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I wish I had an awesome story to tell you about ice cream sandwiches, but I don’t really. I remember in the summers of my youth, I would go downstairs to the “big” freezer and grab one for dessert after dinner. They were meh; these ones are better. That’s it. That’s my awesome story. Sometimes, I just can’t tie in a recipe to a life event, as hard as I try (and I have a lot of stories!). I’ll probably think of one just as I post this -murphy’s law! However, I do have an educational alternative for you.

In my last post, the Happy Hippie Granola called for buckwheat flour and I didn’t even talk about how good buckwheat is for you! How rude. I’m here to make amends and give you everything you ever wanted to know about buckwheat (and probably a lot of stuff you don’t even want to know, but are now going to know anyways). I'm planning to overdo it, go beyond all blogging word counts appropriate for one single food, and give you the definitive guide to buckwheat.

As a reward for reading this long and winding buckwheat tome, you should probably go into the kitchen and whip up these easy, vegan, gluten-free ice cream sandwiches. Go on, you deserve it.
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Buckwheat 101

Buckwheat is not a true wheat or grain, but a relative to rhubarb. It originated in China, and became popular in medieval Russia, as kasha. In Russia, the word, kasha, signified a feast or meal, as this was a staple in the diet at the time. An oddball fact about buckwheat is its ability to lighten skin pigment, as it inhibits melanin production (the tanning element). This may be a clue to why kasha (buckwheat), was such a staple in the Siberian peoples, as this would enable them to absorb more vitamin D from the sun. (So, just be careful, as eating a lot of buckwheat can make you more susceptible to sunburn, if you have very fair skin!)   

Varieties of Buckwheat

Buckwheat/Buckwheat Groats:
White-green in colour and unroasted, buckwheat groats can be soaked and eaten raw, or cooked into a hot cereal.

Kasha: The toasted variety of buckwheat groats. This has a strong flavour and is more of an acquired taste. Like nuts and seeds, it’s best to buy buckwheat groats (raw), and toast them at home.

Kasha Grits: This is kasha (see above), ground coarsely for quick-cooking (although, regular kasha only takes about 10 minutes to cook…)

Whole Buckwheat: Definitely don’t go cooking this up for dinner! This has the inedible black buckwheat hull attached. This is meant to be ground into flour (as used in this recipe), or sprouted.

Buckwheat Flour: Made from unroasted buckwheat groats, this flour comes in light, medium, and dark varieties. Since the dark variety has the black hull intact, this is the most nutrient-dense of the three, and supplies an incredibly high amount of the essential amino acid, lysine (uncommon in such large quantities, in plant foods). Buckwheat flour is used to make soba noodles; however, it’s important to read the package if you're gluten-intolerant or have celiac disease, as many brands combine buckwheat flour with wheat flour. Buckwheat flour can’t be substituted 1:1 for all-purpose flour in baking, so be sure to follow a recipe that calls specifically for buckwheat flour -like the one below!

Health Benefits of Buckwheat

Blood Sugar Stability: Of any “grain,” buckwheat takes the longest to digest, helping to stabilize blood sugar, and keep hunger pangs at bay.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Aid: The D-chiro-inositol compound found in abundance in buckwheat, has been shown to produce lowered free and total testosterone, decreased blood pressure, improvement in glucose removal, and a higher frequency of ovulation -all extremely positive benefits for women with PCOS. (The study on PCOS and D-chiro-inositol’s benefits, was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.)

Gluten-Free: Contrary to its name, buckwheat is both wheat and gluten-free.

Diabetes Control: Along with its blood sugar stabilizing abilities, buckwheat contains D-chiro-inositol, needed for insulin signal transduction. Studies have found type 2 diabetics to be deficient in D-chiro-inositol and buckwheat contains the most of this compound of any food.

Bone Builder: Buckwheat contains many bone-supportive nutrients, including magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, lysine, and manganese. 

Lowers Blood Pressure:
The flavonoid glycosides of buckwheat are highly beneficial to blood vessel health, helping to dilate blood vessels, increase microcirculation, lower blood pressure, and reduce capillary permeability.

Amino Acid-Packed: Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Protein is needed for immune health, tissue repair, muscle building, neurological health, hair strength, and much, much more. Buckwheat is particularly high in the essential amino acid, lysine. Lysine helps to absorb calcium from the intestinal tract, promoting bone health; it also increases collagen production, which is needed for skin, cartilage, connective tissue, and bone strength. 

Heart Healthy: Its blood pressure-lowering, blood sugar-stability, high fibre, and cholesterol-reducing features, makes buckwheat a heart healthy food. Furthermore, buckwheat’s abilities to improve arterial diameter (making them larger), aids in the aversion of stenosis (arterial narrowing).

