If you’re a coffee and ice cream lover, you NEED to make these coffee ice cream sandwiches. They’re really easy to make and taste absolutely incredible, with a soft, fluffy coffee sponge, a creamy no-churn coffee ice cream centre and a deliciously crisp, crunchy chocolate almond shell. Plus, they’re gluten and dairy free – not that you could possibly tell.
½tspxanthan gum(If your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan gum, reduce the amount to ¼ tsp.)
No-churn coffee ice cream:
5g(1 tbsp) instant coffee
250g(1 cup + 1½ tbsp) vegan heavy/double cream alternative, cold from the fridge, divided(I recommend using one with a fat content of about 30%. I used the Elmlea brand.)
200g(⅔ cup) vegan sweetened condensed milk, cold from the fridge(I used Nature’s Charm sweetened condensed coconut milk, but other vegan condensed milk alternatives will also work well.)
1tspvanilla bean paste(or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
5g(1 tbsp) instant coffee, crushed into a fine powder (optional)
Chocolate almond shell:
300g(10½ oz) dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa solids), chopped
40g(3 tbsp) refined coconut oil(measured when solid but scoopable)
80g(~½ cup) almonds, chopped
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line a 10x15-inch (25x38cm) rimmed baking sheet with parchment/baking paper. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the sides of the baking sheet with oil (you can also spray it with non-stick baking spray).Tip: Greasing the parchment paper ensures that the baked sponge will smoothly release from it without sticking too much.
Either in a small heatproof bowl in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stovetop, heat the coffee and non-dairy milk together, with occasional stirring, until the instant coffee granules have fully dissolved. Set aside to cool until lukewarm or at room temperature.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer fitted with the double beaters, whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale, thick, fluffy and about tripled in volume (the ribbon stage). This should take about 5-7 minutes on a high speed setting.
Add the vanilla and whisk until evenly distributed.
Add the melted butter, oil and cooled coffee, and whisk briefly until combined.
In a separate bowl, sift together the gluten free flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and whisk well for about 15-30 seconds until no flour clumps remain. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl to prevent any unmixed patches.
Transfer the batter into the lined baking sheet and smooth it out into an even layer. You can tap it a few times on the counter to make it perfectly level and also to get rid of any large trapped air pockets.Tip: It's very important that your batter is as level and even as you can get it, otherwise you'll get uneven layers in your ice cream sandwiches.
Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for about 10-12 minutes or until well risen, soft and spongy to the touch, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Allow the sponge to cool completely in the baking sheet.
Assembling the ice cream sandwiches - Part I:
Line an 8-inch (20cm) square baking tin with parchment/baking paper, aluminium foil or plastic wrap/cling film.Tip: The baking tin I used had a 7-inch (18cm) bottom, which made it the perfect fit for a sponge baked in a 10x15-inch (25x38cm) baking sheet. If your baking tin has straight edges and therefore an 8-inch (20cm) bottom the fit might be less perfect, but you'll trim the edges of your ice cream sandwich slab later on so it won't be a problem.
Turn the cooled sponge onto a large sheet of parchment/baking paper or onto your work surface, and peel away the top sheet of parchment/baking paper (that used to line the baking sheet).
Cut out two large sponge squares that fit the baking tin where you'll be assembling the ice cream sandwich slab.Tip: As I used a baking tin with a 7-inch (18cm) bottom, I cut out two 7-inch (18cm) squares of the coffee sponge.
Place one of the sponge squares on the bottom of the lined baking tin, then prepare the ice cream mixture.
No-churn coffee ice cream:
Either in a small heatproof bowl in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stovetop, heat the coffee (5g/1 tbsp, not the powdered one) and about 60g (4 tbsp) of the vegan heavy/double cream together, with occasional stirring, until the instant coffee granules have fully dissolved. Set aside to cool completely.
In a large bowl, whip the remaining cold vegan heavy/double cream until you get peaks that are as firm as possible. You can do this by hand using a large balloon whisk, with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer fitted with the double beaters.Tip: Vegan cream alternatives tend to whip up less effectively than regular dairy heavy/double cream. Even if you only get soft peaks after prolonged whisking, that's perfectly okay.
Add the vegan condensed milk and vanilla bean paste, and whisk again until you get soft peaks.
Add the coffee-cream mixture and whisk well until fully combined. Your mixture might have a looser, runnier consistency at this point – that's okay.
Optional: Add the crushed instant coffee powder and fold it into the ice cream mixture until evenly distributed.Tip: The crushed, powdered instant coffee really amps up the coffee flavour without further affecting the texture of the ice cream mixture.
Assembling the ice cream sandwiches - Part II:
Pour the no-churn ice cream mixture on top of the bottom sponge and smooth it out into an even layer.
Optional but recommended step: If your ice cream mixture is too runny at this point (so much so that the top sponge might sink into it), you can first freeze it without the top sponge for about 30-60 minutes or until the ice cream has partially firmed up. Only then proceed to the next step: placing the other sponge on top.Tip:Partially freezing the ice cream layer will prevent the top sponge from sinking into it – this is an optional step in case your ice cream mixture is too runny.
Gently place the other sponge square on top.
Cover the baking tin with plastic wrap/cling film or a sheet of aluminium foil and freeze for any least 6-8 hours or preferably overnight.
Once frozen solid, remove the ice cream sandwich slab from the baking tin and trim the edges with a large serrated knife. This will give you neater ice cream sandwiches.
Cut the frozen ice cream sandwich slab into the individual portions.I divided it into 8 rectangular slices (by cutting it in half in one direction and into quarters in the other direction), but you can also divide it into 16 smaller square portions.
Freeze the ice cream sandwiches again for about 30 minutes, while you prepare the chocolate almond shell.
Chocolate almond shell:
Line a tray or baking sheet (that fits into your freezer!) with plastic wrap/cling film, parchment/baking paper or aluminium foil.
In a small or medium-sized bowl, melt the chocolate and coconut oil together until the chocolate has fully melted and the mixture is runny.Tip:Don't use a large bowl, as that will give you a shallow "pool" of melted chocolate. You want the melted chocolate mixture to be quite deep, so you can easily dip the ice cream sandwiches into it.
Add the chopped almonds to the melted chocolate and mix well until evenly distributed.
Dip the frozen ice cream sandwiches, one at a time, into the melted chocolate mixture. Make sure that all sides are covered in chocolate. Shake off as much excess chocolate as you can – you want to get a thin chocolate coating (a thick shell can be a bit too hard when you bite into it).Tip: I recommend using a fork to lift the ice cream sandwiches out of the melted chocolate. Then, tap the fork on the side of the bowl to shake off and remove as much excess chocolate as possible.
Transfer the chocolate-covered ice cream sandwiches onto the lined tray or baking sheet. As the ice cream sandwiches are very cold, the chocolate should set fairly quickly.
Freeze the chocolate-covered ice cream sandwiches again for at least 1 hour before serving.
The gluten & dairy free coffee ice cream sandwiches keep well in a closed air-tight container in the freezer for up to about 1 month.
Recipe by The Loopy Whisk (www.theloopywhisk.com).