I have been wanting an ice cream maker for, like, ever. Every summer as the heat starts to weigh down on me I walk into Williams Sonoma and stare at the ice cream machines, my mind bubbling with ideas of all the ice cream flavors, both unique and classic, that I would be able to make if I had one. This summer, I finally bought one and in my three proud weeks as an ice cream maker-owner, I have had no regrets. Although all the experiments have turned out pretty delicious (how could they not?), my favorite so far* is the mint.
Made with market fresh mint, this ice cream tastes like the actual herb and nothing like toothpaste or mouthwash or anything else that is artificially mint flavored. Seriously, this is the good stuff. On its own the ice cream is pretty close to perfect, but after reading an ice cream sandwich round up in Time Out New York, I decided to follow the trend and take things to the next level. Do you remember those world peace cookies I made at Christmas time? Well if you don’t, let me remind you. They are buttery, chocolatey rounds of goodness, souped up with some extra chocolate chunks. Good on their own? Absolutely. Combined with mint ice cream? Heaven.
Yes, these are pretty heavenly but that doesn’t mean there are no strings attached. If I am going to be honest these are essentially antithesis to bathing suit season. On the bright side, however, these are pretty time consuming to make so they really are a special treat. In my humble opinion these guys are worth every calorie and minute of work and I don’t say that about everything, I really don’t. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, world peace cookies + store-bought ice cream is a great alternative. No matter how you cut it, ice cream sandwiches are a great summer treat, with July 4th around the corner, what better way to celebrate than by making your own?
Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches
(yield about 18 with leftover ice cream)
1 batch world peace cookies (recipe below)
1 batch mint ice cream (recipe below)
1) Make sure the ice cream is frozen hard and the cookies are fully cooled. Line a baking tray with parchment and make sure there is space in your freezer for the tray to lay flat.
2) Take one cookie and using a 2 tablespoon ice cream scoop, place a scoop of ice cream on top. Place a second cookie on top and press down slightly. Set it on the baking sheet.
3) Do this with the remaining cookies, lining them all on the baking sheet, it’s ok if they’re touching a bit.
4) Freeze for at least 3-4 hours before serving. If you’re not serving these right away, once they are frozen through you can store them in a container, with parchment in between the layers of sandwiches. These will last up to a month in the freezer.
World Peace Cookies
( from Baking: From My Home to Yours, Dorie Greenspan )
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tbsp. (11 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 c. (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
1) Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more. Turn off the mixer.
2) Pour in the flour, drape a kitchen towel over the stand mixer to protect yourself and your kitchen from flying flour and pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time. Take a peek — if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of times more; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough — for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don’t be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.
3) Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you’ve frozen the dough, you needn’t defrost it before baking — just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.)
4) Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats. Working with a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. (The rounds are likely to crack as you’re cutting them — don’t be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes — they won’t look done, nor will they be firm, but that’s just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.
5) The cookies can be eaten when they are warm or at room temperature and are best suited to cold milk or hot coffee.
• Packed airtight, cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days; they can be frozen for up to 2 months.
• As mentioned before, you can also freeze the logs of dough for up to 3 months. When you’re ready just slice and bake, while the dough is still frozen.
Mint Ice Cream
(adapted from David Lebovitz)
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
pinch of salt
2 cups packed (80 gr) fresh mint leaves
5 large egg yolks
1) In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream, salt, and mint.
2) Once the mixture is hot and steaming, remove from heat, cover, and let stand for an hour to infuse the mint flavor.
3) Remove the mint with a strainer, then press down with a spatula firmly to extract as much mint flavor and color as possible. (You can also use well-washed hands to do it as well, making sure the mixture isn’t too hot to safely handle.) Once the flavor is squeezed out, discard the mint.
4) Pour the remaining heavy cream into a large bowl and set the strainer over the top.
5) Rewarm the infused milk. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, then slowly pour some of the warm mint mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.
6) Cook the custard, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. If using an instant read thermometer, it should read around 170ºF (77ºC).
7) Immediately strain the mixture into the cream, then stir the mixture over an ice bath until cool.
8) Refrigerate the mixture thoroughly, preferably overnight, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.