Once upon a time, there was a purple dessert that stood in the spotlight of thousands of snapping cameras, and uploaded to countless Instagram accounts. Its name was Ube, and foodies from all over the globe were chasing after this regally-colored dessert in the form of cupcakes, waffles, and more.
While the world was distracted by this purple phenomenon, another flavor sat quietly in plain sight. It wondered why the social world couldn’t see it, especially with its colors just as vibrant as Ube’s.
“Why should Ube just get to stomp around like a giant while the rest of us try not to get smushed under its big feet? I am just as cute as Ube, right? I am just as smart as Ube, people totally like me just as much as they like Ube, and when did it become okay for one flavor to be the boss of everybody because that’s not what dessert is about! We should totally just STAB UBE!” said Pandan.
For something with a gorgeous green color, Pandan had some serious self-esteem issues. Calm down Pandan, your recognition will come soon enough.
This recipe definitely belongs in the “eat in moderation” pile. I wanted to make a familiar dessert recipe that incorporated one of my favorite Filipino flavors: buko pandan.
I can’t really describe what Pandan tastes like, but it’s considered the vanilla essence of Southeast Asia. If you find green-colored chiffon cakes, ice creams, gelatins, etc. in Asian stores, then you’re probably looking at a pandan flavored treat.
My earliest memory of pandan was from our home in the Philippines. When my mom would cook rice at night, she would ask me to grab a couple pandan leaves from our plant in the front yard.
She would submerge the leaves with the rice and water to release its essence into our otherwise plain white rice. It’s something I didn’t learn to truly appreciate until very recently, once my only source of pandan leaves was limited to the freezer section of Seafood City Supermarket.
You can purchase pandan leaves and blend it with water to extract pandan paste, or you can opt for purchasing pandan essence. The only issue with pandan essence is that most brands contain food coloring, but if you’re eating in moderation, you should be okay.
Back to the recipe. My dad expressed his love for buko pandan, so I decided to make a buko pandan ice cream sandwich cake for his birthday brunch!
“Buko” means “coconut”, and Buko Pandan is a dessert with coconut shreds, gelatin, and coconut gel mixed with condensed milk and cream. It’s the underrated Filipino treat that lives in ube’s shadow.
It was my first time making ice cream sandwich cookies, and I was pleasantly surprised at how they turned out. They were soft enough to cut through just a few minutes out of the freezer!
As for the ice cream, I purchased Magnolia’s Buko Pandan flavored ice cream. I was thinking of making it from scratch, but its $9.99 price tag was a good tradeoff for hassle-free ice cream.
Aside from that, most of the work comes from making the cookies. I just took a simple ice cream cookie recipe and used pandan flavoring instead of vanilla.
The most fun part in this whole project was cutting the ice cream out of its cardboard home. I’ve seen food marketers doing it, and I’ve always wanted to do it myself!
Since there was a lot of pandan in the cookie and the ice cream, I wanted to boost the coconut flavor and add another texture by adding toasted coconut shreds. Stroll over to the freezer section to find young coconut shreds to defrost, chop up, toast, and fling to the sides of the ice cream sandwich cake.
I think you’ll have a ton of fun making this recipe! Regardless if you’ll use pandan flavoring, just having an ice cream sandwich cake in the freezer is enough to make anyone’s jaw drop.
Take a look at the video below for a step-by-step guide on how to make your own giant ice cream cookie at home. And no, you don’t have to share your sandwich with anyone else.