An Edible Adventure

Inspired by the call for adventurous chocolate recipes by the annual Chocolate Adventure Contest hosted by Scharffen Berger, the only restrictions were that it involve chocolate (naturally) and the results were presented in sandwich cookie format. Still buzzing with frozen dessert ideas after wrapping up Vegan a la Mode at the time, my thoughts naturally turned to ice cream.

Featuring cornmeal, coconut milk, and jalapeño as my adventuresome ingredients, it may not have placed in the contest, but it was still a big winner by my estimation. At the center of it all, rich, creamy chocolate ice cream is accented with a bright pop of fresh peppery spice, combining the contrasting sensations of hot and cold all in one taste. Each slab of the frozen dessert is wedged between two thick, chewy cornmeal blondies sprinkled with big chocolate chunks. While each component is drop-dead delicious separately, they create one truly memorable treat when eaten together in one bite.

Tex-Mex Ice Cream Sandwiches

Jalapeño Chocolate Ice Cream:

1 1/4 Cups Plain Almond Milk
1 14-Ounce Can (1 3/4 Cup) Coconut Milk
1 Large (Approximately 2 Ounces) Fresh Jalapeño Pepper, Finely Chopped
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup Natural Cocoa Powder
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1 Tablespoon Arrowroot
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/4 Cup Light Agave Nectar
3 Ounces Bittersweet Chocolate, Finely Chopped
1 Tablespoon Tequila (Optional)
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Cornmeal Chocolate Chunk Blondies:

1 1/2 Cups Yellow Cornmeal
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Soybean or Garbanzo Bean Flour
1 3/4 Cups Granulated Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric (Optional, for Color)
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Cup Semisweet Chocolate Baking Chunks
3/4 Cup Frozen Corn Kernels, Thawed
3/4 Cup Canola Oil
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar

For the ice cream, start by combining the almond milk, coconut milk, and jalapeño in a medium saucepan. Toss in the seeds and all, set it over moderate heat, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once bubbling vigorously, immediately turn off the heat, cover with the lid, and let infuse for about 2 hours. Strain, pressing all of the liquid out of the spent pepper, and discard the solids.

Whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, arrowroot, salt, and cayenne, adding in about 1/4 cup of the jalapeño milk and stir into a thick paste, beating out any lumps of starch. When smooth, incorporate the rest of the liquid, along with the agave, and whisk thoroughly to homogenize. whisk occasionally as it comes up to temperature. When bubbles begin forming around the edges of the liquid, add in the chocolate chips, and just let the mixture sit for 2 minutes, to allow the chocolate to begin melting.

Switch over to a wide spatula, and stir gently, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan, to make sure that nothing sticks and that the chocolate fully melts. Once the mixture comes up to a full boil, cook for just a minute or two longer, and as long as there are no more whole chocolate chips remaining, turn off the heat. Stir in the tequila (if using) and vanilla extract, and let cool completely before chilling thoroughly in the refrigerator; about 3 hours.

Churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once frozen but still soft, transfer the ice cream into an air-tight container and let set up more solidly in the freezer before assembling the sandwiches.

To prepare the blondies, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, sift together the cornmeal, all purpose flour, and soy or garbanzo flour, and whisk in the sugar, paprika, salt, turmeric, and baking powder. Toss the chocolate chunks around in the dry goods to distribute them throughout and coat them with flour. This will help to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the bars while baking. Set aside.

Place the corn, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and vinegar into your blender or food processor, and thoroughly puree. Pause to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture is completely smooth. Pour these wet goods into the bowl of dry, and with a wide spatula, gently stir the two together.

Transfer to your prepared pan, and spreading the batter out evenly into the corners and smoothing down the top with your spatula.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until the top of the blondies appears set is golden brown. Let cool before slicing.

When you’re ready to assemble to bars, line an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. Slice the full rectangle of baked blondies in half so that you’re left with two equal squares. Place one square into the prepared pan, lining it up flush with at least two of the pan’s sides. If there’s extra space between the other sides, construct a barrier with more foil and stand it up right next to the edge of the blondies. This will help prevent the ice cream from melting out initially.

