I learned so many things yesterday. First, baking bread when your kitchen is over 80° is destined to be a disaster. Rather than rise up, the bread spreads out, and then you have flat sourdough, which is really only good to be cut up into crostini. Second, my apron has pockets, which means that when I discovered this and started storing my phone in one, I spent far too much time searching the counter for said phone whenever I needed to take a picture. Finally, there are some recipes that you just know how good the finished product will be based on the taste of the batter – the cookies for these sandwiches are one of those recipes.
I made this strawberry ice cream the weekend of the Fourth of July, intending to use it with my gluten free chocolate cookies to make ice cream sandwiches for my family. Unfortunately, I either ran out of time or decided that it was impractical to drive from Cambridge to Duxbury with melting ice cream sandwiches in my car.
Then I thought I’d just save it as a reserve post for a week that I didn’t get a chance to bake.
But I never quite shook the idea that it belonged in ice cream sandwich form, so when thinking of good summer desserts to make for a Game of Thrones viewing party, I came back around to the idea. If you want these for a specific event, you probably want to start planning a couple days ahead. But if you want to use store-bought ice cream, the cookies can be made same day.
Starting with the strawberry ice cream. Hull and dice the strawberries. I had in my head that 1 1/2 cups would require at least two containers of strawberries. It required less than one. Never a bad thing to have too many strawberries around, but a good measure to know. In a large bowl, mix the strawberries, honey, sugar, and lemon juice. Allow to sit 15 to 20 minutes. Using a pastry blender, mash the mixture until there are no more large pieces. Small ones are fine. Mix in the heavy cream, half and half, and vanilla extract until just combined. With your ice cream maker running (or however yours works), pour batter in and allow to churn for around 20 minutes, or until desired consistency. Transfer into an airtight container to freeze further. Next up, the cookies. Though the texture is the same as traditional ice cream sandwich cookies, the flavor, I think, is a little more grown up. With coffee and cinnamon, these are definitely more complex in a good way. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a double boiler, combine the chopped chocolate and butter, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg on medium speed until light and fluffy, then increase speed to high for an additional minute. Slowly add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture forms a ribbon when lifted form the bowl. Reduce the speed to medium and beat in the chocolate mixture, vanilla extract, and coffee extract. Beat in the dry ingredients until just combined. Pour the batter into a 17x12x1 inch jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper. Use an offset spatula (a truly revolutionary piece of kitchen equipment) to spread in an even layer. Bake at 350°F for about 8 minutes, or until top is dry and cookies have begun to pull away from edges. It’s like making one huge sheet of super thin brownie. Immediately cut into 32 squares while still warm. If you wait until it cools, it will crisp up and make this step too hard to do cleanly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before assembling cookies.When you are ready to assemble the cookies, allow the ice cream to thaw slightly. It also helps to match up the cookies in advance for the sandwiches so you can move quickly. Especially when your kitchen is around 80°. Put some ice cream between each and place on a baking sheet. Put the baking sheet back in the freezer for sandwiches to set. When they are set, wrap each individually in plastic wrap and put back in the freezer. And that’s it! You’ve got fully homemade ice cream sandwiches! Obviously, you could use any ice cream you felt a particular affinity to. I’m also pretty glad it took me this long to actually try the fresh strawberry ice cream, because if I had had any earlier, it wouldn’t have lasted until now to make the sandwiches.
Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches
Strawberry Ice Cream
- 1 1/2 cups strawberries, diced
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon (4 1/2 ounces) flour
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon coffee extract
Strawberry Ice Cream
- In a large bowl, stir together strawberries, honey, sugar, and lemon juice. Allow to sit 15 to 20 minutes.
- Mash mixture with a pastry cutter until no large pieces remain.
- Stir in heavy cream, half and half, and vanilla extract.
- Pour into ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s directions, about 20 minutes or until desired consistency.
- Transfer to an airtight container to freeze completely.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- In a double boiler, melt together the butter and chopped chocolate, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg on medium speed until light and fluffy. Increase speed to high for an additional minute.
- With mixer running, slowly add sugar and continue beating until mixture forms a ribbon when whisk is lifted.
- Reduce speed to medium and beat in melted chocolate, vanilla extract, and coffee extract.
- Beat in flour mixture to just combine.
- Spread batter in a 17x12x1 inch jelly roll pan sprayed with cooking spray and lined with parchment paper. Use an offset spatula to create an even layer.
- Bake at 350°F for 8 minutes or until top is dry and cookies pull away from edge of pan.
- Cut into 32 squares immediately. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
- Assemble cookies. Allow to freeze on baking sheet to set before wrapping individually and returning to freezer.