This guest post is from JENNIE SCHACHT, author of the ice cream sandwich cookbook i Scream SANDWICH!
Did you know that August 2 is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day? Imagine that—a whole day dedicated to my favorite dessert. But in truth, there’s no reason to limit your enjoyment of this seductive treat to one day, or even one month or one season. I make and enjoy ice cream sandwiches all year long!
There are a million and one ways to make an ice cream sandwich, from scooping your favorite store-bought ice cream between two homemade cookies, to packing a scoop of homemade ice cream into a soft brioche bun (that’s how it’s done in Sicily!), to making the whole thing from scratch yourself.
The most important thing is to combine textures and flavors that complement or contrast with one another. You might use soft cookies, crunchy wafers, or dense, chewy brownies on the outside, with creamy ice cream or refreshing sorbet on the inside. Embellishments like ribbons, swirls, candies, and nuts can be folded into the filling or rolled around the sandwich sides. The possibilities are nearly infinite!
Flavor is key, and the best way to control the flavor is by making your own ice cream. That’s where LorAnn oils come in handy. In fact, as a quick route to fun flavors you could purchase vanilla ice cream, soften it slightly, use a spatula to evenly work in your favorite flavor, then firm the ice cream back up in the freezer before making it into sandwiches.
It may seem strange to be thinking about winter in August, but one of my favorite sandwiches in my book is called the Winter Holidays sandwich. It’s made by sandwiching mint chocolate chip ice cream between fudge brownie layers, and I use LorAnn’s peppermint oil twice in the recipe for bold winter-mint flavor: In the ice cream and in the chocolate chips. You could add it to the brownies, too!
While I love infusing ice cream with mint from my garden, I find that peppermint oil does the best job of delivering the clean, cool minty flavor I love. Extracts are great for many purposes, but the oils pack a much more concentrated punch. I buy the tiny one-dram bottles which, despite their small size, seem to last forever.
To make the chips for my mint chip ice cream, I melt dark chocolate with a bit of vegetable oil and 2 to 3 drops of LorAnn peppermint oil. After cooling it to room temperature, I drizzle the melted chocolate into the ice cream maker during the final minute of churning. The chocolate hardens as it hits the cold ice cream, while the spinning dasher breaks it into shards that melt smoothly on the tongue—a decidedly more sensual experience than crunching on frozen chips. This method is similar to the way Italians make stracciatella, their version of chocolate chip. You can achieve the same effect by drizzling and folding in the chocolate as you pack the ice cream into its container.
You can find lots more great sandwich combinations in my book, i scream SANDWICH! There’s even a chart to help you come up with your own new favorites. I can imagine using many LorAnn flavors, from apricot to watermelon, to flavor ice creams and sorbets, as well as to boost the flavor of candies and brittles for folding into ice creams or rolling around sandwich sides. Experiment and discover your own signature ice cream sandwich combination!
Mint Chocolate chip Ice Cream on Fudge Brownies
This sandwich makes a festive addition to the holiday table, especially when cut into holiday shapes with ice cream sandwich molds and dressed up with crushed candy canes.
Print Recipe PDF
See the “Take it Easy” tips at the bottom of the recipe for a semi-homemade version
For the Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (Gluten Free)
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup (67 g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup, inverted sugar syrup, or light agave nectar
2 tablespoons tapioca starch or cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
6 to 8 drops pure peppermint oil
1/2 cup (100 g) bittersweet (60 to 70 percent) chocolate, chopped or chips
1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil or coconut oil
For the Fudge Brownies
Neutral vegetable oil, for the parchment
6 ounces (170 g) chopped bittersweet (60 to 65 percent) chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 cup (134 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon instant espresso granules (optional)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (132 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
- Whisk 1/2 cup of the milk with the sugar, golden syrup, tapioca, and salt in a medium saucepan until no lumps remain. Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk and the cream.
- Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring with a heat-proof spatula, until it begins to steam and slightly bubble at the edges. Adjust to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a cream sauce, about 3 minutes longer; do not fully boil.
- Transfer the mixture to a metal bowl set over a larger bowl of ice and water. Stir occasionally until the mixture is cool, taking care not to slosh water into the bowl. Stir in 4 to 5 drops of peppermint oil (or 3/4 teaspoon extract), then cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 2 hours. Transfer the bowl to the freezer for the last half hour before spinning it.
- Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. While the mixture spins, melt the chocolate and vegetable oil in the microwave or in a small saucepan over low heat until you can stir it smooth. Stir in 2 to 3 drops of peppermint oil. Let cool to room temperature, keeping it fluid.
- With the machine running, drizzle in the melted chocolate during the last-minute of spinning. (Alternatively, drizzle the chocolate over the ice cream as you transfer it to the container, folding it in with a spatula or ice cream paddle to break it up as you go.) Transfer the ice cream to a chilled container, cover, and freeze until firm but still spreadable, about 4 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F with racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two 8-inch square pans with lightly oiled parchment paper or foil to cover the bottom and run up two sides to the top of the pan as a sling to later aid in lifting the brownies from the pans.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a medium metal bowl nested over a saucepan holding about 1 inch of simmering water. Remove the bowl from the heat and wipe the bottom dry.
- Whisk the sugar, espresso (if using), vanilla, and salt into the melted chocolate. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, mixing each until smooth. Stir the baking powder into the flour, then stir the mixture into the batter with a spatula just until no white streaks remain.
- Divide the batter equally between the pans, spreading each into an even layer, smoothing the tops with a spatula. Bake until the tops feel firm but a toothpick inserted near the center finds some moist crumbs clinging to it, about 15 minutes, rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Let the brownie layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then lift out the brownies using the parchment slings and transfer them on the parchment to wire racks to cool completely. Wrap the cooled brownie layers in plastic and freeze until the ice cream is ready, or at least 1 hour.
For the SANDWICH
- Line an 8-inch square pan with plastic wrap, extending it well beyond the edges on all four sides. Place one brownie layer top-side down in the pan and spread the ice cream over it in an even layer. Top with the second brownie layer, top-side up. Press firmly to evenly distribute the ice cream. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap and freeze until very firm, at least 6 hours or overnight, for easiest cutting.
- Once firmly frozen, remove the filled brownie from the pan, unwrap, and place on a flat cutting surface. Use a sharp, heavy knife to cut the block into 3 strips in one direction and 2 in the other, then cut each bar in half diagonally to form 12 triangular sandwiches, dipping the knife into hot water and wiping it dry between cuts. Alternatively, form sandwiches using ice cream sandwich molds according to the manufacturer’s directions.
TAKE IT EASY: Use a brownie mix, adding 1 teaspoon instant espresso granules, if desired. Bake the brownies in two pans until still slightly moist at the center, about 5 minutes less than specified on the box. Use store-bought mint chocolate chip ice cream, or mix 4 to 5 drops of peppermint oil and mini chocolate chips into softened vanilla or chocolate ice cream.
DRESS IT UP: Roll the sides of the sandwiches in crushed candy canes. Serve with minty hot cocoa topped with marshmallows.
Book: Copyright © 2013 Jennie Schacht