Vegan black bean ice cream cookie-wiches
Ice cream is to summer as cake is to birthdays, as cookies are to Christmas, and candy corn to Halloween. Just kidding. Sort of.
What I mean is, that could have just as easily made sense as something more along the lines of 'swimming is to summer as parties are to birthdays, as giving is to Christmas, and make believe to Halloween. Only those associations don't come quite as naturally, do they...that is to say, they do in practice. We swim way more than we indulge in ice cream cones. But the emotional connections--those are so often so rooted in food.
I know I'm not alone in feeling frustrated by how automatic food and reward are parceled together, especially for kids. There's a lot of momentum to swing away from this, and that's great. But the associations are also unavoidable. So many emotional layers. So much love is infused in cooking and sharing, and there's so much good inherent in that. We just have to find our right-fit balance, and that's hard, especially considering how rare any two "right fits" can be.
Summer is brimming with beckoning treats rolled in nostalgia and sprinkled with sentiment. Sometimes we just want to give in. And sometimes we can--sometimes we can even achieve that win-win feeling, indulging in a healthier take on a childhood favorite while building togetherness and reinforcing skills. It may seem a stretch, but I mean it, these little cookiewiches can be one of those times. Making this sweet treat snack together has so much science experiment potential (with low risk of total failure) it's almost ridiculous.
The cookie base and top is a cross between the black bean brownies and aquafaba chocolate cookies on this blog. They were specifically created to sandwich soft, sweet, melting 'nice cream', and not necessarily to be enjoyed as cookies on their own...but you could. Though perhaps in that case you might want to increase the coconut sugar or add some maple syrup, for most palates. The batter is so easy to make with kids, and offers pretty much immediate gratification in transforming black beans into something deceptively decadent. Admittedly, using store-bought vegan ice cream will turn out prettier and sandwiches that can be eaten more easily from frozen, but the banana 'nice cream' works brilliantly, too, and is more in keeping with the whole black bean thing. Plus, more often than not, messier creations result in the best, most memorable smiles, and that's the part we really want to celebrate the most. Happy 4th, friends!
Vegan black bean ice cream cookie-wiches
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup natural (nuts only) peanut or almond butter
- 1/4 cup chickpea flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup aquafaba (drained chickpea liquid)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- *vegan ice cream of choice (including banana nice cream, see note below)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put all of the ingredients except for ice cream into a food processor (yes, chips too).
Process until smooth and well combined (about minutes), scraping down the sides as needed.
Spoon batter onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet (about 10 or 12 for 5 medium or 6 slightly smaller cookiewiches).
Bake for 20 minutes.
Cool completely. When ready to eat, sandwich a layer of nice cream in between two cookies and enjoy. :)
*A note on banana nice cream: by now, pretty much everyone has their favorite go-to variations on this healthy, simple, and swoonworthy treat that never ceases to amaze. Who can help but marvel at the magic of frozen bananas (about 2-3, sliced or even just broken in the freezer bag), a little almond or coconut milk, and any addends you like. I like to add a little crushed ice as well. Anyway, if for some reason you are looking for variations, here are the favorites we've been using:
Chocolate cherry: add a good 2 heaping tablespoons cacao powder, a handful of spinach or kale, and 4-5 frozen cherries to your mix.
Mint: Add a handful of spinach or kale and a good couple mint leaves.
Strawberry: no surprise here--just add some strawberries, about 4-5.