Being vegan has never been so trendy! Even celebrities are speaking up to advocate this ethical, peaceful lifestyle, which is such a positive step in the right direction in terms of making people take a look at their own consumption habits. Hollywood actor Woody Harrelson is not only a vegan, but is also a passionate raw foodie, who has not only published a book and starred in a film about raw food, but has also opened his own restaurant and bar.
I feel like people view a vegan, and particularly a raw diet, as restrictive and bland, and this makes them hesitant to open themselves up to what this lifestyle is really about. The really fantastic thing about veganism hitting the mainstream, is that amazing cafes and restaurants serving vegan goodies are starting to pop up everywhere; and they are anything but bland! Take Cookies and Scream bakery in Camden for example; this family run bakery serving up the most incredible baked goods you have ever seen; and there are no eggs, dairy, wheat or refined sugar in sight. One thing they are famous for is their oatmeal chocolate chip ice cream cookie sandwich; which has to be seen to be believed! I love that people are starting to see that you don’t need gluten, eggs, dairy and processed sugar to have a really overly decadent, and utterly scrumptious dessert.
Sadly for me, Cookies and Scream are a long way from Bristol, so I thought it was about time I made my own unbaked version. And lets face it, knowing my track record with baking, the cookies would have been disasterous if I’d even tried!
These raw chocolate fudge ice cream sandwiches taste ridiculous; ridiculously good that is! There is a thick layer of creamy vanilla banana ice cream, with crunchy pieces of cacao nibs, topped with an ooey-gooey, and oh-so-rich layer of carob fudge sauce, all sandwiched between two incredibly soft and chewy carob cookies. You better believe these things are good, and SO healthy. Carob is basically a miracle sent to earth in glorious beany pods; it has amazing antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, antiseptic (and every other ‘anti’!) properties, and is a great source of calcium, which is super important if you eat a plant-based diet!
Recently, I’ve been trying to use carob in place of cacao for a lot of recipes because of it’s wonderful health benefits, but I’ve also discovered that it makes the most divine, thick fudge sauce when mixed with coconut oil. For some reason, it does not turn smooth and silky when combined with coconut oil, in the way that cacao does, but it combines to form a really thick, gloopy, and incredibly shiny sauce, which looks gorgeous poured on top of cakes! Carob has such a distinctive aromatic taste, and as with the fudge sauce, the same crazy kitchen magic happens, which makes carob cookies so much chewier than cacao powder.
Banana ice cream is the perfect thing to go with these cookies, because it is so damn easy to make, and it helps give a lovely, melty creaminess to help wash down the chewy cookies. I have banana ice cream pretty much everyday, because the taste and texture are incredibly similar to churned dairy ice cream, yet it is simply made from frozen bananas, and can be made in roughly ten minutes! It does however melt much quicker than normal ice cream, so I would advise you to make it about an hour before you want to spread it on the cookies, so you can leave it to harden in the freezer after blending. This makes it easier to sandwich all the layers together, and stops the banana ice cream melting too quickly when you are eating it; you don’t want it to turn into a melted mush before you’ve munched your way through the cookies! I would also advise you to eat these babies with a plate, and a knife and fork, as the nicecream has a tendency to squidge out of the sides of the cookie when you bite into it!
I love making raw cookies out of nuts as a treat when I fancy something with some lovely, healthy fats in; ladies, your body needs healthy fats; do not fear them! If you wanted to make these cookies lower fat, or a little more ‘breakfast-friendly’, you could always play around with the recipe, and substitute the nuts for oats instead (although you will need more oats!). I actually went to whole hog and had one of these sammiches for breakfast the other day, nuts and all! Really, it still amazes me sometimes that I ever ate boring cereal and plain porridge! Eating a plant-based diet has just made me fall in love with food in a way I had never experienced before, although who wouldn’t love a ‘diet’ that allows you to eat cookies and ice cream for breakfast?!
These cookies are worth making for that fudgey sauce alone let me tell you! And the weekend is nearly upon us; you have no excuse not to treat yourself to these things!!
I absolutely love seeing photos of your recreations of my recipes; seriously you guys put the cleverest twists on them, and make them look so beautiful! Feel free to tag @rawberryfields, or #rawberryfields so I can check them out!
- 2 ripe bananas frozen overnight
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 2.5 Tbsp cacao nibs
- ¾ cup (95g) cashews
- ¼ cup (40g) ground almonds
- 8 pitted Medjool dates
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 (small) Tbsp liquid coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 2 Tbsp carob powder
- 2 Tbsp liquid coconut oil
- 2.5 Tbsp carob powder
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup + 1 tsp
- Place the bananas into a high-speed blender or food processor and pulse to break the banana up into tiny pieces.
- Scrape down the sides of the blender, and push the banana towards the blade to help it blend, and blend again.
- Repeat until the mixture has begun to turn smooth, creamy. Add the vanilla and blend again until the mixture resembles soft-serve ice cream.
- Stir in the cacao nibs, and place the banana ice cream into the freezer for roughly 45 minutes to an hour to harden whilst you make the cookies.
- Place the cashews and almonds into a food processor and pulse until a coarse flour is formed.
- Add the other ingredients and pulse again until the mixture comes together in a dough-like consistency.
- Split the dough into eight equal parts, and roll each piece into a ball and place on a piece of greaseproof paper.
- Press each ball of dough into a flat, cookie shape, and place in the freezer to harden for 30 minutes; this keeps the ice cream frozen for longer.
- Place the liquid coconut oil into a bowl with the maple syrup.
- Add the carob powder one spoonful at a time until the mixture is thick and viscous, and resembles treacle.
- Once the ice cream has hardened in the freezer for roughly 45 minutes, scoop a large spoonful of banana ice cream on top of one cookie, and use the spoon to flatten and shape it to the edge of the cookie.
- Top with a spoonful of the chocolate fudge.
- You can place the cookies back in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to harden before serving if you want them to keep their shape a little better, or stick the other cookie on top and serve immediately.
If you want to know more about the ingredients used in this recipe, please visit my ‘Raw Pantry’ page!