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Ice cream and chilled desserts

Cookies and coconut chai vegan ice cream

Prep time 15 minutes
yields 1 litre

Photography by Tracey Creed
Assisted by Amandine Paniagua
Recipe by Tracey Creed
Words by Tracey Creed


Published May 28 2019
Updated November 21 2019

Ingredients

150 ml filtered water
12 cup coconut sugar
2 tbsp loose leaf chai, we used Love Tea
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla powder
pinch of sea salt
2 frozen bananas
100 grams cookie pieces, we used 2 raw hazelnut chocolate cookies from Little Bird Organics

Method

To prepare the coconut chai syrup, in a small pan over medium-high heat, bring the water and coconut sugar to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Add your loose leaf chai tea and let infuse for 1 minute. Set aside to let cool.

Strain the resultant coconut chai syrup into a large bowl, stir in your coconut milk, vanilla and pinch of sea salt. Mix well until combined.

Pour the mixture into a small loaf tin or similar and freeze for 3-4 hours.

At the 3-4 hour mark, remove your ice cream from the freezer, allow 10 or so minutes to defrost and then break your mixture into chunks, transfer to a blender, add the frozen banana and blend.

Freeze for another 2-3 hours. Just prior to serving repeat the blending step, add the cookie bits, pulse a few times to incorporate the cookie pieces. Your ice cream should be super thick and creamy, ready to scoop.

A vegan ice cream version of cookies and cream, because I had a lot of cookies.

This cookies and coconut chai vegan ice cream was inspired by a desire to not let food go to waste. Several days prior I’d photographed ice cream cookie sandwiches for Little Bird Organics, the cookies had recently gone into commercial production and cookies sandwiched together with Coyo Salted Caramel Ice Cream seemed the appropriate way to communicate this public service announcement. This is also how I came to have in my possession several chocolate hazelnut cookies which I kept in the fridge for a couple of days still covered in ice cream with pieces of All Good Bananas.

I’d already taken to infusing a coconut ice cream base with ginger, vanilla, miso and figured I could use this base to introduce other flavours and cookies seemed obvious given I already had some version of cookies and cream in my fridge. This cookies and coconut chai ice cream is exactly what I’d hoped, like something you’d pay $13 a tub for. It’s creamy, delicious punctuated by chai, chocolate and hazelnut. It would not have been the same without the hundred or so grams of cookie pieces but you could do less, it would still be good.

I’m not one for having inessential equipment in the kitchen, though if I were to eat ice cream often enough I would consider an ice cream machine and if you have one you can skip the labour of love that is the repetitive freezing and blending rounds. You’d also omit the frozen banana. I honestly did not expect it to be so creamy with so few ingredients, and without an ice cream machine, but it is. And so while this recipe requires some effort, this cookies and coconut chia ice cream is severely worth it.

I found a partial box of Love Tea Original Loose Leaf Chai, enough for this recipe and not much else, you could use any chai or prepare your own. Not wanting the chai diluted out by the coconut cream I opted for a more concentrated infusion; it enhances without overpowering. For this recipe and all other ice creams I have prepared, I’ve used a 19.5 cm x 9.5 cm loaf tin, any container of similar dimensions would suffice, and depending on the cookie quantity - I used just over 100 grams, you’ll end up with approximately 1 litre.

Responsibility in food packaging

Recalling a conversation with Megan May, founder of Little Bird Organics some years back regarding packaging we discussed how important it was for brands to be responsible for the products they manufacture, process or retail and any associated packaging when they become waste. And that while it did cost more it was the right thing to do and at the same time equally disappointing that so few brands were prepared to accept responsibility for their product packaging, for their waste - prepared to sacrifice their margins. And so consequently, Little Bird Organics Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie and Double Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie packaging are home compostable, the packaging returned to the earth at the end of its’ useful life. At this point I am reminded of The Slow Factory manifesto - “Everything you make returns to the earth as food or poison,” and given long enough to consider this, it’s terrifying to comprehend the damage incessantly inflicted on our fragile environment and thus the implications.

Convenience culture and the global industrial food complex

According to Research and Markets the global market size of snack foods is projected to reach USD 219.6 billion in 2024. Previously bulk snack food packaging was the standard, expected that people would portion out products on their own, but apparently, people are prepared to pay a premium for snack foods that are already pre-portioned in single-serve packaging for their convenience. Read, more packaging. Such reports will site the market growth and that this growth is “primarily driven by factors such as changing lifestyles of the consumers worldwide,” - so what this tells us is that market forces do not shape our economy, our economy is shaped by individual and cultural attitudes. Attitudes that can be used to transform our economy.

Cheap ultra-processed snack foods, some of the finest examples of anti-environmentalism dominate the food supply. And shaping our broken global food system are corporations whose business models are based on highly profitable products that fund advertising campaigns, special interest lobbying and the present-day nutritional outputs of the global industrial food complex. Policy incentives reinforce the existing food system but so do our purchases.

Market growth for the plant-based snack industry continues to grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7 per cent from its current 2018 value of $31.8 billion. The report explains, “The growing trend for veganism and vegetarianism is further leading to the increasing demand for plant-based snacks and products.” It also credits the growing desire for vegan food to “Increasing concerns regarding animal welfare and treatment,” which “is considered to be another driver for the growth of plant-based snacks and products in developed economies.” Oatly increased production by 1,250%.

Culture shapes behaviour.

“Far from encouraging efficiency, markets have become the major driver of waste and inefficiency in developed countries. If we do away with the need to produce mountains of wasted resources, it will be simple to change our society in ways that will reduce the harm we do to the natural environment, improve our quality of life, create more jobs with more meaning and, most of all, give us more time to spend with the people, and on the things, we love the most.”

An extract of Richard Denniss’ Curing Affluenza: How to Buy Less Stuff and Save the World, published by Black Inc.

Anyone who creates a product should be responsible for that item when it is no longer in use - and this extends itself to the manufacturers and retailers. Following the French example, Extended Producer Responsibility legislation, requiring manufacturers, importers, distributors and brands to be responsible for the products they make or sell, and any associated packaging, when they become waste - which, while progressive, whether other nations adopt similar policies, is time that cannot be afforded by the constant and looming threat of climate change.

That is not to say we neglect personal responsibility but rather as individuals we focus on the power of the individual to make environmental impacts with small acts. What we consume can even work as an ecosystem corrective. Weighing personal convenience with our waste crisis is to prepare your own food where possible and to adopt a discerning approach to packaged foods - we decide how quickly we leave our wasteful convenience culture behind.

Everything we create is an effort to participate in a culture shift. All products featured are independently selected and curated by the authors, and we only feature items we use or would use ourselves that align with our values. As part of our business model, we do work with affiliates such as Amazon. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases if you decide to purchase through our links. The price would be the same to you either way, but if you find value in our work, then these affiliate links are a way to support it. We only recommend brands, makers and products we use - that we support. Transparency is important to us, so if you have any questions, please reach out to us.

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