Sweet Musings with a Bitterly Sharp Wit

Wild, Wild Digest


Naming recipes is an art, not a science, which leads many a cook to take quite a few liberties when bestowing titles upon their finished culinary creations. Recklessly creative, these innovators often leave future generations scratching their heads, wondering how such a description might fit the dish, or what the story behind it might be. One of the greatest mysteries to date is likely the truth behind chess pie, but that’s an investigation for another day. Today, I’ve got cookies on my mind; cowboy cookies to be exact.

Let’s be honest here- A cowboy cookie is really an oatmeal cookie, jam-packed with sweet and crunchy goodies. Brown sugar gives the dough depth, flavoring the entire treat with a hint of bold molasses beneath all the flashy additions. Chocolate chips and nuts, often in the form of pecans or peanuts, are absolutely mandatory, but like all vintage recipes, there’s a good amount of dispute about the rest. Some are heavy-handed on the spice, while others abstain completely. Coconut shows up in most ingredient lists, but not all, so there’s a good bit of argument about that tropical intrusion, too. For the sake of simplicity, let’s just say that a proper cowboy cookie is an oat-based morsel that’s composed of more goodies than actual dough.

That comparatively insignificant amount of dough got me thinking about- What else?- Ice cream. Cookie dough ice cream, one of the great staples of any childhood food pyramid, this is a treat that is almost universally enjoyed, but rarely varied between producers. Even the classics could use a little updating from time to time, which is where that wild combination of oats and nuts comes into play. Accentuating the idea of coconut by placing the nuggets of tender dough in a creamy coconut milk base, it leaves the cookie pieces themselves free to hold on to even more toasted pecans. Likewise, extracting the chocolate chip portion and swirling it through the entire pint stracciatella-style gives you thin ribbons of crisp cacao in every bite.

Consider yourself warned: This ice cream is seriously loaded. It wouldn’t be terribly surprising to learn that it’s composed of equal parts ice cream and cookie bites, without counting the added chocolate chunks.

When all is said and done, finding yourself with a heaping cone-ful of this ice cream, concerns about the incongruous name will simply melt away. These questions matter less when you can instead call it “delicious,” and leave it at that.

Cowboy Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Cookie Dough:

3 Tablespoons Non-Dairy Margarine
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/3 Cup Coconut Flour
1/4 Cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats, Toasted*
1/4 Cup Chopped Pecans
2 Tablespoons Coconut Milk


3 Ounces (1/2 Cup) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, Melted


1 Batch French Vanilla Ice Cream from Vegan a la Mode (page 50), prepared with coconut milk for the non-dairy milk and oil instead of margarine; cooked, cooled, and unchurned

*To toast the oats, place them in a small skillet over medium heat, and shake them around over the flame for 5 – 10 minutes, until golden brown and aromatic. Remove the nutty-scented oats from the pan and let cool completely before using.

To make the cookie dough, place the margarine in the bowl of your stand mixer, and beat briefly with the paddle attachment to soften. Add in the brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and cinnamon, and cream everything together. Once the mixture is completely smooth and homogeneous, introduce the coconut flour, oats, and pecans next. Start to mix them in slowly, and drizzle in the coconut milk while the motor runs. Pause to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, until everything comes together into a cohesive dough. It will be fairly stiff, so allow enough time for it to absorb all of the liquid- Don’t be tempted to add more.

Scoop out pieces the size of marbles, and roll them into balls. Place the dough balls on a small sheet pan, and stash them in the freezer for at least 2 hours before churning your ice cream. This will ensure that they’re firm enough to withstand the mixing process without becoming smushed.

Churn the completed ice cream base in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When the ice cream is about 5 minutes away from finishing in the machine, melt the chocolate chips, and slowly drizzle the liquid chocolate in a thin stream directly into the ice cream machine. It will freeze instantly on the surface of the ice cream, and the turning paddle will break it up into nice little chips.

Transfer the ice cream into an air-tight container, tossing in a patchy layer of frozen cookie dough chunks in between each addition as you scoop the soft ice cream in. Store in the freezer, and let solidify for at least 3 hours before serving.

Makes About 1 Quart

Printable Recipe


Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

33 thoughts on “Wild, Wild Digest

  1. What a great sounding ice cream again Hannah! We don’t have coconut flour here but I guess I could use finely ground coconut should I make this.


  2. Ooh, I don’t care what it’s called, this is my kind of ice cream :)


  3. This sounds like heaven. It might partially be because I am starving, but it’s mostly due to the amazing combination of ingredients!
    Also, I don’t know if I told you before. But your french vanilla ice cream recipe is my new stand-by.


