Raw Vegan Monday: Banana "Ice Cream" Sandwiches

It started last week when I bought bananas that were not green enough, and bought too many of them. The whole lot of them ripened before I could get around to eating them, which meant they would meet their demise in the freezer. Bananas are tricky things, and most people have a short window of opportunity in which they prefer to enjoy one. Some, like my Mother, like them nearly green and some like them even more deeply spotted than the specimens above. I am rather picky about them when not adding them to a baked good (which then, I insist upon deep-speckledness), I dislike the green banana taste since it tends to remind me of the artificially flavored banana candies that I despise, like Runts, but I also dislike soft, mushy centered fruit the texture of pudding. Pure banana enjoyment is rather limited for me, though I can blend anything with homemade buttermilk or yogurt and drink it down without much trouble.

Fortunately, another banana bread or banana muffin was not in my future. As tasty as both of these options are, even in baked form, they tend to take up my freezer space as I forget that I've made them. Freshly made baked goods are fine, but due to my current personal situation including picky eating boys, I have to utilize my freezer to keep from growing my current size proportionally due to uneaten foods...

I remembered in my raw vegan readings that I have seen many many recipes for banana "ice creams", made simply by blending up frozen bananas into luxurious soft-serve. Sickly sweet overripe (at least overripe in my opinion) bananas lose that some of that velvety soft-serve mouthfeel in the freezer, but they also lose their cloying edge. For any fan of crystalline ice creams, frozen bananas offer a no-fat, no-dairy alternative wonderland, yet banana ice cream wasn't good enough for me. I found and adapted a more portable result - and one that I certainly won't forget is waiting for me in the freezer: Raw Vegan Banana "Ice Cream" Sandwiches.

The original recipe is from Veggie Wedgie, a very nice vegan site with great photography. I had to adapt it just a bit, due to my nature of adaptation, and ingredients at hand. I will also say that if you are looking to make photo-worthy sandwiches, work quickly and transfer each sandwich to the freezer as soon as it is assembled. Banana ice cream melts unbelievably quick.

Raw Vegan Banana "Ice Cream" Sandwiches (adapted from Veggie Wedgie)

  • 200 g/7 oz. dates (I used 8 oz.)
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 c. rolled oats ground into oat flour (I measure the oats, then grind)
  • 3 T. coconut concentrate
  • 2 T. agave syrup
  • 1/4 c. water (add this 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough sticks together)
"Ice Cream":
  • 5 bananas, peeled, sliced and frozen (in the future I will mash and freeze them, to facilitate blending in inferior blending equipment...)
  • vanilla seeds, scraped from a vanilla pod - or extract if you aren't fully raw (about 1 t.)
To make the cookies, combine all the ingredients in a food processor, and blend until a dough is starting to come together. I think I had more oats than the original recipe called for, and I added a full 1/4 cup of water to get it to stick together. You want to be able to roll it out on a sheet pan lined with parchment or waxed paper, so go by feel. Cut shapes, I used 2 1/4 inch circles, and freeze in a single layer on a sheet pan for at least an hour to harden them up.

When ready to assemble, blend the bananas and vanilla in a blender, food pro, immersion blender or by hand. I used a combination of food pro and blender, and still had trouble getting the larger chunks of banana to break down. I do have a VitaMix jar filling with cold hard cash to remedy this unfortunate situation. I used the 2 1/4 cutter to stand in as a sandwich mold, and spooned in a small amount of banana on top of a round of cookie. Then, I pressed the center with a toothpick to help it release and added the top cookie after it was unmolded. They looked gorgeous coming out of the molds, but within minutes, were melting like crazy. I transferred them to the freezer, and they firmed up again in about 20 minutes. I got about 14 sandwiches, but the leftover "cookie dough" is good eaten on it's own. Even the picky Boy-O thought so!

This ice cream sandwich is light, and does taste like bananas - but in the best, non-artificial way possible. I love icy ice cream, and this was deliciously icy, too. I like that they are keeping well in the freezer: I wrapped them individually in waxed paper, and laid them in an airtight container for precautionary freezer-burn measures, but I doubt they are going to last long enough to have to contend with that.