One of the best things about summer, especially if you have kids or grandchildren, is all the ice cream you take to cool off, no excuses needed. And it’s relatively easy to make, even if you don’t have an ice cream maker, if you choose a non-dairy recipe in which the whipped cream is gently folded into sweetened condensed milk rich in vanilla and other flavors, such as fresh fruit or spices.
My two-year-old granddaughter Greta’s current favorite is the “pink” ice cream, which is colored and studded with strawberry chunks. She recently discovered ice cream sandwiches and is such a fan that on a recent visit I watched her try to eat the parchment paper on one after polishing a cookie trying to get every drop of flavor into her mouth.
It made me decide we should try our hand at making it at home, tossing the chocolate cake mixture together in a large bowl on the kitchen counter after mixing the ice cream ingredients and pouring them into a loaf pan to freeze overnight.
It was such a fun way to spend one-on-one time together, and the sheer joy she expressed when we unwrapped the finished sandwiches the next day at her little brother Sean’s christening party was priceless. My adult kids also love them as a late night eater.
This recipe, adapted from Smitten Kitchen, is super easy and super satisfying. I strayed a bit from the text by cutting a sheet of paper into individual squares to make individual sandwiches, which meant that some of my cookies fell apart before they could be stuffed. (I didn’t have a compensation spoon to smooth out the mixture.) As a result, the picture of the sandwiches was not perfect. (I saved the broken pieces to crumble over the ice cream like a sundae.) But it was still very tasty, a great introduction to baking for a young child – and a lovely start to summer holidays for everyone.
Homemade strawberry ice cream sandwiches
For ice cream:
1 pound frozen strawberries, slightly thawed
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
fine pinch of salt
2 cups heavy cream, cold
For the chocolate sandwich cookies:
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, good cold
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt or table salt
3 tablespoons milk of any kind
1 large egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s natural unsweetened cocoa)
Make the ice cream: In a food processor, blend the strawberries into small pea-sized pieces. Add condensed milk, vanilla and salt. Mix well, then transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
Beat cream with a mixer on medium-high speed until firm peaks form, about 2 minutes. Mix about 1 cup of the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture with a rubber spatula until blended, then fold the whipped cream into the whipped cream until evenly blended.
Pour mixture into a refrigerated 9″ by 5″ by 3″ loaf pan, and freeze, covered with foil or plastic wrap, until thick and creamy, like a soft serve, about 2 hours. Stir any desired mixtures with a spoon, if using. Continue to freeze, covered, until firm and roomable, at least for more hours or overnight.
Make the cookies: Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a 9″ x 13″ jelly roll tray with parchment paper extending up to the short sides of the pan. Coat the exposed sides with butter or non-stick spray. (The extra part at the bottom of the manuscript helps with sticking.)
Melt the butter in a large bowl halfway, then whisk it until completely melted. (This keeps it from getting too hot.) Whisk in the sugar, salt, and milk. Beat in egg whites and vanilla. Make sure the egg whites are thoroughly mixed; She can be stubborn. Add cocoa powder and baking powder and mix well. Add the flour and stir until it disappears.
Spoon into prepared pan into small dollops, spreading—an offset spoon is great here—in a thin, even layer.
Bake for 15 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Prick everything with the teeth of a fork. Let cool, then cut into squares.
Make the sandwiches: Before scooping, let the ice cream simmer at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes.
Divide the cookies in half. Put the ice cream in small spoons on top of half of the biscuits and distribute them evenly. Press half of the second cookie, right side up, over each cookie. Gently press to shape sandwiches, then wrap in plastic wrap or foil, and place in the freezer for at least an hour to firm. Otherwise, it will melt.
Makes about 12 ice cream sandwiches.
– Adapted from smitten kitchen.com