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Author Notes: To us, the perfect ice cream sandwich is one with great textural contrast and complementary flavors. We like to put our ice cream sandwiches together ahead of time and keep them in the freezer for a few hours. There are a couple reasons to do this: first, so that the ice cream regains its firmness and doesn’t squish out the sides of the sandwich when bitten into, and second, so that the cookies and the ice cream meld slightly and become a bit more cohesive. —Kris & Anne of Bi-Rite Creamery
Makes: at least 10 sandwiches
Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream
pints strawberries, preferably organic, hulled and halved or quartered
teaspoons balsamic vinegar
large egg yolks
cups heavy cream
cup 1% or 2% milk
teaspoon kosher salt
teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- Cook the berries: Combine the berries with the 21?2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons vinegar in a large nonreactive skillet. Put the skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the strawberries are soft and the liquid they release has reduced somewhat, 6 to ?8 minutes. Let cool slightly, then transfer the berries and their juice to a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Make the ice cream base: In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks just to break them up, then whisk in half of sugar (1?4 cup). Set aside.
- In a heavy nonreactive saucepan, stir together the cream, milk, salt, and the remaining sugar (1?4 cup) and put the pan over medium-high heat. When the mixture approaches a bare simmer, reduce the heat to medium.
- Carefully scoop out about 1?2 cup of the hot cream mixture and, whisking the eggs constantly, add the cream to the bowl with the egg yolks. Repeat, adding another 1?2 cup of the hot cream to the bowl with the yolks. Using a heatproof rubber spatula, stir the cream in the saucepan as you slowly pour the egg-and-cream mixture from the bowl into the pan.
- Cook the mixture carefully over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is thickened, coats the back of a spatula, and holds a clear path when you run your finger across the spatula, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
- Strain the base through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container. Set the container into an ice-water bath, wash your spatula, and use it to stir the base occasionally until it is cool. Remove from the ice-water bath, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate the base for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Freeze ice cream: Whisk the strawberry purée and the remaining 2 teaspoons vinegar into the chilled base. Freeze in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is churning, put the container you’ll use to store the ice cream into the freezer. Enjoy right away or, for a firmer ice cream, transfer to the chilled container and freeze for at least 4 hours.
Dark Chocolate Cookies
cups unbleached ?all-purpose flour
cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder, measured then sifted
teaspoons baking soda
teaspoon kosher salt
ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
cups granulated sugar
cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and both sugars. Mix on medium-high speed until lightened in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and, with the motor running, add the eggs one at a time, completely mixing in each egg before adding the next.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the flour mixture, and mix on low speed just until the dough comes together, about ?30 seconds.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill until the dough is firm, at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
- When you’re ready to bake, position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick mats. Scoop up 2 tablespoons of dough (we use a 1-ounce ice cream scoop) and form the dough into a ball. Repeat until all the dough has been shaped. Place the balls 21?2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Flatten the balls slightly with the palm of your hand so that they’re about 1?2 inch thick.
- Bake for 5 minutes, and then rotate the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continued to bake until the cookies are slightly cracked on the surface and feel dry and slightly firm in the center, 5 to 6 minutes longer. (If they feel airy, like a soufflé, they’re not ready.) Let cool for a minute on the baking sheets, then transfer to a rack. Bake the remaining dough balls. Let cool completely and then store in an airtight container.
- Tip: Sometimes having 50 cookies in your kitchen is more temptation than you want at one time! If that’s the case for you, try what we do when making cookies at home: After mixing the cookie dough, shape the dough into balls and line them up snugly on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Freeze until solid (about an hour), then transfer to a zip-top storage bag and store in the freezer. They last for weeks this way, and you can bake as many or as few as you like at a moment’s notice. When you’re ready to bake, arrange the dough balls on the baking sheet and let them sit at room temperature to thaw slightly before putting them in the oven.
- For ice cream sandwiches: Get the cookies ready, arranging half of them upside down on a baking sheet. You can get a uniform shape by using a dry measuring cup as a mold for the ice cream. Or, you can get a more handmade look by simply scooping a large scoop of ice cream onto a cookie, sandwiching it with a second cookie, and pressing on the cookies slightly. Freeze the sandwiches, putting the baking sheet in the freezer to let them harden for at least two hours. If you’re storing the sandwiches for longer than one day, transfer the hardened sandwiches to zip-top freezer bags, being sure to squeeze out any excess air before sealing.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!