12 In Desserts

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice Cream Sandwich (4 of 5)Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Failure sometimes results in some of our greatest successes. This recipe, for example, was supposed to be a birthday cake. My parents were in town to celebrate their 60th birthdays, and we wanted to create a delicious, special cake in their honor. I had decided to go out on a limb and try a raw cake, something like this, with a frosting made only of bananas, cocoa powder and honey. It was a bit of a risk, and, like any risk, had the distinct possibility of failure. When the banana frosting came out as strange-tasting banana goo, I was crushed.

Luckily, Alex saved the day with his suggestion to turn the cakes into an ice cream sandwich. It’s basically a play on this raw brownie, one of our favorite desserts. There are a lot of nice things about these sandwiches — they’re no bake, which makes them easy to assemble, they’re gluten-free, which makes them versatile for serving to those with allergies, and if you try them with our coconut milk ice cream (mint or chocolate), they’re also dairy-free and naturally sweet, if you’re looking for those things. But above all, they are truly delicious, with the slightly gooey texture of the “real” ice cream sandwiches. They were a huge hit, and a great finale to the birthday dinner.

We had to fight through failure just as hard on the photos, endlessly trying to set up a shot we had in our minds but weren’t quite sure how to capture. We finally found what we were looking for, though you’ll notice it was getting a bit melty towards the end.

We thought these might be a nice idea for a Memorial Day treat, with that holiday quickly approaching. And, they’re a nice lesson in failure – while we only share the recipes and photos that turn out here, there are hundreds of failures behind the successes! (Like this recipe we tried 10 times before we got it right.)

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches
Medjool dates are a type of date that is exceptionally large and sweet; it is preferable to use Medjool in this recipe instead of substituting another type of date. They are available in bulk or prepackaged in major grocery stores, and are also available for sale online.
Serves: 4 sandwiches
What You Need
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 8 medjool dates
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream (for dairy-free / vegan, try our coconut milk ice cream with or without the mint flavor, frozen for several hours prior to assembly of the sandwiches)
What To Do
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, process 2 cups walnuts, ½ cup cocoa powder, and 2 pinches kosher salt.
  2. Remove the pits from 8 medjool dates. Turn on the processor and add each date to the bowl, stopping when rough crumbles form.
  3. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Pour out the crumbles onto the wax paper and press them together into a thin layer, about ¼ inch thick. Cut into 8 circles with a circular biscuit cutter, about 2½ inches in diameter (use the "scraps" after cutting a few circles and press them together again to form all 8 circles). Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze for 30 minutes to 1 hour until firm.
  4. Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and spread vanilla ice cream onto 4 cookies, using your fingers or a spoon to shape it. Top with the remaining cookies and freeze again until ready to enjoy.


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  • Reply
    May 19, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Turning failures into something I love is so rewarding! I always feel great and really excited about a recipe I brought back from the dead! LOL

    This look so good. I am an a huge ice cream kick and it is ALL I want to make. So these are perfect!

  • Reply
    May 20, 2013 at 7:02 am

    A lot of my favourite recipes actually start off in a giant failure – I think the need to re-evaluate what I’m doing and what went wrong makes for a much more robust recipe too. Stellar idea of Alex’s to make them into ice cream sandwiches.

    • Reply
      May 26, 2013 at 8:52 pm

      Good point, Kathryn! I never thought of failures that way — but it makes perfect sense! Thanks for mentioning :)

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    May 20, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Love how healthy this ended up being! What a fun recipe for summer :)

  • Reply
    May 20, 2013 at 9:50 am

    The photos are absolutely perfect! I can definitely relate to this. :) Ice cream sandwiches sounds really fun for a birthday. Way to get creative!

  • Reply
    Arthur in the Garden!
    May 20, 2013 at 10:52 am

    I love this idea! My two favourite food together!

  • Reply
    May 20, 2013 at 11:11 am

    This is the best looking ‘failure’ I’ve ever seen, yummy!

  • Reply
    May 20, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    I need this!!

  • Reply
    May 20, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    I can relate so well! It’s the worst to have such high hopes for a recipe/evening and then have it not turn out. I’m so glad you were able to come up with something so good! xo

    • Reply
      May 26, 2013 at 8:53 pm

      Yes, we know that all too well! The good thing is that we’re starting to get better at learning how to bounce back from failures, thank goodness :)

  • Reply
    Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today
    May 23, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    As long as we learn something from our failures, it’s worth making them :) This ice cream sandwiches look amazingly delicious.

  • Reply
    December 13, 2013 at 9:49 am

    These look so yummy!!

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    Happy Cooking! ~ Sonja & Alex