  4. This sounds wonderful. Equal parts ice cream and cookie bits sounds like the perfect ratio, in my book.

    And it hadn’t occurred to me that you can use an ice cream maker to create stracciatella– I’ll have to try that out!


  5. THIS is probably my fave recipe of ice cream that you’ve posted…what can I say, cookie dough is where it’s at for me and love that you used coconut flour & coconut milk in the base…yum!


  6. My boyfriend has a passion for making ice cream so I think I should send this recipe to him, ’cause if I do, I know what we’ll be eating all weekend long :))


  7. Cookie dough ice cream never looked so enticing – I’m dying just looking at it :D

    Choc Chip Uru


  8. AND just in time for our icecream scarfing season! Bravo Hannah! Maybe swapsie the pecans for macadamias…maybe up the spice a bit…I will try this one first and then I will experiment :)


    • Oh now THAT would be luxurious! I adore macadamias, but almost never use them anymore because the price has inflated so crazily. Forget the cowboys, that sounds even tastier!


      • Lol! I am going to plant a macadamia tree (or 5) on Serendipity Farm…why not? They are native to Australia after all! :) then I can eat ALL the macadamias that I like! I will even send you some (you should be about 60 by then) to use in your wonderful recipes for free lol ;)


      • No way, that would be a dream come true! We don’t get enough sun to grow zucchini, let alone macadamia nuts… The whole concept boggles my mind. I’m gonna hold you to that offer, since I did just open up a retirement account the other day, so I plan on sticking around that long at least to collect my money! Ha! ;)


      • Lol! I will leave a codicil in my will leaving you a stipend of Macadamias on a regular basis…must tell the son and heir about it ;)


  9. YUM! and what a cute and perfect name =D


  10. I will need a BIG scoop of that ice cream


  11. A friend of mine brought me back a cowboy chocolate bar from Arizona and it was basically what you described, a chocolate bar loaded with “sweet crunchy goodness.” I Googled cowboy chocolate bar before I ate because I had never heard of before. I did however eat the whole thing though, because it was so delicious!


  12. I can’t believe there hasn’t been a Cowboy Cookie Dough Ice Cream flavor before – it sounds and looks super yummy! :-)


  13. I really need a big scoop of that ice cream, looks absolutely delicious!


  14. oh boy. that is definitely going on my list of ice creams to make! even with the temperatures slowly dropping ;)


  15. Having never heard of cowboy cookies before, I sure diddlyo appreciate your definition at the beginning! And the sound of a jam-packed-with-goodies ice cream is mighty appealing, particularly because of my silly ole sensitive-to-cold teeth!


  16. gorgeous gorgeous ice cream! and congratulations on winning the 80 plates!


  17. Wow this is probably one of the most fantastic ice creams EVER. And so timely! I was tempted by a vegan cowboy cookie just last night…they’re calling to me…Clearly I must indulge ;)


  18. I love it! You know that I cannot find lactose free icecream here in HK. Your a life saver. Thanks for this very unique recipe. Take Care, BAM


  19. oh my gosh that looks incredible! i will totally be making this soon!


  20. cowboy cookies are one of my favorites and having those flavors in the form of an ice cream is like a dream come true…lol ;)


  21. This looks amazing! Cookie dough is such a classic, and I love what you did with it in this ice cream. :) Your photo is beautiful as well and definitely puts me in the ice cream mood.


  22. You can never have too much cookie dough and this looks right up my alley!


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  24. Hi Hannah,
    This recipe looks incredible and I can’t wait to try it. I want to make it in advance, so I was wondering if you had any advice on how long it would keep in the freezer.


    • It should easily keep for 1 – 2 months, but to ensure its longevity, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ice cream before sealing the container. That will help keep the air away and prevent freezer burn for at least 3 months. Enjoy!


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  26. I can safely say – you will not have issues for ice cream lasting 1-2 months. heh
    am making this now :) (You didn’t specify full fat/low fat coconut milk, so i used light milk to make the cookie balls – i don’t have a stand mixer so lots of arm work, and hand squishing), and a full/light milk combo. this is the richest french vanilla base EVER.

    i can’t wait to make the cowgirl (using cloves and cranberries) and using a white chocolate swirl :)


    • Ah, sorry for the ambiguity; I typically use full-fat coconut milk unless otherwise specified, but that base is already so rich that lite can absolutely work instead. I’m glad you didn’t get hung up on the details there! That cowgirl concept sounds AMAZING. Clearly, I need to get back to churning, too.


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