One of the best things about summer, especially if you have kids or grandkids, is all the ice cream you can eat to cool off without the need for excuses. And it’s relatively easy to make, even if you don’t have an ice cream maker, if you opt for a buttermilk-free recipe that involves gently folding heavy cream into a sweetened condensed milk flavored with vanilla and other flavors like fresh fruit or spices.
My 2-year-old granddaughter Greta’s current favorite is “pink” ice cream, which is both colored and spiked with strawberry chunks. She’s also recently discovered ice cream sandwiches and is such a fan that on a recent visit I watched her try to eat the paper wrapper on one after polishing off the cookie to get every drop of flavor in her mouth to get .
I decided we should try making them at home by mixing up the chocolate chip cookie dough in a large bowl on the kitchen counter after mixing the ice cream ingredients and pouring into a loaf pan to freeze overnight.
It was a fun way to spend time together, and the sheer joy she expressed when we unwrapped “her” finished sandwiches at her little brother Sean’s christening the next day was priceless.
My adult kids also loved them as a late night munchie.
This recipe, adapted from Smitten Kitchen, is both super easy and super satisfying. I deviated slightly from the script by cutting the sheet pan sized cookie into individual squares to make the individual sandwiches, which meant some of my cookies crumbled before they were filled. (I didn’t have an offset spatula to flatten the dough.) As a result, the sandwiches weren’t perfect. (I saved the broken pieces to crumble on top of ice cream as sundaes). But they were still quite tasty, a great introduction to baking for a toddler – and a sweet start to everyone’s summer holidays.
Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches
For ice cream
1 pound frozen strawberries, lightly thawed
One 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of fine salt
2 cups cream, cold
For chocolate sandwich biscuits
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold is fine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
3 tablespoons milk, 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 Ice Cream: In a food processor, pulse the strawberries until they are small pea-sized pieces. Add condensed milk, vanilla and salt. Pulse to combine, then transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
Using a stand mixer, beat the cream on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold about 1 cup of the heavy cream into the strawberry mixture until well combined, then fold in the lightened mixture into the heavy cream until evenly combined.
Pour the mixture into a chilled 9 x 5 x 3 inch metal loaf pan and freeze, covered with foil or plastic wrap, until thick and creamy, like a soft serve, about 2 hours. Stir in any desired mixtures with a spoon, if using. Continue freezing, covered, until firm and scoopable, at least another hour or overnight.
Bake Cookies: Heat oven to 325 degrees and line a 9 x 13 inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper stretching down the two short sides of the pan. Brush the exposed sides with butter or nonstick spray. (A little extra under the parchment will help glue it.)
In a large bowl, melt butter by half, then beat until completely melted. (That way it doesn’t get too hot.) Stir in the sugar, salt, and milk. Stir in egg white and vanilla; Make sure the egg whites are fully mixed; it can be stubborn. Add cocoa powder and baking powder and mix thoroughly. Add flour and stir until it disappears.
Transfer to the prepared pan in small dollops and – an offset spatula is great here – spread into a thin, even layer.
Bake for 15 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Prick all over with the tines of a fork. Let cool, then cut into squares.
Make Sandwiches: Before scooping, allow the ice cream to soften at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes.
Halve cookies. Scoop the ice cream over half of the cookies in small spoons and spread evenly on top. Press the second cookie half, right side up, onto each cookie. Squeeze gently to form sandwiches, then wrap in plastic wrap or foil and place in the freezer for at least 1 hour to set. Otherwise they melt.
Makes about 12 ice cream sandwiches.
Adapted from smittenkitchen.com.