It’s Never Too Cold for Ice Cream Sandwiches!

Winter Ice Cream Sandwiches

You may think it’s getting a bit chilly for ice cream sandwiches, but I beg to differ. According to bundle.com, the residents of the nation’s top four ice cream consuming states spend quite a bit of time in the snow: they are the District of Columbia, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. California and Florida don’t even make the top ten. To be fair, the residents of Long Beach, California, eat more of the frozen treat than any other single city, with Dallas following second. But right behind in third place is Philadelphia, back in the snow zone.

The pretty Giving Thanks ice cream sandwiches below combine two good reasons to give thanks: pumpkin pie and the Maple Leaf cocktail, made with bourbon and maple syrup, my inspiration for this recipe. The crisp cookies are cut into leaf shapes in keeping with the autumnal theme, their warm spices warding off winter’s chill. The booze adds great flavor and also helps to keep the ice cream soft and creamy; omit it if you wish.

Winter Ice Cream Sandwiches

For New Year’s Eve, dress up your sandwich in a black-and-white chocolate tuxedo and ring in the New Year with a round of Auld Lang Syne, also below. Your guests will not be giving you the cold shoulder after you share your decadent treat.

Winter Ice Cream Sandwiches

The recipes have many steps but they’re not difficult. Each recipe includes “Take it Easy” tips for lightening your load using store-bought ingredients.

Try making the Giving Thanks and Auld Lang Syne sandwiches and find out for yourself just how uplifting an ice cream sandwich can be in the depths of winter.

To learn more about ice cream sandwich lore and tips for making the best ones yourself, check out my June Kitchenthusiast blog post.

Winter Ice Cream Sandwiches

Giving Thanks: Boozy Pumpkin-Pecan Ice Cream on Maple Leaf Cookies

Makes 12 servings

From i scream SANDWICH!: Inspired Recipes for the Ultimate Frozen Treat, by Jennie Schacht

INGREDIENTS

Special equipment: You’ll need a 2 1/2- to 3-inch maple leaf cookie cutter, or another festive autumn cutter. If it’s asymmetrical, you’ll need to turn it over to cut half of the cookies. Look for maple sugar in specialty and natural food stores, or order it online from King Arthur Flour.

For the boozy pumpkin-pecan ice cream

1 cup (245 g) pureed pumpkin, fresh or canned

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

2/3 cup pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B or A dark amber

3 tablespoons bourbon, brandy, or rum

2 tablespoons tapioca starch

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

2 tablespoons crème fraîche, sour cream, or Greek yogurt, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 recipe Maple-Buttered Pecans (recipe below)

For the maple butter pecans

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 cup (120 g) pecans, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons maple sugar or brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon medium-grind sea salt, such as gray salt, fleur de sel, or Maldon sea salt, or to taste

For the maple leaf cookies

1 cup (132 g) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (1 stick / 113 g) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup (150 g) pure maple sugar or granulated sugar

2 tablespoons pure maple, turbinado, or coarse sugar, for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS

For the boozy pumpkin-pecan ice cream

Process the pumpkin, milk, cream, maple syrup, bourbon, tapioca, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a KitchenAid® blender until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring with a heatproof 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.

Whisk the crème fraîche and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth. Add about 1/2 cup of the thickened pumpkin mixture, stirring until smooth, then stir in the rest of the pumpkin mixture.

Set the bowl over a larger bowl of ice and water. Stir occasionally until the mixture is cool, taking care not to slosh water into the bowl. 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 your KitchenAid® ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions, adding the pecans during the last minute of spinning. While the ice cream spins, line a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with waxed paper and place it in the freezer. When the ice cream is ready, spread it evenly into the prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly against the surface, and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours or overnight.

For the maple-buttered pecans

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans and cook, stirring frequently, until they smell toasty and turn light golden, taking care not to burn them. Off the heat, sprinkle the sugar and salt evenly over the nuts and stir with a heatproof spatula until the sugar melts, returning the pan to the heat if needed to glaze the nuts. Transfer the nuts to a silicone baking mat or a sheet of parchment paper to cool completely. Once cool, chop or break apart the nuts if they have clustered.

For the maple leaf cookies

Preheat the oven to 325°F with racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Beat the butter and 3/4 cup (150 g) maple sugar in a medium bowl with a KitchenAid® hand mixer until creamy. (Alternatively, use a wooden spoon.) Mix in the flour mixture just until well combined. (If using a mixer, it may be easier to finish the mixing by hand.)

Roll out the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap (lightly floured, if needed) to 1/4 inch thick. Remove the top plastic and use a leaf-shaped cutter to cut out 24 cookies, gathering and re-rolling the scraps up to two more times to make all of the cookies. Transfer the cookies as you cut them to the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle the cookies with the remaining 2 tablespoons maple sugar.

Bake until the cookies are a shade darker golden than when they went in, about 14 minutes, rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the sheets, then slide the cookies on the parchment to wire racks to cool completely.

To make the sandwich

Pair the cookies with like-size mates, inverting one cookie in each set to create a match if they are non-symmetrical. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and use the sling to lift it from the pan to a flat surface, cutting around the edges with a knife to loosen it, if needed..

Use the same cutter used to cut the cookies to cut out 12 matching shapes from the ice cream, gathering scraps to form the last one or two, if needed. As you make them, use a small offset spatula to slide the ice cream cutouts between two cookie bottoms. Alternatively, scoop the ice cream between each set of cookie bottoms and press gently so that the ice cream comes just to the edges. If desired, use a small offset spatula or the flat side of a dinner knife to smooth the ice cream flush with the edges.

TAKE IT EASY: Use store-bought maple or sugar cookies. Process pumpkin puree in a food processor until smooth and mix into softened vanilla ice cream; add pie spices and chopped pecans if you wish.

DRESS IT UP: Fold half of the maple-buttered pecans into the ice cream and save the rest for rolling the sides of the sandwiches. Or serve the ice cream between warm, crispy-ridged waffles and drizzle with maple syrup.

Winter Ice Cream Sandwiches

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This sandwich is dressed and ready for the New Year’s Eve ball, the year’s last indulgence before the merry-making ends and the resolution-making begins. Champagne ice cream might seem decadent enough, but the swirl takes the Champagne’s delicate toasty flavor into a frenzied tango of salt and caramel. You’ll need only a good glug of sparkling wine for the ice cream, so cork it up and save the rest for celebrating on New Year’s Eve or Day.

A champagne toast to Robert Burns, the Scot who penned the timeless lyric celebrating times past and yet to come!

Salt compounds caramel’s complexity and tempers its bitter edge. I take this caramel to a very dark level by heating the sugar until it threatens to burn, encouraged by the maven of ice cream, sauces, and all things sweet, David Lebovitz. If you have not made caramel before, or are uncomfortable flirting with fate, the caramel is perfectly delicious when cooked to a dark amber, nowhere near burnt. A light-colored saucepan will allow you to more easily observe the changes in color as the sugar caramelizes—watch it carefully, as the process can go quickly.

While caramel is not at all difficult to make, do take care—the sugar rises far above the temperature of boiling water. Protect yourself with heavy oven mitts, add cream at arm’s length to avoid steam and splashing, and stir with a long-handled wooden spoon or heatproof spatula.

Auld Lang Syne: Champagne-Caramel Swirl Ice Cream on Vanilla Cookies in a Black-and-White Tuxedo

Makes 12 servings

From i scream SANDWICH!: Inspired Recipes for the Ultimate Frozen Treat, by Jennie Schacht

INGREDIENTS

For the Champagne-caramel swirl ice cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/3 cup (67 g) granulated sugar

2 tablespoons golden syrup, inverted sugar syrup, or agave nectar

2 tablespoons tapioca starch

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup Champagne or sparkling wine, such as Cava or Prosecco

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup Salty Caramel Swirl (recipe below)

For the salty caramel swirl

1 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

1/4 cup golden syrup or inverted sugar syrup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 8 pieces

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon medium-grind sea salt, such as gray salt, fleur de sel, or Maldon sea salt

For the vanilla cookies

1 cup (132 g) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the black-and-white tuxedo (white and dark chocolate shell)

12 ounces (340 g) white chocolate

5 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil or coconut oil

12 ounces (340 g) extra bittersweet (64 to 72 percent) chocolate

DIRECTIONS

For the Champagne-caramel swirl 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 cup milk and the cream. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring with a heatproof 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. Cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 2 hours. Transfer the bowl to the freezer for the last half hour before spinning it.

