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These two-bite sherbet sandwiches bring a light touch to a nostalgic dessert

Mini cherry-vanilla sherbet sandwiches are a light summer treat that can be consumed in only two bites.  (Tom McCorkle/For the Washington Post)
Mini cherry-vanilla sherbet sandwiches are a light summer treat that can be consumed in only two bites. (Tom McCorkle/For the Washington Post)
By Ellie Krieger For the Washington Post

One evening, back when I was in private practice as a dietitian, I was happily strolling down the street fully immersed in the drippy deliciousness of an ice cream cone when a client sneaked up on me with a loud “Caught ya!” Forced out of my revelry, I slipped into professional mode to explain that savoring some real ice cream now and then is absolutely consistent with a healthy way of life – no guilt warranted.

That said, I’m also happy for the existence of frosty desserts on the lighter, more healthful side – which I lean into most of the time – and I enjoy playing around in my kitchen with the many possibilities. One dependable pleasure is a sherbet-like frozen fruit whip, where you blend frozen fruit (banana, berries, cherries, pineapple, peaches, grapes – you name it) with just enough milk (any type you like) to get it whirring.

Drizzle in some sweetener to taste, and, if you’re feeling creative, riff on that base by adding other flavors such as a dash of vanilla extract or a sprinkle of nutmeg, a splash of citrus or even a handful of tender herbs. In this recipe, I took a cherry-vanilla frozen fruit whip to the next level using it as a filling between two vanilla wafer cookies, then rolling each sandwich in a festive coating of shredded coconut or chopped, toasted almonds.

The resulting two-bite mini “ice cream” sandwiches are absolutely joy sparking, offering genuine flavor nostalgia in a fresh, two-bite package. They are sure to bring a dose of fun as an end-of-summer treat or whenever you might need one.

Mini Cherry-Vanilla Sherbet Sandwiches

These two-bite sherbet sandwiches made with a quick blender whip of frozen sweet cherries and a little milk, which can be plant-based, are layered between two vanilla wafer cookies and then rolled in a festive coating of shredded coconut or toasted almonds. They make for a refreshing, light dessert that will absolutely spark joy.

Make ahead: The sherbet needs to be made 3 hours before assembling the sandwiches. The assembled sandwiches need to firm up in the freezer for at least 1 hour before serving.

2 cups (10 ounces) frozen, pitted sweet cherries

¼ cup whole milk (may substitute unsweetened coconut or almond milk)

1 tablespoon honey

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup (1¼ ounces) sliced almonds

⅓ cup (½ ounce) unsweetened shredded coconut

48 vanilla wafer cookies, such as Nilla wafers, or more as needed

Place the cherries, milk, honey and vanilla extract in a blender. Puree until mostly smooth and sherbet-like but with some chunks of cherry remaining. Because the mixture is intentionally thick, you might need to stop and start the blender several times, stirring and pushing down with a rubber spatula in between bursts of blending.

Transfer the mixture to a container, cover and freeze for 2 to 3 hours, stirring every hour or so, until firm.

Heat a medium skillet over medium-low to medium heat until warm. Add the almonds and toast, stirring frequently to prevent the nuts from burning, until golden brown and fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes.

Remove from the heat and transfer the nuts to a cutting board to cool completely, then finely chop. (You should get one-third cup finely chopped almonds.) Transfer the almonds to a plate.

Line two medium rimmed dishes or shallow containers with wax paper and make sure there is room in the freezer to fit them. Place the coconut on another plate and set it next to the almonds.

Place the container of sherbet into a bowl of ice so it stays firm as you make the sandwiches. Scoop about a tablespoon of the sherbet onto the flat side of a vanilla wafer cookie, then gently top with another cookie.

Roll the sandwich in the coconut to coat the sherbet in the center, and place the sandwich on one of the lined trays. Continue until you have used up about half the sherbet (after about 12 sandwiches), then transfer the tray to the freezer.

Repeat with the remaining sherbet, this time rolling the cookies in the almonds, then transfer to the freezer, as well. Freeze until firm, for at least 1 hour, before serving.

Storage notes: The sherbet sandwiches may be frozen in an airtight container for as long as 2 weeks.

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