I have always loved eating ice cream sandwiches, especially growing up as a child. For a recent cooking class on Healthy Desserts, I decided to replicate a healthy ice cream sandwich that would contribute nutrients and fiber to ones diet while avoiding the debilitating effects of white sugar and flour. The challenge was to create a cookie that was wheat and refined sugar free, with a cake like consistency and a low glycemic sweetener to balance out the sweetness of the ice cream.
Due to the high cost of some store bought cookies I opted instead to make them from scratch. After experimenting with a few alternative sweeteners and finding them unsatisfactory I settled on using a date sugar, made from dehydrated, ground dates, to provide a mild sweetness with an essence of brown sugar. For the base of the cookie I used spelt flour, a member of the wheat family, but without the sensitivities often caused by Triticum wheat. Spelt provides protein, fiber, magnesium, niacin and manganese in good quantity and with the addition of oats for extra fiber and antioxidant properties, plus a handful of omega-3 loaded walnuts, this cookie was fast becoming a nutritious dessert.
In consideration for my vegan students I chose a non-dairy ice cream made with coconut milk and sweetened with agave syrup for the sandwich filling. I also substituted coconut oil in place of the traditional butter. Coconut oil is a medium-chain saturated fatty acid that has antiviral, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties. It has also been reported to stimulate the metabolism and promote weight loss. It contains 28.5 grams of fat per half cup serving compared to 92 grams for butter.
When frozen together the cookies are the perfect frame for the ice cream. With the addition of carob or chocolate chips each bite provides a satisfying crunch, a good chew, with the texture of sweet cream. A delicious, nutritious summer dessert your whole family can enjoy.
Nutritious Ice Cream Sandwich
Makes 2 dozen cookies (12 sandwiches)
- 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
- 1 cup date sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups regular oats
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup hot water
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup vegan carob or chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 pint coconut milk ice cream
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and spray a cookie sheet with oil.
2. In a large bowl combine flour, date sugar and cinnamon.
3. In a medium size bowl combine oats and baking soda.
4. Add the hot water to the oats stirring well.
5. Add the oil and vanilla to oat mixture and stir to combine.
6. Pour the oat mixture into the flour mixture and stir well, then fold in the carob or chocolate chips and the chopped walnuts.
7. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto the cookie sheet, and flatten with a fork.
8. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool before moving to a wire rack.
9. When cool place half the cookies upside down in two 9×13 casserole pans with lids.
10. Spoon ice cream onto each half and cover with another cookie. When done cover casserole with lid and place in the freezer for 24 hours. Remove sandwich as needed.