It all started with the chocolate graham crackers. Sawyer turned to me at breakfast and asked, "Mommy, can we make cookies with the shapes?" A while back I bought a pack of 100 cookie cutters that helped for a while in getting Sawyer to eat when he was having a rough time getting motivated. You don't want french toast, eh? What about 'truck bites'?! Everything looks more appetizing to a two-year old boy when it is shaped like a car. But despite his eating difficulties from ages 1-2, one thing I have never had trouble getting Sawyer to eat is dough--cookie, bread, muffin, pancake--he would eat them all raw even when the cooked product was circumspect. So when I introduced Sawyer to the joy of combining eating cookie dough with making car shapes, he was hooked. On this particular day, I decided that we would try to make our own chocolate graham crackers, since they are hard to find at the store without high-fructose corn syrup and partially-hydrogenated soybean oil. I based the recipe on the one in the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Book, which makes for crackers that are not vegan and are too full of butter and sugar. We didn't roll our crackers thin enough, though, so they were more like cookies. But, oh, were they chocolatey!
Chocolate Graham Crackers
1. c. barley flour (could sub white or more whole wheat)
1 c. whole wheat pastry or white whole wheat flour
1 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. coconut sugar or brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. canola or melted coconut oil
1/3-1/2 c. non-dairy milk
1/4 c. agave or maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flours, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the oil, 1/3 c. non-dairy milk, and syrup. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry with a fork until thoroughly moistened and the dough can hold together in a ball like pie crust. Add additional milk if necessary to moisten. Knead the ball of dough a few times on a floured work surface, and then roll out; we did about 1/4 inch thickness, which made them more like cookies. You will need to be less lazy than I was and roll the dough our to about 1/8 inch thickness to get true crackers. If you are going to make the ice cream (see recipe that follows), then you will need to reserve 1/3 of the dough. Cut the dough into your desired shapes, place on the prepared baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven for about 10 mins for softer cookies, 12 mins for crisper ones.
The cookie/crackers were tasty, but we made far too many, and I even had extra dough left-over, so I needed to find a way to use the excess. Thus the ice cream was born. As a teenager I worked at Baskin Robbins, and, as if there weren't enough flavors there already, I would dream up new flavors I wished they had. One was mint chocolate cookie dough. This old fantasy came back to me when the leftover chocolate cookie dough in the freezer teamed up with Sawyer's penchant for green, and the new bottle of spirulina powder in the cupboard. How often had he asked me for green ice cream, and I hadn't had a way to satisfy his whim? Now, I had a natural source of green dye and the means to make the vegan mint chocolate cookie dough I had longer for all these years! The idea of using spirulina powder to make green mint ice cream is one I read in jae steele's Ripe from Around Here, but I do not like how the mint ice cream recipes in her book use water and coconut oil. That combination made for rock-hard ice cream that was too icy rather than creamy. Here is my version of non-dairy mint:
Mint Chocolate Cookie Dough Ice Cream
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1 c. plain non-dairy milk or additional coconut milk, if you want it super creamy
1/2 c. agave nectar
1-2 tsp. mint extract, to taste
1 tsp. spirulina powder (This made it pretty green; if you want a pale green color, use 1/2 tsp at the most)
Remaining cookie dough from the recipe above, about 1 cup
Blend the first 5 ingredients in a blender until fully combined, and then freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. Once the ice cream is getting firm, about five minutes before you would normally transfer it to the freezer, break the cookie dough into bite-sized pieces and slowly add them to the ice cream maker. Once they're all mixed up, place the ice cream in the freezer for a few hours to firm up. Here is what ours looked like right after I made it:
Here is what Abiline looked like eating it. I know, I'm terrible; starting her on chocolate so young. But I don't believe in the hypocrisy of denying my kids treats while I freely enjoy them. Most of what we eat is so wholesome anyways...Enough of my rationalizations.
There's no picture of Sawyer with a cone because, after all of his begging for green ice cream, I couldn't get him to touch it until it was in pie form. So on to the pie. I found myself with a lot of chocolate cookies and mint cookie dough ice cream, and I needed a dessert for a little dinner party we were having. With an extra layer of chocolate on top (topping inspired by a recipe in 500 Vegan Recipes), the combo was sooooo good. Sawyer actually had a moment of stunned silence when he tasted it; I think because he was expecting the worst but got the best.
Chocolate Mint Cookie Dough Ice Cream Pie
2 cups crushed chocolate graham cracker cookies
2 Tbsp. canola or coconut oil
2 Tbsp. agave or maple syrup
1 recipe chocolate mint cookie dough ice cream
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1 tbsp. Earth Balance margarine
1 c. vanilla non-dairy yogurt (I used home-made coconut milk yogurt)
1/4-1/2 tsp. mint extract, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9 " pie pan. Combine crushed graham crackers, oil and syrup until the crumbs are thoroughly moistened, and then press them evenly into the pie pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 mins, and allow to cool completely.
2. While the crust is cooling, melt the chocolate chips and Earth Balance in the microwave for 1 minute, and then stir with a fork until smooth. Buzz in a food processor with the yogurt and mint extract.
3. Once the crust is cool, take the ice cream out of the freezer and let it soften for a few minutes so that you can spread it over the crust. Scoop it into the crust, and smooth it out until it is an even layer. Spoon the chocolate topping onto the ice cream and smooth it out. Freeze the pie for at least 2 hours before serving to firm it up.