste-wise, he liked it but said the cookie part was a little sweet/cloying (which is saying a lot for him) probably because of the dates, so there's room for improvement there if that's an issue for you!

    All in all, this has totally inspired me to try another dozen ice cream sandwich recipes, making both my inner chef and Andrew's tummy of an accord. Hope you enjoy it too!

    3 comments:

    1. All of your brainstorming ideas sound quite delicious, but the combination of chocolate and orange creamsicle filling is heaven on earth. I love the use of bananas and apricots in your ice cream recipe as well. Thank you for participating in the challenge!

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    2. A fantastic entry. I'm so glad Andrew inspired you to participate. The flavour combination you landed on sounds amazing. I also love your thought process in eliminating the other options - although, now I want to try many of them myself.

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    3. I'm loving the flavors of this one!! I just bookmarked it so I can make this ice cream, too! 

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