Friday 24 December 2021

Ice Cream Sandwiches For The Holidays


Ice cream?  At this time of year?  Heck, yes!  Every season is ice cream season at my house and from the very first time I saw
this recipe from April J. Harris, I knew I wanted to use them to make ice cream sandwiches.  They're so festive looking, and they taste great too.

I wanted to ensure that the ice cream sandwiches could mostly be prepared ahead of time and the cookies and ice cream were in rounds of similar diameter. The solution I came up with is simple, effective, and doesn't require the purchase of extra kitchen gear.

For every four ice cream sandwiches you plan to make, you'll need on 398 ml/14 ounce tin can. It's the size of tin most commercially canned cranberry sauce comes in, and many other canned fruits and vegetables too. Decide on how many servings you're going to need, then save your tins over time. Unless you have a cookie or biscuit cutter of the same diameter as the tins, you'll have to save an extra tin for cutting out your cookies.  You'll also need some kitchen parchment.

The ice cream should be the first thing you make because it can be kept in the freezer for several days before you plan to serve your ice cream sandwiches.  You'll be using the tin cans as ice cream molds so you should prepare them before beginning to make your ice cream.

Use a pencil to trace around the top of one of your tins onto a piece of parchment.  You'll need to make two circles for each tin you plan to use. Cut the circles out, cutting just inside the traced line so there's no graphite on the cut pieces.  

Cut a piece of parchment greater than the height of each tin. You'll use the full width of the parchment piece in each mold. Working one tin at a time, begin by rolling up this piece of parchment from one of its side edge,s into a tube smaller than the diameter of your tin.  Place the tube inside the tin, let go, and allow it to widen to conform to the sides of the tin.  

Place a parchment circle in the bottom of each tin.  I used the handle of a wooden spoon to gently push the circles into place at the bottom of the mold.

Now you're ready to make your frozen custard.  You'll need:

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and salt together until the mixture lightens to a pale yellow and becomes fluffy.

Stir the milk and cream together in the top of a double boiler and cook it over simmering water, stirring occassionally,  until little bubbles begin to appear on the surface.

Whisk one ladleful of the heated milk/cream mixture into the egg mixture until the two are thoroughly incorporated.  Add another ladelful of the milk/cream mixture and whisk it in. Continue ladling and whisking until all of the milk/cream mixture is combined with the egg mixture. Whisk in the vanilla extract.

Pour the custard through a seive into a pitcher, let it cool to room temperature, then put it in the firdge for a few hours or overnight.

Pour the chilled custard into your ice cream maker and process it according to the manufacturers instructions until it reaches the thickness of soft ice cream.

Spoon the ice cream into the prepared molds, filling them almost to the level of the top edge of the tin and then place a parchment circle on top, pressing it gently into place so that it helps level the top of the ice cream and there are no air bubbles between the ice cream and the parchment. One batch of ice cream should fill two tins with maybe a little bit left over.

Put the tins in the freezer and leave them there until you're ready to assemble your ice cream sandwiches.

Next, bake the cookies.  Here's a link to the recipe:

Prepare the cookie dough following April's instructions right up to the point where she rolls the dough into cylinders prior to chilling them.  Instead of making cylinders, divide the dough in half and place one half onto a sheet of waxed paper.  Cover it with a second sheet of waxed paper and roll it out to about a 1/8 inch thickness. 

Use the waxed paper to transfer the rolled dough onto a baking sheet and then repeat the process with the other half of the dough. Put it in the freezer to chill.

When the dough is very cold bring out one rolled sheet and place it on your work surface.  Remove the top sheet of waxed paper.

Using your extra tin can, or a cookie or biscuit cutter the same diameter as the tins you're using for ice cream molds, cut out your cookies. You'll need two cookies for each ice cream sandwich plus a few extras in case of breakage. Gently remove the extra dough from between the cut cookies and use a paring knife to trim any edges where the cutter hasn't cut all the way through a cherry. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment.  Lift the cut out cookies, still on their sheet of waxed paper, over to the parchment lined baking sheet and quickly flip the waxed paper over so that the cookies are on the parchment.  Peel away the waxed paper and then move the cookies so they're evenly spaced on the parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake the cookies at 350F for about 10 minutes, just until they start to take on a tiny bit of colour along the bottom edge. Remove the baking pan from the oven to a wire rack and cool the cookies to room temperature.

Repeat this process with the other half of the cookie dough. 

Once at room temperature the cookies can be stored in an airtight container, or frozen, until you need them.

To assemble the ice cream sandwiches:

Working with one mold at a time, take the tin out of the freezer and dip the bottom of the can in a bowl of hot water for a few seconds to loosen the ice cream from the bottom of the tin.  Use the ends of the parchment sticking out from the top of the tin to pull the wrapped ice cream out of the tin.

Place the wrapped ice cream on a cutting board. Place 4 cookies bottom-side up on your work surface. Unwrap the ice cream and cut it into four rounds of approximately equal thickness and use a spatula to transfer one cut round of ice cream to each of the cookies you place on your work surface.  Top each sandwich with another cookie, facing right side up.

You can serve your ice cream sandwiches at this point or you can do this assembly a few hours before you serve your meal. If prepping ahead, arrange the sandwiches on a platter, cover them, and put the platter in the freezer until you're ready to serve dessert.

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