Soften the ice cream slightly if needed, and mound it on top of the blondie square as evenly as possible. Working quickly, place the second half of the blondies on top, pressing down lightly to smooth the ice cream and adhere the sheet of cookies. Move the whole thing back into the freezer on a flat surface. Let freeze until very solid before slicing. The longer the better- At least overnight.

Finally, turn the entire affair out onto a large cutting board, and with a very sharp knife, slice into 12 – 16 sandwiches. Wrap individually in plastic wrap, or transfer into a spacious container with an air-tight lid. Store the sandwiches in the freezer until you’re ready to enjoy.

An alternate method for assembly: Slice the blondies into bars beforehand and store at room temperature in an air-tight container. Simply top a single bars with a scoop of ice cream when desired, and press a second blondie on top.

Makes 12 – 16 Ice Cream Sandwiches

Printable Recipe

37 thoughts on “An Edible Adventure

  1. Drool. I love spicy chocolate no matter how it’s prepared. My English BF thinks I’m crazy. NOt that I care since I’ll get all hot-choco. Thanks for the recipe I’m looking forward to devouring it!

  2. Yum!! So creative. I really like the cornmeal cookie part. I haven’t used cornmeal in anything except cornbread but it sounds like it’s worth trying in a dessert too! (And jalapeño ice cream?? I’m drooling!)

  3. Well the great news is that I can still read your posts via e-mail and this is one stellar different brownie! The bad news is you guessed it that there is something wrong with your host as I can’t get to your website. Did you put in a ticket with Blue host?


    1. So strange… I was on the phone with them twice and it seemed to be resolved. I can see the site fine from this end now, but it does seem to go on and offline periodically. Maybe next time you check back, it will randomly work again! Seems to be the luck of the draw for now… Hopefully it stabilizes ASAP.

  4. HOLY MOLY Hannah! (still haven’t worked out if this is how you spell holy moly but it will do for now ;) ) It is 5.51am, I have been up for 2 1/2 hours and it is pretty cold here in Tasmania Australia but my brain is on fire girl! These look absolutely amazing. There are no words for how amazing they look (apart from amazing of course ;) ) I am picking our own ripe red jalapeno chillies at the moment as they ripen and this recipe is going to be perfect for the next red one (due to be picked today). They take AGES to ripen but are worth every single hot sizzling bite and your wonderful creation is the perfect taste vehicle for my chilli. Cheers for an amazing recipe and if you don’t win, they are mad…MAD I tell you! :)

  5. If these taste half as good as they look they should have one first prize! It still bugs me when small, special companies like Scharffen Berger get bought by big nasties like Nestle, but I guess that’s the way things often go.

  6. Waw! This looks just fabuloue, Hannah!

    What a georgous & fingerlicking creation: all vegan too! :) You rock, girl! MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM! :)

  7. Everytime I spot one of your pictures on Finding Vegan, I immediately know: “Wow! That one’s from Hannah!” It’s really like you have your own handwriting in food photography. That’s wonderful. :)

    1. That seriously makes my day! We were just talking about how to distinguish yourself as a photographer in class, so the fact that you can pick out my photos is a very good sign. Thank you so much, that’s just the encouragement I needed right now. :)

  8. So fabulous! I just bought chickpea flour and made farinata with it, but I started to worry that I’d run out of uses for it. Definitely pinning these to make later! Although I’m not sure I’m brave enough to put the jalapeno in the ice cream…

  9. I was really excited when I ran across this recipe during the week and I knew I would be making at least the ice cream over the weekend. Lots of steps and time but SO worth it! I am in love. I made only a few adjustments, using all cornstarch since I don’t have arrowroot and also using vodka since I didn’t have tequila. Lastly, I melted some chocolate chips and mixed them with frozen raspberries to add a choco-berry swirl. Not many people are willing to try this flavor combo, which is fine because there’s more for me! Thanks for this creamy, intriguing vegan ice cream recipe.

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