These chewy and delicious homemade cookie bars are great for cooking with kids. Let them use their (clean) hands to mix the dough and flatten it in the pan. It’s like working with safely edible playdough! These dairy-free bars were designed to be the base for a homemade dairy-free ice cream sandwich, but they were so darn good, we kept eating them alone. Chock full of nuts and grains, they’re loaded with nutrition.
- ¾ cup (195 grams) almond paste
- ¾ cup (245 grams) pistachio paste
- 1 cup (212 grams) light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 cup (169 grams) white whole wheat flour
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (56 grams) old-fashioned oatmeal
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 quart nondairy ice cream of your choice for sandwiches (we used our Coconut, Rosewater, and Cinnamon Ice Cream)
To make the cookie bars:
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Spray a large rimmed baking pan with nonstick vegetable oil spray and line the bottom with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch border hanging over the long sides. Spray the parchment lightly with vegetable oil spray.
- In the bowl of a food processor, process the almond paste until smooth. Add the pistachio paste and process for about 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally, until completely combined and light in color. Add the sugar and process again for 3 to 5 minutes, until completely incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition until completely incorporated. Add the vanilla bean paste and mix to incorporate.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, oatmeal, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the almond-pistachio mixture and, with your hands, knead until a sticky dough forms.
- Transfer the mixture into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer about ¼ to ⅛ inch thick. It will be a little lumpy, so smooth it out by placing a sheet of parchment paper on it, tapping it or rubbing it lightly all over with the bottom of a drinking glass, and then peeling off the paper. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the cookie holds together and is cooked through.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan. Trim off all the dark edges and cut into 28 bars, 3 inches long by 2½ inches wide.
To make ice cream sandwiches:
- When you are ready to assemble the ice cream sandwiches, take the ice cream out of the freezer to soften it enough to scoop, but not melt.
- Place a cooled cookie bar on a work surface. Place ½ cup of ice cream (or as much ice cream as required to make a thick layer) on the top of the cookie. Place another cookie on top, bottom side up, and flatten the sandwich down very gently with the bottom of a pan and slow, gentle, even push down, until the ice cream spreads out evenly across the entire cookie and it is 2½ to 3 inches thick (or as thick as you desire). Wrap in plastic, then in foil, and freeze until solid. Repeat with the remaining cookies and ice cream.
- To cut cookies of a consistent size for making ice cream sandwiches, cut 1 cookie first and use it as a template for cutting the rest.