Ice cream sandwiches are one of life's great pleasures. So are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So I figured, why not combine them and make something truly spectacular? And I took it a step further — I made it healthy. And what's even better, you don't need much time or any fancy kitchen tools to pull this off, just a baking pan and an oven, a blender and a freezer.
 
For the brownies, a large portion of the oil usually used in a brownie recipe is replaced by applesauce (but a little is left in to help keep the brownies soft and moist right out of the freezer) and all of the refined sugar is replaced by all natural and healthy honey. The peanut butter and jelly filling is just four ingredients, three of which are fruits. All in all, these are about the healthiest ice cream sandwiches you will ever eat, and they have all the decadent sweetness of sandwiches filled with fat, dairy and sugar.
 
After trying this, and putting your own spin on the flavors of ice cream and jelly that you use, you'll never need to buy ice cream sandwiches from the store again. For anyone who wants to indulge in dessert while sticking to a healthy eating plan, you're welcome!
 

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes

Yield: 4-6 large ice cream sandwiches

Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup raw unfiltered mild honey such as orange blossom
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups frozen banana slices (peel and slice up ripe bananas and place them in the freezer the night before)
  • 1/4 cup creamy unsweetened and unsalted peanut butter
  • 2 cups Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 10-ounce bag organic frozen dark cherries
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a 9x9 or slightly larger baking pan with a little oil or nonstick spray.
  2. In large bowl combine the honey, applesauce, oil, egg, and vanilla and whisk until combined.
  3. In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sift with a fork until combined.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into wet ingredients and gently fold until everything is moist and there are few lumps.
  5. Pour the brownie batter into baking pan and jiggle it a little to help it spread evenly. Place the pan in the center rack of the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove pan and place it on a wire rack. Allow the brownies to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then tip the brownie loaf out and finish cooling on the wire rack.
  7. Once your brownies have reached room temperature, slice the loaf completely down the center so you have two halves. Flip them open so the insides are facing up like bread slices. ice cream sandwiches
  8. In a blender, place the frozen banana slices and peanut butter and begin blending on low speed, slowly increasing the speed until the mixture is smooth and the consistency of ice cream, about 1-2 minutes. You'll have to tamp it down a few times to make sure there aren't any frozen banana chunks. Spoon the ice cream into a bowl and place it in the freezer until you're ready for it.ice cream sandwiches
  9. Clean out the blender. In a bowl, combine the pitted dates with about 1/8 cup very hot water and allow them to soak for a few minutes to soften. Then place the dates with the water in the blender along with the frozen cherries. Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  10. Pull the ice cream out of the freezer and give it a stir. Place the brownie slices onto a metal baking sheet. Spread a very thick layer of the ice cream on one of the brownie slices (go ahead, pile it on there). Spread a very thick layer of the dark cherry jelly on the other brownie slice (it's hard to overdo this, so don't be skimpy!). Gently flip the jelly-covered slice onto the ice cream-covered slice. Cover the entire thing with plastic wrap, pressing it around the edges of the brownies to help keep the filling in place, and put the tray in the freezer for at least 3 hours or overnight. You want the ice cream to be completely frozen before slicing, otherwise it oozes out the sides and makes a very messy sandwich.

    ice cream sandwiches

  11. When the ice cream is frozen solid, pull the brownies out of the freezer and slice into sandwiches. Serve and enjoy!ice cream sandwiches

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Jaymi Heimbuch ( @jaymiheimbuch ) focuses on wildlife conservation and animal news from her home base in San Francisco.