Chocolate Caramel Ice Cream Pizza
Pizza and ice cream all in one...the best of both worlds! A chocolate hazelnut crust topped with coconut whipped cream, roasted peanuts, chocolate drizzle and a date-based caramel sauce. Crazy good. Vegan & Gluten Free. <jump to recipe>
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
SERVES 8 (VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE)
3/4 cup oats
3/4 cup hazelnuts
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
Ice cream layer:
1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz/385 g can), refrigerated overnight or ideally ~24 hours*
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 bar of dark chocolate, divided
2-3 tablespoons Date Caramel (recipe below)
~1/3 cup blanched peanuts (salted optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a food processor, blend oats until the texture of coarse sand. Add hazelnuts and blend until the nuts are a crumb-like texture. Add cocoa powder, coconut oil, maple syrup and salt. Pulse until well incorporated. Transfer mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Use your hands to form the mixture into a tight ball – then pat out the dough into an 8-9" (20-23 cm) circle, approximately 1/4" thick (0.6 cm). Bake for 15-18 minutes until the crust is medium-firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool completely on the baking sheet.
For the ice cream layer, open the chilled can of coconut milk. The thick coconut flesh/fat should have separated from the liquid. Scoop out the coconut solids and add to a large mixing bowl. The remaining liquid can be stored in the fridge for another use. Using electric beaters, beat the coconut on medium-high speed. It should take ~1-2 minutes to fluff up. Add the maple syrup (to taste) and vanilla. Beat for another ~30 seconds to incorporate.
Once the crust has cooled, keep it on the baking sheet, and spread the whipped coconut cream on the crust. Leave about 1/2" (1.25cm) of space to the edges. Melt ⅔ of the chocolate bar, and give the remaining 1/3 a rough chop. Drizzle melted chocolate and date caramel over the ice cream layer (see note below). Sprinkle chopped chocolate pieces and blanched peanuts on top.
Place the dessert into the freezer on the baking sheet. Freeze until the whipped coconut layer hardens to a soft-serve ice cream consistency (~1 hour), then serve. Store extras in the freezer. Once the dessert has been frozen overnight, plan to let it sit out for at least 20 minutes to soften before serving.
*Coconut whipped cream requires a full-fat canned coconut milk (not light). If this is your first time making coconut whipped cream, buy a couple brands to test out. Some work better than others, so for the first run, best to have a spare in the fridge (in case one brand doesn't separate). A good test in the store is to shake the can. You're looking for minimal "sloshing" - a sign that some of the coconut has already solidified in the can.
For tidy a looking chocolate and caramel drizzle (as pictured), put each sauce in its own small plastic bag. Seal the bag and snip off one of the ends. Squeeze the sauce out onto the ice cream, much like you would if you were piping icing.
MAKES 3/4 CUP (VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE)
10 Medjool dates
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Pit dates and place them in a small bowl. Cover with 1/2 cup warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Empty the dates and the water into a food processor. Add vanilla extract and salt. Process until the mixture combines into a creamy caramel sauce. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.