Even though it’s the last weekend of August, schools have started, and there may be a distinct feeling of change in the air, we’ve still got three more whole weeks of summer to enjoy! And while, I know it may be tempting to bust open a can of pumpkin puree and dust off the accompanying pumpkin pie spice, there’s time enough for that yet. I say, let’s enjoy all the summer treats until the bitter(sweet) end. And so, in that spirit, I’m sharing the most summery of all summer desserts – ice cream! But, a homemade, no-churn, 3 ingredient ice cream, layered with a peanut butter swirl, and sandwiched between two thick pieces of chocolate chip brownie.
These Brownie & Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream Sandwiches or Swirlwiches for short, are so incredibly delicious and a better-for-you alternative to any frosty treat you might find at the store. This healthified frozen dessert is made with only real ingredients- nothing refined, no stabilizers, or other weird science-derived additives. The chocolate chip brownie “bread” in this ice cream sandwich situation is paleo-friendly (gluten/grain/dairy free) and made with no refined sugars. I do use Enjoy Life’s mini chocolate chips which are made with organic cane sugar. But feel free to use your favorite paleo-friendly chocolate bar (Hu is a personal favorite) instead, chopped into chunks, to keep it strictly paleo. Or skip the chips entirely to lower the overall sugar content.
The center of this ice cream sandwich is a wonderfully soft and creamy ice cream-like layer. And I say “ice cream-like” because, well, it’s unlike any traditional ice cream you would be served in your typical scoop shop. No milk, eggs, cream, dairy of any kind, or refined sugars are used in this recipe. But like ice cream, as it stays smooth but firm once frozen. This “ice cream” is made in a breeze, in the blender, and with only 3 ingredients: coconut milk, soaked cashews, and coconut sugar. And, I feel confident in saying that this ice cream is so incredibly delicious, I don’t think you’ll be missing the conventional stuff. It’s creamy but light, silky from the cashews, and just perfectly sweet. And then, we add a peanut butter swirl. And that, my friends, just takes it to a whole new level.
Here’s a brief run down of the main ingredients and some purchasing tips.
Almond flour – I use and love Bob’s Red Mill Superfine Almond Flour.
Cocoa powder – Be sure to use a cocoa powder that is unsweetened. Cocoa powder and cacao powder are two different ingredients. It’s important to use the right one in this recipe as they react differently when baked. Any good quality baking cocoa will do. I have been using Equal Exchange’s Baking Cocoa and love the quality and flavor. Plus it’s organic and fair trade!
Almond/Peanut butter – I always prefer using single ingredient nut butters that have no added sugars or oils. Ideally, use a thinner nut butter for this recipe, especially for the center swirl. Choose one that is pretty drippy so it’s easy to drizzle into the ice cream mixture. For the almond butter I used MaraNatha and used Once Again peanut butter.
Coconut milk – Ideally, use a full fat can of coconut milk. Although, I believe a lower fat content coconut milk could work in this recipe, I have not tested it and fairly confident that this recipe is made better with the full fat kind. I used Native Forest Classic coconut milk.
And while I know that using two different nut butters in one recipe may seem a bit overkill, doing so really creates a wonderful balance in these ice cream sandwiches. The almond butter gives the brownie a deeply soft fudgy texture and the flavor is not as assertive as peanut butter, which lets the cocoa powder shine. And the peanut butter is the perfect flavor and texture to swirl into the smooth ice cream layer. If you want to keep this paleo-friendly then just use almond butter in both places (made as such in the photo directly above). And, if you want all the peanut butter and chocolate vibes, then go all out and use only peanut butter. Either way, this is sure to be the perfect summer treat to truly savor the last bits of summer!
paleo friendly (gluten/grain/dairy free), naturally sweetened
If you make this recipe, please feel free to leave a review or rating down below. And I’d LOVE to see your creation! Please tag me on Instagram @freshlydafna and use #freshlydafna.
Brownie & Peanut Butter Swirlwiches
The perfect dessert to celebrate summertime! These Brownie & Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream Sandwiches (Swirlwiches for short) are super easy to make and so delicious. It's a no-churn, 3 ingredient ice cream with a peanut butter (or almond butter) swirl and stuffed between a thick layer of double chocolate brownies!
paleo-friendly, naturally sweetened
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup almond butter or peanut butter (or other nut/seed butter)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil melted & cooled
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
PB Swirl Ice Cream Layer
- 2 cups cashews, soaked in hot water 20 minutes or 2 hours in cool water
- 1 can coconut milk, full fat
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 4-5 tbsp peanut butter or almond butter (or other nut/seed butter)
Soften the cashews by soaking in hot boiled water for 20 min or in cool water for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line a square (8 or 9 inch) baking dish with parchment paper. (If you have two identical pans, use both to save baking time.)
In a medium bowl beat together all wet ingredients until thick and frothy. Add in the dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) and mix until just well combined, taking care not to overmix. Then stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour half the batter into the baking dish and use a rubber spatula to press batter firmly into the baking dish in one even layer.
Bake for 11-12 minutes or until puffed and edges are starting to darken.
Let cool on baking rack for a few minutes, then remove from pan and place in freezer.
Repeat steps 4-6 with remaining half of the batter.
While second brownie is chilling, make the ice cream. Drain the cashews and place in a blender or food processor with the coconut milk and coconut sugar and blend until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
Drizzle 4 tablespoons of peanut butter into the ice cream mixture.
Place one brownie sheet back in the bottom of the baking dish lined with parchment paper. Pour the ice cream mixture over the cookie. Feel free to drizzle additional nut butter into the top of the ice cream mixture if you like and swirl if the nut butter is not well distributed. Then top it off with the second brownie. Return to freezer to let the ice cream set, about 2-3 hours.
Once firm, cut into desired shapes and prepare to swoon!
Strict paleo - use only almond butter and a coconut sugar sweetened chococolate bar chopped into chunks.
Feel free to sub either almond or peanut butter in both places listed in this recipe.
Once cut, store any remaining pieces in an airtight container in the freezer.
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