Stir the Champagne and vanilla into the ice cream mixture, then freeze in a KitchenAid® ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. When it is ready, transfer the ice cream to a chilled container, swirling it with the Salty Caramel Swirl as you pack the ice cream into the container. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours or overnight.

For the salty caramel swirl

Heat the cream in a small saucepan just until it is warm; set aside off the heat.

Stir together the sugar, syrup, and 2 tablespoons of water in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat to wet all of the sugar.

Without stirring, cook until the mixture reaches a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove the cover, raise the heat to medium-high, and boil vigorously without stirring (swirl the pan as needed for even cooking) until the caramel turns a deep amber or a bit darker, 8 to 10 minutes longer, watching carefully to avoid burning it.

Remove from the heat and, standing back to avoid spatters that can burn, carefully pour in the warm cream in a slow, steady stream, which will cause a great deal of fury in the pan. When the excitement subsides, return the pan to medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula to melt and smooth any pieces of hardened caramel.

Transfer the caramel to a heatproof bowl and stir in the butter, two pieces at a time, until it is fully incorporated. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Let cool completely before swirling into ice cream.

If not using immediately, refrigerate the caramel in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

For the vanilla cookies

Preheat the oven to 300°F with racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two rimless baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar in a medium bowl with a KitchenAid® hand mixer until creamy. (Alternatively, use a wooden spoon.) Add the vanilla. Mix in the flour mixture just until well combined. (If using a mixer, it may be easier to finish the mixing by hand.)

Divide the dough into 24 pieces, rolling each between your palms into a smooth ball, and space them evenly on the baking sheets. Use a flat-bottom drinking glass to flatten each ball to a 2 1/2-inch round. (Moisten the glass bottom or spray it with nonstick pan spray if the dough sticks.)

Bake until the cookies are firm but not yet colored, about 14 minutes, rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Slide the cookies on their liners to a flat surface and, for the dressiest sandwiches, while they are still warm and soft, use a 2 1/2-inch cutter to trim them into perfect rounds. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

For the black-and-white tuxedo (white and dark chocolate shell)

After the sandwiches are filled and firmly frozen, melt the white chocolate with 3 tablespoons of the oil in a double boiler or bowl placed over, but not touching, about 1 inch of simmering water in a saucepan until the chocolate is just barely warm and still smooth and fluid. Alternatively, melt the chocolate with the oil in the microwave until you can stir it smooth. You do not need to get the chocolate very hot—just warm enough to melt when you stir it. Follow dipping instructions below.

To make the dark chocolate shell, melt the bittersweet chocolate with the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil.

To make the sandwich

Slightly soften the ice cream. Sandwich a scoop of ice cream between two cookie bottoms. Press gently to squeeze the ice cream slightly beyond the edges and use a small offset spatula to smooth the ice cream flush with the cookies. Repeat to make 12 sandwiches. Freeze until very firm, at least 2 hours.

Have a parchment-lined baking sheet in the freezer and the melted white Chocolate Shell close at hand. (If it becomes too firm to dip, gently warm the chocolate until fluid.)

Dip the firmly frozen sandwiches in the melted white chocolate to coat them halfway, using a small offset spatula as an aid to paint on the chocolate and scrape off any excess. Transfer the sandwiches to the baking sheet in the freezer as you finish them until the chocolate sets, 10 to 15 minutes.

Repeat to dip the second half of each sandwich in dark chocolate. Return to the freezer until set, at least 15 minutes, before individually wrapping the sandwiches or layering them between sheets of parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container.

TAKE IT EASY: Use store-bought sugar cookies or bakery black and white cookies. Use store-bought caramel-swirl ice cream, or swirl Salty Caramel Swirl into softened vanilla ice cream.

Winter Ice Cream Sandwiches

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*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*

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