The grey clouds seem to have completely taken over the skies of Vancouver. It’s cloudy, rainy, cold and blah grey. And it’s been like this all week. You might ask – isn’t it always rainy in Vancouver? While our winter can be rainy, our spring and summer are usually bright and sunny. But it’s cold and yucky out. I’ve been wallowing in the lack of blue skies, seawall running, warm wind in my hair bike riding and vitamin D. Mother Nature has graced us with a few gorgeous sunny days, but it seems to only be an amuse bouche and I want more.
To get into the summer spirit, I sprinted to the first summer Trout Lake Farmers Market like all eager locavores ready to indulge in the tastes and flavours of summer. My dreams of farmers’ tables piled high with strawberries, blueberries and juicy peaches were a little far fetched. It’s not truly summer yet. Of course, I wasn’t disappointed in the local goodness available, but I do daydream of the sweet fruit delights that summer brings.
While I patiently wait for the sunshine and busy bees to bring us those delicious local berries and juicy apricots, I daydream of tasty memories from my travels in tropical countries. Slurping the fresh juicy flesh of sweet mangoes and licking creamy smooth coconut ice cream come to mind. To beat the rainy blues, I decided to combine these flavours for a tasty treat that’s bound to feel like summer before the sun’s even here for good! While we don’t grow mangoes here in Canada, they are in season elsewhere, abundantly available and deliciously sweet. Perfect for a pre-summer treat.
Dreaming of Summer Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes 12 treats.
Mango Coconut Ice Cream
3 cups mango, chopped (about 3-4 mangoes; I prefer the sweet Ataulfo mango, but frozen mango works well too)
½ cup sugar
400mL can coconut milk
2 tbsp lime juice
Prepare your ice cream maker by freezing overnight or longer so it’s frozen solid and ready to make delicious ice cream.
Puree chopped mango with the sugar in a food processor or blender until smooth. Transfer to a large measuring cup or bowl. Stir in coconut milk and lime juice. Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for freezing. This usually takes about 25-35 minutes. If the ice cream is still quite soft, place in the freezer for a few hours to firm up. The ice cream can be made a few days ahead if desired. Simply remove the ice cream from the freezer about 15-30 minutes before assembling the sandwiches to allow the ice cream to soften so it’s easy to handle.
Molasses & Ginger Cookies
You’ll need about 24-30 cookies. Feel free to use your own favourite gingersnap cookie recipe. This is one of my favourite gingersnap cookies because it’s a mix of traditional gingersnaps and gingerbread molasses cookies. This recipe is slightly modified from Whitewater Cooks with Friends cookbook. If you don’t have a copy of this cookbook already and love delicious food, it’s a must have. You won’t be disappointed.
1-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (regular all-purpose flour is fine too)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tbsp fresh gingerroot, peeled and finely grated
2 tsp candied ginger, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
3 tbsp molasses
3/4 cup large flake oats
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, all gingers, cloves and black pepper. Add melted butter, egg and molasses. Beat well. Add oats and stir just until incorporated.
Drop by tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Using the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar, flatten cookies to 1/4 inch thickness.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Let cool and transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. I like my cookies soft for ice cream sandwiches, so I slightly underbake them. You can easily increase the baking time to 15 minutes if you would like a crisper cookie.
Ice Cream Sandwich Assembly
Match closely sized and shaped cookies into pairs to create your ice cream sandwiches. I usually like to prepare my ice cream sandwiches a few hours before sharing them so the cookies have a little bit of time to soften. You can also prepare and enjoy immediately. Once cookies are paired up, scoop a big scoopful of slightly softened mango coconut ice cream between 2 paired cookies and press lightly together. You can use the side of a knife or back of a spoon to smooth out the sides if you like. If you are preparing them ahead of time, place assembled sandwiches on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and freeze for a couple of hours.
Bring on Summer!