Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice Cream Sandwich Day!!!!

Whether you liked to use your tongue to dig a groove all around the sides or liked to squish the ice cream out using your fingers, we all wound up covered in chocolate.

These were some of the golden moments of childhood, when you came home from the park and Mom couldn't tell what was dirt and what was chocolate.

As with all good childhood memories, Madison Avenue eventually got hold of it and proceded to ruin our lives with the "Chipwich". In the 1980's, the decade of excess, nothing was sacred. Remember minimalist nouvelle cuisine? Yes, you do, oversized plates with a single braised radish for $500, baggy slouchy designer suits with oversized shoulder pads, oversized hair and oversized make-up, "Beige" and "Taupe" incomprehensibly sized furniture, etc.

The Chipwich was no different.

The simplicity of the basic ice cream sandwich was forever changed in 1981 when Richard LaMotta decided to cash in using two oversized chocolate chip cookies with half a pint of vanilla ice cream in the centre which was then rolled in mini-chocolate chips and walnuts. America had found it's new ice cream fad and it was appropriately oversized, just like the '80's. After a brilliant marketing campaign, the Chipwich was eventually sold to Nestlé which discontinued its production in 2007 citing that the Chipwich competed with one of their other products.

The classic ice cream sandwich never had any of these problems.

So, let's honor a childhood classic.

If you can't find a Mister Softee truck nearby, the good folks over at Instructables have a fabulous recipe and step by step photographs so that you can make your very own at home. Go check it out here

Otherwise, here is a very good and easy way to make these yourself.

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

  • 1/2 cup (113 g.) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (100 g.) white Granulated Sugar 
  • 1 large Egg 
  • 1 teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract 
  • 1/2 cup (65 g.) All-Purpose (AP) Flour 
  • 1/4 cup (25 g.) unsweetened Cocoa Powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt 
  • 4 cups or 2 pints (950 ml.) of plain Vanilla Ice Cream (Homemade or Store Bought), slightly softened

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and place the rack in the middle. Butter a 10 x 15 inch (25 x 38 cm.) rimmed baking sheet. Then, line the pan with parchment paper, leaving a two (2) inch (5 cm.) overhang on the two shorter sides of the baking sheet. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted Butter and Sugar. Whisk in the Egg and Vanilla Extract. Add the Flour, Cocoa Powder, and Salt, stir until combined and smooth. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake for about ten (10) minutes, or until the cake is dry to the touch and the edges just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. 

When cool, using the paper overhang, gently lift the cake onto a cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut the cake in half crosswise. Place one half of the cake, top side down, on a large piece of plastic wrap. Spread with the softened ice cream, smoothing with an offset spatula. Top with the remaining half of cake, top side up. Place the assembled dessert back into the baking pan and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in the freezer until firm, about two hours or overnight. 

When ready to serve, remove the dessert from the freezer, unwrap, and with a serrated knife, cut into eight rectangles. Wipe the knife with a damp kitchen towel or paper towel between each slice.

Serve immediately with some fresh berries or a pitted peach, nectarine, or apricot.

If you plan on serving these later, wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap and place back into the freezer. These can be stored in the freezer for up to one week. 

Makes eight (8) ice cream sandwiches.

The above recipe is pretty standard. One of the the most obvious variations that you can do is mix up what flavour ice cream that you use. Cover one third of the cake sheet with chocolate, one third with strawberry, and the last third with vanilla for a tri-coloured extravaganza. Personally, I like one third chocolate ice cream, one third super chunky peanut butter, and another third of chocolate ice cream. I leave these life and death decisions up to you.

If you are fortunate enough to have your very own ice cream or gelato machine, then all bets are off. Whatever that you decide would work with the chocolate wafers would be fabulous including green tea and herring.

Frozen yougurt works very well too, as a slightly lower calorie option.

For those of you who insist, yes, you can make your own homage to the Chipwich. After you have cut up the sandwich sheet into rectangles, simply roll the edges of the ice cream bar into some chocolate sprinkles (or 'jimmies', or 'ants' or whatever you call them in your part of the world), or into some chopped walnuts, or almonds, or pistachios, or any combination that you like. Then re-wrap in cling film and re-freeze.

And, by the way, you could substitute the Vanilla Extract in the cake part with Almond Extract and use Amaretto ice cream to create something really exotic. But, the purists may have me shot for meddling with a classic too much.

Recipe adapted from The Joy of Baking.

©2011 Wait At The Bar