If pies are on the bottom of my baking list, cookies would definitely be at the way, way top. I LOVE cookies – and if I had to claim a baking “specialty”, cookies would be it.
So it would come as no surprise to learn that, growing up, my favorite way to eat ice cream was in a sandwich. Ice cream surrounded by 2 cookies was like double dessert, and from Good Humor to Flying Saucers to Chipwiches, I never met an ice cream sandwich I didn’t love.
Ice cream sandwiches are one of the easiest desserts to make at home – and the possible combinations of cookies and fillings are endless. As they can be made up to a week in advance they are a great do-ahead dessert for any occasion. They always look impressive, and everyone – from kids to adults – loves them.
Today’s recipe is a slightly more sophisticated take on your basic sandwich. Vanilla ice cream is brightened up with both the zest and juice of some fresh lemons. It is then swirled with a quick homemade blueberry compote, which beautifully offsets the richness of the ice cream and provides a pretty jewel tone ribbon throughout. And finally, it is all sandwiched between 2 layers of brown butter cookies.
You read right – brown butter. Never cooked with it before? You are in for a treat. Already a fan? This is will become one of your favorite ways to use this ingredient. You make it by cooking the butter until the milk solids in the butter turn brown. This is a game-changer as the butter, at this point, takes on an incredible, nutty aroma and the flavor becomes rich, toasty and complex. Browning the butter elevates the flavor of whatever you add it to. And in the case of these cookies, you will not believe how delicious they are.
Don’t be put off by the number of components here. The individual steps are super easy and come together quickly, and it can all be done in advance. And the results are so worth it. Pressed for time? Omit the lemon and compote and use plain vanilla ice cream instead.
Just don’t skip that brown butter…………..
adapted from Bon Appetit
For the lemon ice cream:
2 2/3 c. vanilla ice cream
1 T. grated lemon zest
1 T. fresh lemon juice
For the blueberry compote:
1 c. blueberries
2 T. sugar
2 strips lemon zest (about 1″ x 2″)
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 t. cornstarch
For the cookies:
1 c. flour (5 oz.)
1/4 t. baking soda
pinch of salt
1 stick butter
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar (3 oz.)
2 T. light corn syrup
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten (don’t forget to freeze those leftover whites!)
1/2 t. vanilla
Prepare the ice cream:
Let the ice cream sit out till slightly softened. Add the lemon zest and juice and stir to combine. Spread ice cream evenly in an 8×8 pan and freeze till ready to use.
Prepare the compote:
Combine the lemon juice and cornstarch in a small dish; put aside.
In a medium skillet cook the blueberries, sugar and lemon zest till all the juices are released and the sugar is dissolved, crushing the berries with a potato masher.
Add the lemon juice mixture, bring to a boil and stir till thickened, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and chill at least 1 hour. Discard zest.
Prepare the cookies:
Pre-heat oven to 325. Line a 13 x 9 x 2 inch metal pan (ideally with straight sides) with foil, leaving an overhang on the long sides. Spray with a nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the milk solids on the bottom of the pan turn a deep golden brown. Transfer butter to a small bowl, leaving solids in the pan.
Place sugar and corn syrup in a large bowl. Whisk in browned butter, followed by egg yolks and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir to blend. Transfer dough to prepared pan and press evenly. It will seem as if there is not enough dough to fill the pan, but using an offset spatula and pressing (rather than spreading) the dough facilitated this process.
Bake cookie for 16-18 minutes, or till lightly browned around the edges and the sides start to pull away from the pan. Cool cookie completely in the pan on a cooling rack.
Assemble the sandwiches:
Using the tin foil, lift the cookie out of the pan and place it on a cutting board. Line the pan with plastic wrap in both directions, leaving an overhang on both sides. Cut the cookie in half crosswise. Take one half and place it snugly, top side down, in one short end of the pan.
Remove ice cream from freezer. When slightly softened, dollop compote over the top and swirl it through with a small sharp knife. Spoon the ice cream over the cookie layer in the pan and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Invert the second half of the cookie on top of the ice cream and press gently. Wrap up the sandwich in the plastic wrap and freeze till firm.
Transfer the sandwich to a cutting board and cut into 8 pieces. You can trim the pieces if you like. I strongly recommend doing this as you will then have a plate full of trimmings that will need to be eaten right away.
Serve immediately or wrap sandwiches individually and freeze for up to 1 week.
This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver