Fading sunlight highlights the bumpy gravel road, still slick from a quick cloud burst earlier in the day. Humidity hangs in the air like a thick cloud, plastering my hair against my sticky temples. Cavorting around with a pack of kids, we roam the streets, going nowhere but moving forward with youthful ambition. It’s getting late, but the day is just getting started for us, only a few hours out of bed, now growing hungry for something more than iced coffee. The siren song of an ice cream truck fails to lure us in; too juvenile for us sophisticated, independent teens. Marching out to the first mini-mart bearing a freezer chest by the register, we found our far more valuable plunder. Ice cream novelties sheathed in a simple chocolate coating, perched on short wooden sticks to grab and go, the impression of opulence shone from the ice-encrusted wrappers. One bite and the heat of the day was forgotten; it was a taste of pure bliss.
The Vanilla Island in Chocolate Bars by Coconut Bliss are not the ice cream treats of my childhood. Immediately those joyful memories flood back to overwhelm my senses when reunited with this classic combination, but the experience is easily surpassed. Gone is the comparatively waxy exterior, replaced by a shatteringly crisp dark chocolate shell, which gives way to a silky frozen custard filling. Madagascan vanilla provides a depth of flavor which is simultaneously rich, warm, and comforting when blended with the delicate sweetness of coconut milk. So smooth, so luxurious, just calling it an ice cream bar doesn’t do justice to its full splendor.
It feels like a crime to do anything but slowly savor that moment of bliss, to risk ruining something that’s already pretty much perfect. The good news is that with such a strong base, you truly can’t go wrong whether you choose to dress these treats up or keep it sweet and simple. Finding just the right balance between the two approaches, I was inspired by these new treasures, all grown up yet so nostalgic, to elevate another old-school favorite. This is not a plain old vanilla smoothie, but a legitimate drinkable dessert. Fine chunks of chocolate flakes swirl throughout every sip, instantly dissolving upon contact with the tongue, exploding with bittersweet flavor while relenting long enough for the vanilla base to shine, like the sun peeking out after a summer storm.
Trust me, it’s not a sacrifice to deviate from the original dessert… It’s a genuine upgrade that you owe to your taste buds.
2 Coconut Bliss Vanilla Island in Chocolate Bars
1 (5-Ounce) Container Vanilla Coconut Yogurt
1/4 Cup Coconut Milk
Simply pull the ice cream bars off their sticks and pop them into the blender along with the yogurt and coconut milk. Blend on low speed until creamy and thoroughly combined, but not completely smooth. Stop when there’s just a fine mix of chocolate chunks remaining in the mix, making sure that they’re all small enough to fit through a straw.
Divide between two glasses and top with coconut whipped cream and chocolate shavings, if desired. Follow your bliss and start sipping!