Coconut Pandan Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich Cake (Buko Pandan)

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.

“Buko” means “coconut”, and “pandan” is a leaf that provides an aromatic flavor. It’s an underrated Filipino dessert that lives in ube’s shadow.

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, 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!

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, just having an ice cream sandwich cake in the freezer is enough to make anyone’s jaw drop.