In most parts of the US, Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the year's best weather, while Labor Day weekend marks the end. On the Gulf Coast, it's the other way around. Lovely warm springs give way to sticky hot summers after the first of June, while we get relief in the form of mild, balmy autumns beginning in mid-September or so. With winter so short it almost seems like autumn runs right into spring, there is a lot of lovely weather to enjoy here, just not when you expect it.
So, when most people are getting in their last cookout of the year right about now, all I can think of is cooling off. I recommend some ice cream as a great way to get some relief from the heat. Ice cream sandwiches are even better.
The ice cream is a variation on the vanilla from this post. I was hoping to drizzle in some chocolate syrup while my ice cream maker was running and have it remain a distinct chocolate ribbon but it completely blended in. It's still just as delicious this way, though! The cookies are the chocolate-chocolate chip cookies from Veganomicon, minus the chocolate chips and with added crushed peppermint.
Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Sandwiches
Make the cookies first and have them ready to go in the freezer. You'll have a few extra after making the ice cream sandwiches.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons ground flax seeds
1/2 cup almond or soy milk
1/4 cup crushed peppermint candies (about 10)
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Oil 2 large baking sheets. Unwrap the peppermint candies and place them in a bag. Use a rolling pin or other heavy object to crush the candies to a coarse powder.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the oil, sugar, flax seeds, and almond or soy milk. Beat until creamy.
Add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients and beat briefly. Add another third, and beat again briefly. Add the remaining dry ingredients and combine with a spoon. (Finishing the mixing by hand will help keep you from overbeating the dough.)
Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon out about 1-1/2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball with your hands. Once all of the balls are on the baking sheets, flatten each slightly with the bottom of a drinking glass. Sprinkle the crushed peppermints onto the top of the cookies and press lightly into place with the glass.
Bake for 10 minutes. Cool, then freeze. Makes about 32 cookies.
Chocolate-Peppermint Ice Cream
1 (13.5-ounce can) coconut milk, refrigerated for several hours
About 3 cups almond milk, divided use
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2-1/2 teaspoons corn starch or arrowroot starch
2 teaspoons good-quality vanilla extract
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies (about 20)
Carefully open can of coconut milk and scoop the solids off the top into a large measuring cup. Reserve the liquid for another use (like making curry or bread). Add enough almond milk to the coconut milk solids to make 3 cups. Transfer the coconut and almond milk to a heavy saucepan. Whisk in the sugar and salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until you see a little steam coming from the top of the milk, but don't bring to a boil.
Whisk together the corn starch or arrowroot starch with an extra 1/2 cup of almond milk. Add to the saucepan. Heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens slightly, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, cool to about room temperature, and refrigerate.
Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions. Spoon. ice cream onto a frozen cookie, top with another one and slip the ice cream sandwich into the freezer immediately. Repeat with remaining cookies and ice cream. Makes about 12.