Since my last post, I needed to do some things to fill my soul up a little bit. So I made some (crazy-healthy-delicious) ice cream sandwiches, ate them, and then hopped on a plane to a far off place. The latter was much less spontaneous, however, the timing could not have been better. After a couple weeks of mourning, reflecting, and crying my eyes out, there was not better feeling than landing in Iceland. A place that I have been wanting to explore since I was a kid and learned about vikings, and a place that was so drastically different from my everyday life.
And now that this leg of my trip is coming to an end, I can easily say that Iceland is one of the coolest place on earth. Hands down. No words or pictures can describe the feeling of standing in front of a glacier, or being dwarfed by a misshapen mountains that sit up against black sand beaches. Or soaking in a hot spring or lagoon, where you can almost feel every little trouble getting pulled out of your body. It's dreamy and magical and so very good for the soul.
Before I left, I spent some time in the kitchen, because just as much as traveling is food for my soul ..... so is being in my kitchen getting my hands and dishes dirty. I felt like making something sweet, and since summer is basically here, I wanted a treat I could make as a snack or dessert all summer long. I remembered a little while ago, Laura (The First Mess), make a version of Sara's (My New Roots) banana ice cream from her new book (My New Roots). I've always wanted to try making a banana-based ice cream, and I had just purchased Sarah's new book ....... I knew her recipe would not disappoint.
In searching for the banana ice cream recipe in the book, I came across some ice cream sandwiches. Yay! That was it. These ice cream sandwiches are completely inspired by Sarah's, but I put my own twist on the cookie part. She has this genius way of making the cookies by melting almond butter and freezing it, however, her version adds chocolate (which sounds delish as well) but I was craving straight up almond butter, so that's what I did. Almond butter, bananas, honey, salt, and crunchy cacao bits, are all meant to be. You can never go wrong. Put it all into an ice cream sandwich and this might be my new favorite summertime snack / dessert. The best part is, there is negative guilt ..... so little guilt, you could eat these for breakfast. Oh, and another bonus, they are so easy to make and do not require an ice cream maker (!!!) Healthy, decadent food that is easy to make is good for both of our souls.
banana ice cream sandwiches with salted honey almond butter cookies + cacao crunch
This recipe is inspired by and adapted from the ice cream sandwich recipe in Sarah B.'s book, My New Roots.
These sandwiches are actually very very easy to make, and do not require an ice cream maker. It just takes a little pre-planning, but you can also make them up to a month in advance.
about 4-6 sandwiches (and will likely leave you with some extra banana ice cream, which you can enjoy on it's own)
for the cookies:
3 tablespoons of almond butter
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
2 tablespoons of honey
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
(** feel free to double this recipe, if you want more sandwiches. There should be more than enough ice cream for that)
for the banana ice cream:
2 cups of raw cashews, soaked overnight
1/2 cup of water (you might need a little more)
1/2 cup of light coconut milk (the kind in a -BPA free - can)
4 very ripe bananas
1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 tablespoon of vanilla)
a pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
for the cacao crunch:
1/4 cup of cacao nibs
1/4 cup of a nut of your choice (almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts work well)
1/4 cup of toasted coconut (optional, but I used the salted dang chips and it was delish)
The night before – prep by freezing and soaking:
- The night before you want to make / enjoy the ice cream sandwiches, freeze the bananas, and soak the cashews. Soak the cashew in water, overnight. Peel and slice the banana and place it in a bag, container, or a sheet pan with some wax paper and allow them to freeze overnight.
***FYI - for the cashews, soak no longer than overnight, and no shorter than 3 hours.
A few hours before you want to enjoy the sandwiches, make the cookies. This can also be done a few days (or up to a month) in advance:
- Line a large baking sheet (or two small) with wax paper.
- Place the almond butter, coconut oil, honey, and salt into a small saucepan. Heat up over medium-low heat, while watching and stirring. Heat just until everything is melted and mixed together. Remove from the heat.
- Using a tablespoon, spoon the mixture out onto the baking sheet, one tablespoon per cookie. Make sure to leave a little room between each cookie.
- When done, place the baking sheets in the freezer, and freeze for a couple of hours until the cookies are solid. Once frozen, you can also transfer them to an air-tight container and freeze for up to one month.
The morning (or at least 5 hours) before you want to enjoy the sandwiches, start to make the banana ice cream:
- Remove the bananas about 10 minutes before you blend the ice cream, while you prep everything else. Drain the cashews, if you haven’t done so already.
- Combine the cashews, water, and coconut milk in a high-powered blender, and blend on high for a few minutes until very smooth.
- Add the vanilla, bananas, salt, maple syrup, coconut oil, and lemon juice, and blend on high until very smooth. Taste and adjust and seasoning or sweetness accordingly.
- Transfer to a glass, or a metal ice cream container (does not need to be specific to ice cream, either – I found a glass container worked just fine). Freeze for a minimum of 4 hours, but can also be frozen for up to a month, just be sure to make sure it’s an air-tight container.
Assemble the ice cream sandwiches:
- Quick FYI - you want to work quickly here, and handle the cookies minimally because they melt (not quick enough for you to enjoy the sandwich, but quick enough to get sticky and slightly mis-shapen when assembling).
- First, take the ice cream out about 10 minutes before assembling so it has time to soften.
- While thats defrosting a little, make the cacao crunch. Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse several times until you have a crumble. Do not over-process.
- Place the crunch onto a small plate, and have a wax paper lined baking sheet near by. Start to assemble the sandwiches by placing a scoop of the ice cream into one piece of cookie. Place the second piece on top and press down to spread the ice cream evenly out to the ends of the cookie. I would take a butter knife around the cookie/ice cream to give it a smooth edge. Then, roll the end with the ice cream in the cacao crunch mixture. Place onto the baking sheet and do this until all of the sandwiches are assembled.
- Some tips ...... if this is taking too long and things start to get melt-y, pop the cookies / ice cream back into the freezer for a few minutes to firm up. You can also keep the wax paper lined baking sheet in the freezer and place the sandwiches directly into the frezer after you're done assembling.
- Let the assembled sandwiches sit in the freezer for about another 10 minutes before enjoying (if enjoying immediately) or keep them in an air-tight container in the freezer for up to one month.