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PB Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches

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Summer is officially here, and although it’s still cool most mornings here in Massachusetts, it has been warming up quite a bit as the day goes on. Although it may be tempting to run after the ice cream truck when it drives down your road, it is undeniably much healthier to make your own frozen treats at home, and these ice cream sandwiches are just about as healthy as they get!

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There is a fantastic park within walking distance to our house, complete with a huge shaded playground, a swim pond with a sandy beach, and a few short trails winding though the woods. I love every aspect of this park, and I take the kiddos there many times throughout the week, but I hate that the aforementioned ice cream truck  makes a daily stop there in the late afternoon. I’m sure it’s lucrative for the ice cream person, but it’s a nuisance to parents like myself who don’t want their kids to fill up on artificial, sugar-laden desserts before dinnertime.

I enlisted Lily’s help to make these ice cream sandwiches (she didn’t need much of an incentive; she loves to lend a hand in the kitchen, especially when making a sweet treat!), and both she and I loved the result. The filling is comprised of only frozen bananas, peanut butter, and a bit of coconut oil. The sweet & creamy “ice cream” is sandwiched between graham cracker squares, making them portable and fun to eat.

These ice cream sandwiches are healthy enough to eat for breakfast, but they are so tasty that you may find yourself reaching for more than one over the course of a hot summer day!

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PB Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches

by Lauren Zembron

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Ingredients (3-5 ice cream sandwiches)

  • 3 all-natural (preferably whole wheat) whole graham cracker sheets, (or more if you want thinner sandwiches) each broken in half to create squares
  • 6 medium-sized ripe bananas, peeled, sliced, and frozen overnight in a large zip top bag
  • 1/4 cup natural creamy unsweetened peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted

Instructions

Place frozen bananas, peanut butter, and melted coconut oil into a food processor fitted with the steel blade (or into a high-speed blender). Process/blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.

Line either a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan (if you want thicker sandwiches)or an 8 x 8 inch square pan (if you want thinner sandwiches) with parchment paper. Scrape the peanut butter/banana ice cream into the lined pan, smooth the top to create an even layer, and place in the freezer; freeze for at least 2 hours.

Using the sides of the parchment paper, remove the hardened ice cream from the pan.

Place a graham cracker square on the top, and cut along the perimeter to create an ice cream square of the same size.

Repeat step 4 until you have as many squares as you can cut out. (I used a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, and got 3 sandwiches; with a bit of leftover ice cream, which I transferred to a glass container and froze). Sandwich each ice cream square between two graham cracker squares. Individually wrap the ice cream sandwiches, and freeze for at least 2 hours.

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Healthy & Clean White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

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Confession: one batch of these delectable little candy cups lasted a measly 4 days in our house. Despite the alarming speed at which they disappeared, I don’t feel one bit of remorse because these white chocolate peanut butter cups are healthy, clean, high in protein, and low in unrefined sugar.

Sound too good to be true? It’s not!

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The white chocolate shell is comprised of cashews, cocoa butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. That’s it. Then comes the peanut butter filling: peanut butter, coconut flour, maple syrup, and and vanilla extract. Simple & clean, but ridiculously delicious!

I know that many of you probably don’t have cocoa butter on hand, so I’ve included a link to where you can buy them.  Be sure to buy organic & raw food-grade cocoa butter, as some varieties are meant just for skin products.

Coconut flour is another ingredient that you may not have stashed in your cupboard or fridge, but it’s available at Whole Foods and in the natural foods section of most large chain grocery stores.

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It takes a bit of time to assemble the cups, but I promise you that your efforts will be rewarded when you bite into one of the finished masterpieces: creamy, dense, not-too-sweet, melt-in-your-mouth white chocolate peanut butter cups that you can actually feel good about eating! Winning!

 

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Healthy & Clean White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Ingredients (16 mini cups)

    White Chocolate Shell:

    • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2-3 hours, then drained
    • 1 cup cocoa butter discs, melted over a double boiler
    • 1/3 -1/2 cup pure maple syrup, depending on taste preference
    • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

    Peanut Butter Filling:

    • 1/2 cup unsweetened natural creamy peanut butter (the only ingredients should be peanuts and salt), well-stirred
    • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
    • 4 tsp pure maple syrup
    • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

    Instructions

    Place soaked & drained cashews, melted cocoa butter, 1/3 cup maple syrup, and vanilla in a high-speed blender. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth (the mixture will resemble applesauce). Taste, and add maple syrup, one tablespoon at a time, until desired sweetness is achieved.

    Using a small spoon, scoop about 2 tsp of the white chocolate into a mini muffin liner and “paint” it in an even layer all over the inside of the liner. If the chocolate drips down the sides to the bottom of the liner and seems too runny, set the chocolate aside for 5-10 minutes (at room temperature) until it starts to firm up a bit. Don’t let it sit for too long, as it will eventually harden. Place white chocolate-painted liner into a mini muffin cup.

    Repeat with 15 more mini muffin liners.

    Place the filled muffin tins into the fridge for at least 20 minutes (or the freezer for at least 10 minutes), until the white chocolate has hardened.

    Meanwhile, make the peanut butter filling. Stir together the peanut butter, coconut flour, maple syrup, and vanilla until smooth.

    When the white chocolate cups have hardened, scoop out about 1 1/2 – 2 tsp of the peanut butter mixture and form it into a thick disc. Place it into one of the white chocolate cups.

    Repeat with remaining peanut butter filling and white chocolate cups.

    Stir the white chocolate if it looks a bit oily (the cocao butter might separate a bit from the cashew base). Spoon a bit of the white chocolate onto the top of each peanut butter-filled white chocolate cup, ensuring that you smooth the top and that the top layer reaches all the way to the sides of the cups.

    Return muffin tins to the refrigerator to firm up completely, about 20-30 minutes.

    Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

    NOTE: if you’d prefer a simpler and quicker assembly process, simply spread half of the white chocolate mixture into a square or rectangular food container, chill until hardened, spread evenly with all of the peanut butter mixture, top with remaining white chocolate mixture, and chill until completely hardened; then cut into squares.

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