Ice cream sandwiches take the bite out of summer
Living in the Colorado high country is pure joy. Baking in it isn’t. High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips to make baking in the mountains successful. Fun to make and fun to eat … that’s what these homemade ice-cream sandwiches are. They are a perfect dessert for a lazy summer day: Make the cookies in advance and, on the day you will serve the sandwiches, put out several kinds of ice cream (or even better, churn your own), and invite everyone to create their custom-made dessert. You can supply goodies to add to the ice cream – chopped nuts, crushed candy, or even liqueurs (a little Kahlua stirred into coffee ice cream is heavenly). Let the creations freeze during dinner and viola … You have a last course that delights one and all.The cookies are rich and chocolatey and no matter how long you freeze them, they stay slightly soft. This makes them an ideal partner for ice cream. The resulting sandwiches are really quite good – far better than the commercial variety.If they are stored at room temperature in an airtight container, the cookies can be made two days before spreading them with ice cream. They can also be frozen for several weeks. Once assembled, the ice-cream sandwiches can sit in the freezer for about a week.Vera Dawson lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude.
Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches(Adjusted for altitudes between approximately 7,000 and 10,000 feet)Makes 9 sandwiches; you can double the recipe.Ingredients1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, scant (slightly less)1/4 teaspoon salt6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup of granulated sugar1 large egg1/2 teaspoon of vanillaOne or more pints of ice cream: I used strawberry for the ones in the photograph. We also like coffee, vanilla, chocolate chip, caramel, and dulce de leche sandwiched between the chocolate cookies.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, with a rack in the center position. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or Reynold’s Release nonstick aluminum foil. Do not grease the pan, the cookies may spread too much.Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda) together in a bowl until thoroughly combined and without lumps.Using an electric mixer at medium high speed, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. This should take several minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.In a small bowl, combine the egg and vanilla. Add them to the butter and sugar and beat until the mixture is well blended.
Add the dry ingredients and mix only until combined. Don’t overmix or the cookies will be tough. The dough will be very soft, almost like frosting.Drop level tablespoons of the dough on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. You will get about 18 cookies. Place in the oven and bake until the cookies are set and puffy. This takes about 14 minutes in my oven.Remove from the oven and set the baking sheet on a cooling rack. Cool the cookies on the sheet for about three to five minutes. Then, lifting them with a metal spatula, carefully place them directly on the rack to cool completely. When you are ready to assemble the sandwiches, soften the ice cream slightly, and place a scant quarter cup on the flat side of one of the cookies. Place a second cookie, flat side down, on the ice cream and press gently to spread it to the edges. If you are adding extras (nuts, candy, whatever), you can do it one of two ways: Place some of the softened ice cream in a bowl and stir them in before putting the mixture between the cookies. Or, if you want to use the extras as a layer in the sandwich, sprinkle them on top of the ice cream before adding the second cookie. Wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap and freeze them an hour or more before serving. Let them stand at room temperature for a few minutes to soften the ice cream a bit before eating them.This cookie recipe is a variation of one found in “The Gourmet Cookbook”.Contact Vera Dawson with your comments about the Life Is Sweet column or your baking questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
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