Father's Day is around the corner - and I'll bet you my dad doesn't even know it. He's not a big believer in what he calls the 'Hallmark Holidays'. And to this day, I don't know if it's more to do with his aversion to shopping or because he's truly a non-conformist at heart. Over time I kind of always thought he'd change his mind given how badly Valentine's Day seems to bite him in the ass (…year, after year…). But his perseverance is real – so now I just watch and laugh.
My dad is a lot of things to me. He's my voice of reason. My therapist. My biggest supporter. He takes joy in celebrating my wins. And can't help but laugh hard at my epic fails. He taught my brother and me to go against the grain. And to never take life too seriously. To always ask questions – and to never accept the answer of "because I said so". He's an epic dude, but would never say so himself. And it's for all these reasons that I refuse skip over Father's Day. And if I really want to bug him – I'll throw in a cheesy ten dollar Hallmark card while I'm at it.
I'll always associate my dad with Dairy Queen. As a kid, Dairy Queen (DQ) was our jam. It was where we'd go after soccer games. And before a walk on the beach. And the next stop after we bought a carton of strawberries - because there's nothing like fresh berries and ice cream. I’m not sure if a sweet tooth can be inherited, but I know deep down that my love for ice cream wouldn't be the same without him.
If you've ever been to a DQ before, you're probably aware of this thing called a Treatzza Pizza. And if you don't…well, it's exactly as ridiculous as you'd picture it to be. Because, after all, it's a pizza made from ice cream. A stroke of genius, I tell you! Treatzza Pizzas were my childhood favorite. They have the perfect ratio of chocolate cookie crumbs (crust), soft vanilla ice cream, and toppings galore. I mean, who wouldn't want that?!
In the spirit of making a dad-tastic dessert, I was determined to re-create this childhood favorite. Turns out, making your own version from scratch is nowhere near difficult. And this time I made sure it was piled high with all my dad's favorite things: chocolate, caramel and plenty of peanuts. My dad does this thing – which he has no idea he does – he excitedly says "ooohoohoo" every time a favorite sweet treat comes his way. This time will be no different. Because, the taste is…ridiculous, obviously. For a little extra fun, I re-created this treat with better-for-you ingredients. Because nothing says love like letting your family have their (healthy) cake and eat it too.
This recipe starts with a nutella-inspired crust, made from cocoa, hazelnuts and oats. It's super simple to throw together and tastes amazing. I've used similar variations of this crust before (like in my chocolate coconut cream pie) – because I just can't get enough of it! One bite and I'm sure you'll agree. The creamy 'ice cream' center is made from whipped coconut cream. And while the toppings are entirely up to you, I highly recommend a generous drizzle of melted chocolate and caramel. Date caramel to be exact. Sprinkle with salted peanuts and roughly chopped chocolate…and you'll have yourself wishing the whole thing was yours. A quick trip to the freezer helps the ice cream firm up slightly – and there you have it, the perfect summertime dessert. One that’s sure to put a smile on your face!
This dessert makes enough for eight regular slices, but nobody's judging your knife skills if you end up with fewer. At least, that’s always my excuse when I’m feeling like an extra big slice. You can use forks if you want. Or eat it like you would a slice of 'za. It's a lot more fun that way!
Chocolate Caramel Ice Cream Pizza
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- ¾ cup hazelnuts (raw/untoasted)
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Ice Cream Layer
- 1 (14 fl oz/398 ml) can full-fat coconut milk (refrigerated overnight, see note 1)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 (3.5 oz/100 g) bar of dark chocolate, divided
- 3 tablespoons Date Caramel (see recipe below)
- ¼ cup roasted peanuts
Date Caramel (makes extra)
- 10 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- ½ cup warm water
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch fine sea salt
- Preheat: Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Mix Crust: Add oats and hazelnuts to a food processor, and pulse until the texture of coarse sand. Add cocoa powder, coconut oil, maple syrup and salt. Pulse until a dough comes together.
- Bake crust: Empty the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Use your hands to form the mixture into a ball, then pat it down into 1 (8 to 9-inch) circle (¼-inch thick). Bake until the crust is medium-firm to the touch, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.
- Make Date Caramel: Recipe below. Transfer about 3 tablespoons of the date caramel into a small resealable plastic bag. Snip off one of the corners to make a piping bag, for drizzling. Set aside.
- Make ice cream layer: Scoop out the coconut solids from the can and add to a large bowl. (Discard the liquid in the can or keep for another use). Using an electric mixer, whip the coconut solids on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Whip in maple syrup and vanilla.
- Prep chocolate: Melt about two-thirds of the chocolate (2.3 oz/65 g), either in the microwave (in 20 second intervals) or over a double boiler. Roughly chop the remaining one-third of the chocolate.
- Assemble: With the crust on the baking sheet, spoon the coconut whipped cream on top (leave a ½-inch border uncovered). Drizzle with the melted chocolate and date caramel, sprinkle with chopped chocolate and peanuts.
- Freeze: Freeze until the whipped coconut has hardened to soft-serve consistency (about 1 hour). Slice then serve. Once the dessert has been in the freezer overnight, let it soften on the counter (about 15 minutes) before serving.
- Soak dates: Combine dates and water in a bowl. Let sit for at least 10 minutes to soften.
- Make caramel: In a food processor, combine dates and soaking water, vanilla, and salt. Process until the mixture becomes a smooth, creamy sauce (pause to scrape down the sides if needed).
- Coconut Milk: Refrigerate overnight, or ideally 24 hours. Coconut whipped cream requires full-fat canned coconut milk. Do not substitute low-fat coconut milk.
- Storing Date Caramel: Cover and refrigerate. Use within 3 to 5 days. Extra date caramel can be used as a dip for fresh fruit, spooned on top of chia pudding or oatmeal, or eaten straight off the spoon.
- Nutritional estimate assumes includes the 3 tablespoons of date caramel used on the ice cream pizza.