Ice cream, ice cream, we all scream for ice cream (and cookies)!
Ice cream sandwiches are one of my favorite treats. The newest, fastest way for me to get my fix is buying a bag of Tate’s Chocolate Chip Cookies and a pint of Haagen Dazs Gelato (the Stracciatella worked well but next time I will use the Salted Caramel). Gelato gets soft rather quickly so making these takes minutes. Once the gelato is spreadable, just place a nice large spoonful into the center of a Tate’s cookie and sandwich it between another cookie. Place into the freezer. They will be ready in 30 minutes.
I am not sure why peppermint stick hasn’t taken off as a flavor. I usually only make peppermint stick ice cream during the holidays but a recent tour of Hammond’s Candy in Denver gave me the hankering. At Hammond’s they still make really beautiful candies the old fashioned way and their peppermints are perfect for making ice cream.
I make my peppermint stick ice cream with a custard base, which takes longer but the results are richer and creamier. You could easily use Kimberly’s No-Cook Method for Vanilla Ice Cream and then proceed at the freezing step of adding the peppermints. These little peppermint pillows dissolve so beautifully and turns the custard a beautiful pink hue.
I made the sandwich base using whoopie pie molds only because I thought it would be easier to freeze (and my freezer is packed full) and to serve. You can make this on a single 13 x 18-inch cookie sheet. Nabisco Chocolate Wafers could work as a good substitute too.
Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies (Adapted from Fine Cooking June 2003)
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp. butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup cold milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (325 if using convection). Blend together the dry ingredients. Using an electric mixer, whip the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy – about 3 minutes.
Add the vanilla then in small batches add the flour mixture alternating with the milk. Distribute the batter into your pan of choice. I used an ice scream scoop and then flattened and smoothed the batter using a pastry knife. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cookie. Make sure to rotate the pan half way during cooking. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Peppermint Stick Ice Cream (Adapted from Anne Mendelson’s fantastic book Milk)
One large vanilla bean, split in half and insides scraped out
1 cup whole milk (raw if you can get it)
2 cups half and half
1 cup heavy cream
4 egg yolks -at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional and not necessary of using peppermint candies)
1 cup Hammond’s Peppermint Pillows (They make beautiful licorice ones as well.)
Heat the liquids with the vanilla bean (I add the insides and the pod but you could save your pods and put them into a jar with some sugar to scent the sugar) in a heavy bottomed pan until just before boiling. Meanwhile in a large bowl, whisk the sugar into the eggs yolks.
Using a ladle, temper the egg/sugar mixture by whisking a little of the hot milk slowly into the eggs. Continue until half of the liquids have been added then add that mixture back in the milk that is on the stove. Cook for a few minutes more or until the custard starts to look like it is thickening. This is easily seen by dipping a large spoon into the hot mixture and running your finger along the back. Your finger should leave a large line. Make sure to keep whisking the hot mixture so that the eggs don’t start to cook and curdle.
Pour the custard through a medium mesh sieve. Place the custard in a bowl over a bowl of ice. Allow the custard to cool. Place in the refrigerator overnight. Process the ice cream the next day according to your machines instructions but watch the process carefully. You want to add the peppermints to the base just as it is getting frozen. Once the ice cream is done, place into a container and freeze for about 30 to 45 minutes.
Once you have got all the components, assembling the sandwiches is as easy. What are you waiting for?