Sunday, June 5, 2011

Vegan ice cream cake: peanut butter brownie

So you know how in the last ice cream cake post I made it sound like I wouldn't be making another one any time soon? Totally false. They're just so much fun to think about, fun to make, fun to eat...and LauraR's birthday is coming up so I even have a good excuse. After trying my peanut butter cup ice cream she requested another chocolate-peanut butter dessert, but also wanted something low on the lactose scale. So for a bit of a challenge, I decided to go vegan, but if you aren't serving actual vegans then I recommend adding the optional layer of extremely non-vegan chocolate truffle ice cream.

The dense, rich brownies are based on these, with the addition of crushed cookies because ice cream cakes are better with a bit of crunch. This convinced me that a straight coconut-milk ice cream could work, and the flaked chocolate method is like my mocha chip ice cream; a coconut flavor is present but the peanut butter and chocolate flavors dominate. The topping, similar to peanut butter cup filling but a bit goopier, is from a recipe that LauraK clipped from the Spokane newspaper.

(That plate is super weird isn't it? I didn't quite catch why the birthday girl's lab had that lying around.)

brownie base:

1/2 c coconut oil
1/2 c earth balance
4 oz dark chocolate (9 squares of TJs pound plus bar)
1 t vanilla
2 t instant espresso powder dissolved in 1/2 c hot water
1.5 c sugar
2 T flax seeds (ground)
6 T hot water
1 c cake or pastry flour
1 c whole wheat flour
3/4 c cocoa powder
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
2/3 c crushed chocolate cookies (from 8 TJs Joe-Joes, insides reserved)

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9" springform pan and a loaf pan. Combine the coconut oil, earth balance, chocolate, and vanilla in the top of a double boiler or equivalent, and stir until smooth. Stir in the coffee and sugar, remove from heat, and stir until the sugar is mostly dissolved.

In a little bowl, combine the flax seeds and hot water, and let sit while you make the batter. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (flour through salt), then stir in the chocolate mixture until just combined. The flax seed egg replacer should be thick by now; stir it into the rest of the batter along with the cookies. Divide between the two pans, giving them the same depth of batter, and bake for 35 min. When cool, eat the brownies in the loaf pan, and save the 9" round for the ice cream cake.

peanut butter chip ice cream:

2 14-oz cans coconut milk (not the light kind! 14 g fat in 80 ml)
3/4 c peanut butter (creamy, no-stir)
3/4 c brown sugar
1 t vanilla
6.5 oz dark chocolate

Combine the coconut milk, peanut butter, and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Heat over medium and whisk until smooth. Keep heating until it starts simmering, then keep heating and whisking for 5 or more minutes until the mixture becomes quite thick. Pour through a strainer into a large bowl and let cool on the counter for a while. A skin of peanut butter gunk and other oils will form on top as it cools, but if you whisk it everything with become lovely and smooth again (the picture is from after this whisking, note how thick it is). When it's cooled to room temperature, cover and chill in the fridge for several hours.

Shave the chocolate with a large sharp knife on a large cutting board. Churn the peanut butter mixture for 10 minutes, add the chocolate, and churn for 5 more minutes. (Turns out the chocolate puts this slightly over the capacity of my 3-pint ice cream maker, but not catastrophically so.) Scoop into a large flat tupperware and freeze.

peanut butter cup topping:

12 graham crackers
2/3 c powdered sugar
insides of 8 TJs Joe-Joes
1/3 c earth balance, softened
3/4 c chunky peanut butter

Grind the graham crackers in the food processor. Add the other ingredients in order, pulsing until smooth after each addition and scraping down the sides.


Have on hand a 9" springform pan, some plastic wrap, a cold brownie layer, frozen then softened ice cream, and the topping. Line the pan with plastic wrap and place the brownie on the base. Snap on the sides of the pan, draping the plastic wrap over the sides. Scoop on lots of ice cream (I used about 3/4 of the batch) and even out the top. Spread on a thin even layer of the peanut butter topping. Fold the plastic wrap over the top to seal against freezer-burn and keep in the freezer until ready to serve.

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