Nutrient-Dense: Buckwheat is loaded with a variety of nutrients, including iron, manganese, copper, potassium, magnesium, protein and fibre. 
 
I hope to have a fun story for my next post and recipe, so stay tuned! Until then… Vegan Buckwheat Ice Cream Sandwiches: They speak for themselves. 
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Buckwheat Ice Cream Sandwiches (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Makes 8 large or 16 small

Ingredients:

Chocolate Buckwheat Cookie
Dry
1 cup buckwheat flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
¼ cup raw almonds, ground or ¼ cup almond meal/almond flour
2 tsp baking soda 
½ tsp sea salt

Wet
1 1/3 cups water
1/3 cup pure maple syrup or agave
3 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla 

Ice Cream (OR 1 pint of your favourite dairy-free ice cream, such as Coconut Bliss, slightly soft)
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 cup soaked raw cashews (about ¾ cup dry)
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp grated fresh ginger (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8x8 square pan with parchment paper, leaving plenty of paper overhang (for easy lifting later).

To prepare cookie: In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients with a whisk. In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 17-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in pan. Cover and transfer to refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours. Meanwhile, make the ice cream.

To prepare ice cream: Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor, and puree until completely smooth (about 1-2 minutes). Chill until ready to assemble.

To assemble the sandwiches: Remove the chilled cookie from the pan using the parchment overhang. With a large serrated knife, cut the cake in half by placing on hand flat on top, and slowly turning in a circle until the entire top is loosened –take your time, there’s no rush! Using a thin metal disk (I used a tart pan insert) or sheet of cardboard, gently slide the top off, leaving it on the metal disk or cardboard.

Transfer the bottom portion, back to the square pan, evenly spread on ice cream mixture. Before sliding the top cookie on, gently poke the surface with a fork, being careful not to go all the way through (this is optional, but makes it look authentic). Slide the top on the ice cream. Cover and freeze for at least 3 hours. Remove from the freezer and using a serrated knife, slice into any sized sandwiches you like. Store in a tightly-covered container in the freezer until ready to eat.

Have you tried buckwheat? What's your favourite way to use it? 

 


Comments

04/24/2014 11:08am

I love your posts Allison. You give amazing recipes tied in with humour and great nutritional info! Love it! I never knew Buckwheat was a member of the Rhubarb family! These look fantastic!

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04/24/2014 11:45am

Thank you Lauren! That's so sweet. And isn't that odd about buckwheat!? Such a strange plant, but totally yummy :)

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Eva @ Pastel Bakery
04/24/2014 11:56am

Very interesting read on buckwheat - plus these ice cream bars look delish! I love using buckwheat as part of my flour blend when making a chocolate dessert.

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04/24/2014 12:10pm

Hi Eva! Thanks :) This is actually only my second time using buckwheat but I'm in love with it now. It definitely compliments the chocolate nicely!

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04/24/2014 1:11pm

These look so good, Allison! I love ice cream sandwiches and was thinking about trying to make some just last week! I've never used buckwheat flour, but by the sound of it, I think I need to be using it more!

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04/24/2014 4:14pm

Hey Isadora! I'm fairly new to buckwheat flour and I'm loving it! And I was inspired the macaroon ice cream sandwiches from your blog :) They just looked soooo good.

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04/24/2014 7:51pm

:) and now I am inspired by yours to make some chocolate ones!

04/24/2014 5:29pm

Wow! These look amazing! I had no idea that buckwheat was so great for blood sugar and so many other things!! Thanks for taking the time to write it all out :)

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04/25/2014 7:24am

Hi Am! I'm more than happy to! I love writing about this stuff :)

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Wow those look amazing! I love buckwheat! Kasha is beautiful in power bowls and I love buckwheat flour for pancakes :)

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04/25/2014 7:26am

Hi Rebecca! Thank you! I really need to try some kasha in place of my usual brown rice in a power bowl sometime. And I'm going to give buckwheat pancakes a try this weekend!

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04/24/2014 8:19pm

These look amazing! I can't wait to try them. I have some buckwheat flour in the fridge right now.
Cheers, Debi

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04/25/2014 7:30am

Hey Debi! Thank you! I'm definitely going to be keeping buckwheat on-hand now; it's a new flour to me, and I'm really enjoying it. I hope you enjoy if you give these if you give them a try!

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Millie
04/25/2014 7:14am

Hey Allison! I'm so glad to hear this about buckwheat (makes the raw brownies even tastier now hehe)!! I've got some photos to show you :)
Take care! :)

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04/25/2014 7:35am

Hey Millie! Yes, I'd love to see your photos! (I still need to whip up your raw brownies!) I'm going to give you an email tomorrow morning, sweetie xo :)

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04/25/2014 8:06am

NO WAY! This is genius! I love buckwheat flour and didn't know all of those fun facts about buckwheat. I feel a billion times smarter now. I had also never thought to make ice cream sandos gf! So pleasantly pleased by this recipe and now I must fashion me up some sandos!

