When I was a kid, one of my favorite desserts was astronaut ice cream: the dehydrated treat sold at science museums and outdoorsy shops as a trifecta of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, and also as a vanilla bar with a chocolate cookie outside. (I actually still love the stuff!)
Years back, Whole Foods started selling freeze-dried fruit and I started adding the crunchy fruit to chia pudding and bringing it on planes as an easy snack. The great thing about freeze-dried fruit is that through the freeze-drying process, the fruit’s flavor becomes concentrated and you end up with a flavor-packed version of the original — and when you pop it into a food processor, you get a richly-flavored fruit dust.
At home I’ve been playing around with different types of vegan ice cream and wanted to create a unique ice cream sandwich that incorporated two of my favorite harmonious flavors: strawberry and matcha. Rather than simply make a strawberry ice cream, I decided to incorporate the strawberry into the cookie base, leaving both the matcha and vanilla bean to each stand in as the creamy cold filling.
STRAWBERRY COOKIE INGREDIENTS
1 cup Freeze-Dried Strawberries
2 cups Unsweetened Dried Shredded Coconut
1½ cup Dates, pitted
½ cup Buckwheat Groats, toasted
¼ teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1 tablespoon Coconut Oil, melted
STRAWBERRY COOKIE ASSEMBLY
1 | Add strawberries to a food processor, blending until they have turned into a fine powder.
2 | Add shredded coconut, dates, buckwheat, salt, vanilla, and coconut oil and blend until the mixture is broken down and begins to stick together (about 1 minute).
3 | Pour half of the strawberry-coconut mixture into the bottom of a 6×8-inch pan lined with plastic wrap, and, using the back of a spoon or your hands, press the mixture into the bottom of the pan to form an even layer.
4 | Transfer to a freezer until frozen (about 20 minutes).
MATCHA ICE CREAM INGREDIENTS
2 cups Raw Organic Cashews, soaked in water overnight
¾ cup Virgin Coconut Oil
6 tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
½ cup Coconut Palm Syrup
1 Vanilla Bean, seeds scraped out
1½ teaspoon Matcha Powder
3 Frozen Strawberries, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon Salt
MATCHA ICE CREAM ASSEMBLY
1 | Add cashews, coconut oil, lime juice, coconut palm syrup, and vanilla bean seeds to food processor and blend until a smooth cream forms (about 1 minute).
2 | Pour half of the vanilla cream into a bowl and reserve.
3 | Meanwhile, add matcha powder to the remaining cream in the processor and process until combined (about 30 seconds).
STRAWBERRY AND MATCHA ICE CREAM SANDWICH ASSEMBLY
1 | Remove the pan with the strawberry cookie base from the freezer.
2 | Pour half of the reserved vanilla cream (without the matcha) atop the cookie base and, using a knife, spread to form an even layer.
3 | Add frozen strawberry pieces to the top of the cream, using your fingers or a spoon to lightly press in.
4 | Top with the remaining half of the vanilla cream and, using a knife, spread top to form an even layer.
5 | Return to the freezer until the cream is frozen (about one hour). Once frozen, remove it from the pan using plastic wrap, and wrap tightly with more wrap and return to freezer.
6 | Meanwhile, add a second piece of plastic wrap to the bottom of the pan. Using the back of a spoon or your hands, press remaining strawberry-coconut mixture into the bottom of the pan to form an even layer.
7 | Transfer to a freezer until frozen (about 20 minutes).
8 | Remove it from the freezer and pour matcha cream atop, using a knife to spread and form an even layer. Return to freezer until frozen (about one hour).
9 | Remove both the frozen matcha cream portions and the original vanilla cream portion from the freezer.
10 | Remove the plastic wrap from the vanilla cream and invert atop the matcha cream in the pan so that the vanilla cream and matcha cream stick together and are sandwiched between the strawberry cookie outside.
11 | Press together, and then return to the freezer and freeze overnight. When ready to serve, cut into desired shapes.
*Makes 16 two-inch triangles.
Kat Odell is the entrepreneur behind the plant-based food and drink brand, Unicorn Food, as well as a food and travel journalist. She was the inaugural editor of Eater Drinks, and was the editor of Eater LA for five years. She has been published in Vogue, New York Times’ T magazine, Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Bon Appetit, amongst others. She has also served as a judge and expert at a variety of food-related events. Kat Odell and Unicorn Food can be found at @kat_odell and @unicornfoods.