Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pumpkin-Vanilla Ice-Cream Sandwiches!

Oatmeal and Banana Soft-Serve are two of my favorite breakfast treats. So why not combine them? Actually, the real question is: Why didn't I think of this sooner?

I just recently saw similar things done on other healthy-foodie blogs, particularly the High Protein Cookie Sandwiches on Spoonful of Sugar Free and the Chocolate-Chip Banana Bites from CCK. So, I decided to make my own.
This morning, when I popped my head into the refrigerator, I saw a little container of leftover pumpkin puree poking out at me, just begging me to use it. So I went for Pumpkin-Vanilla Ice-Cream Sandwiches: pumpkin-oat cookies with simple vanilla banana "ice-cream" in the middle.

For the oatmeal cookies, first I ground 1/2 cup raw oats in my handy-dandy food processor so that they were more flour-like (which is needed when baking cookies), and also added in a tablespoon of ground flax (I love that stuff!), four very generous tablespoons of cinnamon (mmm... cinnamon...), half a teaspoon of baking powder, and a pinch of baking soda. This makes the dry mixture part. I transferred this to a small mixing bowl.
For the wet, I blended up one heaping fourth cup of the pumpkin with three tablespoons of almond milk (unsweetened, of course--that's all I ever use), two tablespoons of chopped apple (applesauce will work too, but you might want to use less almond milk--maybe only two tablespoons) and two teaspoons of pure vanilla extract, making sure there were no chunks of apple left.
Then, I poured the wet into the dry mixture. Mix, mix, mix! until you get a nice cookie dough. Spoon the mixture onto a small baking dish or pan lined with parchment paper, making the cookies the size you want for your sandwiches (I made six regular-sized cookies, for three sandwiches). You can also shape the dough into squares or bars (or any fun shape!) if you want. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for fifteen minutes, then flip and bake another fifteen minutes. Because I like my cookies with a little crispiness on the outside, three minutes before the cookies were done, I upped the temperature to 400 degrees and turned the oven on broil, leaving them in for another five minutes.

My Pumpkin-Oatmeal Cookies in their pan, fresh from the oven. <3
^^^When they're done, they'll look a little something like this.^^^
I transfered them to a serving dish and place them in the freezer to chill.

Now, time to make the "ice-cream"! The perfect creamy vanilla filling to my scrumdiliumptous breakfast treats.

I just used the basic soft-serve recipe to make vanilla soft-serve, using the least amount of non-dairy milk for a thick consistency. I stirred two generous teaspoons of pure vanilla extract (it would make it extra-special and delicious if you used good-quality, expensive vanilla extract--or you could even use real vanilla bean!) into two tablespoons of almond milk (adding just a pinch of cinnamon, too--I couldn't resist) and placed it in the freezer to chill awhile.
Once the almond milk was nice and cold (and the cookies nice and firm & cold, too), I blended it up with a frozen banana. Making sure to hurry before it got too melty, I took the cookies out of the freezer and scooped some of the soft-serve onto half the cookies. Then I topped each cookie with another (as neatly as I could) and made a mad rush for the freezer, to keep them as cold as possible and prevent the filling from gooping out.

I left them in there to harden for twenty minutes or so.

When I was ready, I went to take them out. BAM! Pumpkin-Vanilla Ice-Cream Sandwiches: creamy vanilla soft-serve smushed between two delicious, oaty pumpkin cookies. I picked one up, took a bite.... ABSOLUTE. FROZEN. HEAVEN. In a little sandwich. And I enjoyed every single bite. The oatmeal cookies are chewy, and the vanilla filling is sweet and creamy--a genius combination. I've succeeded in my food matchmaking today, my friends. Yes indeedy. ;-)

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