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04/25/2014 10:23am

Hey, Julia! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!!! I am soooo going add the word "sandos" to my vernacular. AMAZING. Thanks, girl!

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04/25/2014 9:29am

Rah! This looks *amazing* and I am deeply impressed that the ice-cream is so simple but delicious - usually one requires all sorts of fancy tricks, but this is very rad! :D

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04/25/2014 10:26am

Thank you so much! It's super simple -which means more time spent eating ice cream sandwiches! :)

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04/26/2014 6:23pm

My vegan tastebuds have seriously been missing Ice Cream Sandwiches; NO LONGER!!

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04/27/2014 8:06am

Hey Suzanne! Haha yes, I know! Glad I could be of some assistance ;)

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04/27/2014 4:28pm

These look GORGEOUS! Your posts are always so beautiful and informative. I can't wait to try out the dark buckwheat flour. :)

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04/27/2014 7:02pm

Hey Elyse! Thank you so much! You're sweet :) Yes, it's so yummy! I'm loving it lately.

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04/28/2014 5:14pm

Girl, these look so good! The addition of an apple to the ice cream is very inventive! I used to eat ice cream sandwiches all the time as a kid, so just the sight of these brings back some great memories. :)

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04/28/2014 8:30pm

Hey Lauren! Thanks so much! They were a staple in my childhood diet too :)

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05/02/2014 10:01am

I LOVE buckwheat. And, I LOVE ice cream. You've made my day.

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05/02/2014 2:16pm

Hey Shannon! So happy I could make your day :) Ice cream solves everything!

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Adding ice cream sandwiches back on the list of foods I can eat! These are amazing and sound delicious!

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05/02/2014 6:48pm

Hey Laura! That's awesome! Ice cream for all! :)

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Sleepy
05/03/2014 12:00am

Just wanted to add something worth mentioning. I am from Ukraine and I cook whole buckwheat at least 3-5 a week with just salt pepper and vegan butter (olive oil kind). It's THE BEST! Cook it like rice. Wash, 1:2 ratio buckwheat:water. Bring to boil. Cover, simmer for exactly 20 minutes! Yummy.

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05/03/2014 11:09am

What a great idea! I've actually been looking around for instructions on how to cook whole buckwheat, so thank you so much! I will definitely give this a try.

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05/03/2014 10:50am

As French and from Normandy, I would say by preparing some galette! :) http://lespetitsplatsderoseinenglish.blogspot.se/2012/01/galette-complete.html

Want to try your recipe absolutely! :)

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05/03/2014 11:11am

Hi Rose! You can never go wrong with French food -I love all of their uses of buckwheat. Galette is one of my favourites -I'm terrible with pastry, but I think I should try that! Thanks for the inspiration :)

I hope you love the recipe if you give it a go!

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05/14/2014 1:29pm

Love buckwheat and you sure know your stuff about grains!

Have you had a chance to see Tartine 3 - Modern Ancient Whole? It's Tartine's third cookbook and they focus on baking with ancient grains like kamut, buckwheat, rye, barley etc. and they make desserts like salted chocolate rye cookies, purple barley amazake bread, etc. I don't think the recipes are all vegan but they are great inspiration for baking bread and making desserts with whole grains :)

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05/14/2014 1:50pm

Why thank you :) I have not seen that book! I have such a huge problem with buying cookbooks but I need to look this up! Sounds like I'd love it. Thank you so much! Seriously, I'm so excited! Yippee! *opening amazon tab now*

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Charesa
05/19/2014 6:34pm

I had no idea buckwheat made your skin lighter and more susceptible to burns! Good thing I wear sunblock daily. But I do really love buckwheat. Instead of cream of wheat, I make cream of buckwheat and also add ground flaxseed, chia seeds and hemp seeds with almond milk, maple syrup, unsulphured raisins, strawberries and blueberries (all organic). Yummy!

I will make your ice cream sandwiches tonight.

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Allison @ Clean Wellness
06/05/2014 2:06pm

Hi Charesa! I hope you enjoyed them :)

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Jackie
06/04/2014 10:33am

This looks delicious! I'm really in love with bananas, could I substitute the apple for banana in the ice cream?

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Allison @ Clean Wellness
06/05/2014 2:08pm

Hi Jackie! You could definitely use bananas! They may be a little softer -although, once they're frozen, I think it would work out perfectly and firm up. I should try that :)

I hope it works out for you -enjoy!

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