Real talk: I’ve been going through a lot of ice cream lately.
But can you blame me? The weather in Ohio has been on point these past few weeks. I’m talking temps in the mid- to upper-80s and sunshine galore. Aka perfect ice cream weather. (Just kidding.. any kind of weather is ice cream weather in my book)
Ice cream is always one of my favorite desserts no matter what time of the year – but as soon the temps start to heat up, my ice cream obsession reaches an all-time high. Ice cream, fro-yo, DQ blizzards.. no frozen treat is safe when I’m around.
While I’m all treating yourself, I found that my nightly ice cream ritual was starting to turn into more of a habit than a treat. So when I heard that the theme for this month’s Recipe ReDux was “Small Bite Desserts”, I knew this was a sign that it was time for an ice cream intervention.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I recently joined the Recipe ReDux – the first (and only!) recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians. The goal of this group is to reinvent the idea of “healthy” food by creating recipes that are both delicious and nutritious (right up my alley, huh?) From now on, I’ll be participating in their monthly redux “challenges” and popping in on either the 21st or 22nd of the month to share the finished product with you.
But wait – there’s more! I’ll also be linking to all of the other members’ recipes on the bottom of each post. So, basically you get to enjoy hundreds of recipes for the “price” of one. Talk about a deal! (Clearly I missed my calling in the infomercial biz..)
Alright, back to this recipe (because something tells me you didn’t just come here for my *amazing* Billy Mays impersonation)..
These Mini Nice Cream Snickers Bars were inspired by one of my all-time favorite childhood treats: Ice Cream Snickers Bars. To be honest, I’m not super crazy about normal Snickers bars (I’m more of a Reese’s gal myself), but Ice Cream Snickers Bars are a whoollleeee other story. Something about that creamy peanut butter ice cream coated in chewy caramel, salty peanuts, and dark chocolate just speaks to my ice cream loving soul.
Prompted by this month’s Recipe ReDux theme, I set out to reinvent the dessert of my childhood – but with a healthier twist. After all, I wanted to make these bars healthy enough to enjoy on the regular.
Well, you guys.. Mission. Accomplished.
I’m happy to report that these bars are even MORE incredible than I remember those store-bought ice cream bars ever being. I’m not even exaggerating. These are so, SO good.
And not only are these bars absolutely DEEE-licious, but they’re also full of good-for-you ingredients like bananas, peanut butter, dates, and dark chocolate. Plus, they can easily be made vegan and/or dairy-free as long as you use vegan and/or dairy-free chocolate.
But the best part of all? You can make a batch and enjoy them all week long! So any time a craving strikes, all you have to do is open up your freezer and grab one (or two.. I won’t tell) of these adorable “byte-sized” treats. It’s even easier than scooping out a bowl of ice cream (plus, no dirty dishes!) WINNNIINNNGGG.
So whether you’re vegan, dairy-free, or just looking for a healthier way to satisfy that nightly ice cream craving, these bars are for you! Give them a try and let me know what you think – I have a feeling you’ll quickly see why these bars have become my latest obsession.
Mini Nice Cream Snickers Bars (Vegan & Dairy-Free)
|Yield: 12 bars|
Mini Vegan Nice Cream Snickers Bars are the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth this summer! Peanut butter banana "nice cream" is frozen in ice cube trays, topped with date caramel and chopped peanuts, and coated in a rich dark chocolate coating for a sweet treat that you can feel good about!
- For the date caramel:
- 12 large pitted medjool dates (about 6.5 oz)
- 2-4 tbsp warm water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- For the peanut butter banana "nice cream":
- 2 ripe bananas (peeled, sliced, and frozen)
- 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- For the filling:
- 1/4 cup peanuts, halved
- For the dark chocolate coating:
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips (vegan/dairy-free if desired)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- To begin, add the dates to a bowl filled with warm water and soak for at least 10 minutes to soften.
- Drain dates and add to a food processor or high-speed blender. Pulse/blend on low until small pieces remain, periodically stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
- Slowly stream in the warm water a few teaspoons at a time while continuing to process until a paste is made (again, you will need to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally). Transfer the "caramel" to a small bowl and set aside until you're ready to assemble the bars.
- Add frozen sliced banana to the same food processor or high-speed blender as before (you can rinse it out if there's a lot of date pieces remaining, but this step is not necessary). Process/blend until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add peanut butter and vanilla extract to the banana mixture and pulse a few times to incorporate.
- Assemble the bars by placing a heaping teaspoon of date caramel into the bottom of each ice cube mold. Top with a thin layer of peanuts and fill the remainder of each mold with banana ice cream (about 1 heaping tablespoon per mold).
- Place the ice cube tray in the freezer and freeze until solid, at least 4-6 hours (but preferably overnight).
- Once frozen, prepare the chocolate coating. Place the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir with a rubber spatula and repeat this process 2 to 3 more times until thoroughly melted. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to cool.
- Line a plate with wax paper. Working quickly, remove each bar from the ice cube tray and fully (or partially) dip in the chocolate to coat. Place chocolate-coated bars on the plate lined with wax paper and return to the freezer to harden (at least 30 minutes).