Oh yes. Raspberry ice cream sandwiches. You know I couldn’t keep them from you.
I have a friend who, as a joke, if you say something he disagrees with or that turns out to be wrong (you know, something like a weather prediction or saying you’ll arrive 5 minutes earlier than you actually do), will shake his head sadly at you with a mixture of disappointment and frustration and a joking glint in his eye, and tell you, “you know, I just really wish you weren’t a liar.”
It sounds like kind of a mean thing to do when I try to describe it, but it’s actually quite funny. And I can imagine him doing it to me right now. A deep sigh of feigned disillusionment and dismay, and an “oh Emily, you don’t have to lie to me, you know. I just wish you weren’t a liar.”
Because you see friends, I told you in my last post that I had a new favorite summer treat, that wasn’t ice cream! And, while the BLC-squared is still fresh in my memory in all its crunchy, gooey, salty fabulousness, I’ve gone and stumbled into another new favorite summer treat. And, well, this one is ice cream.
Ice cream sandwiches, to be exact.
I suppose it couldn’t really be helped. After years and years of summers filled with walking from the beach to the kiosk to buy ice cream as an afternoon treat, a big pack of cousins and siblings wandering down the street with a few kroner each, ice cream is synonymous with summer vacation.
(Just as a little aside in my, my parents’, my great-aunt’s, whomever’s nutritional defense, the portions of these ice creams were, and still are, quite small.)
Now, I’ve had the lucky opportunity to become rather choosy about my ice cream over the last few years. By virtue of living near an ice cream parlor that makes the best ice cream in the country (literally. I believe it was declared as such by several food magazines at various points) I’ve gotten so that I can’t really handle low quality ice cream, full of stabilizing chemicals and carageenan and whatnot, any more. (I’m sorry if this makes me snooty! But, there you go, it’s the truth.)
Not so with ice cream sandwiches. I have no claim to snootery there. I totally love those paper-wrapped ice cream sandwiches that come in a box. The ones with the soft, soggy chocolate cookie that sticks to your fingertips in a thin film and the super-saccharine vanilla ice cream that oozes out so you can lick it around the edges as you eat. They may not be good, but, well, they’re good.
These ice cream sandwiches, however, are a far cry from those. They’re good and good. They are truly delicious, a blend of high quality ice cream with all the lighthearted fun of eating it in sandwich form. And, they’re what randomly popped into my mind when contemplating what to do with a haul of raspberries.
I’d never seen raspberry ice cream sandwiches with lemon coconut shortbread before. In fact, I’d never even eaten either raspberry ice cream or lemon coconut shortbread. But, the thought occurred to me (after first considering simply eating all the raspberries in one massive red-stained berry orgy, and deciding that it was perhaps not the best idea) and I decided to give it a try.
Thank goodness. I would eat each portion – the ice cream and the shortbread – happily on its own, but together, oh my, they really add up to something.
I made a creamy vanilla ice cream base to which I added a serious amount of raspberry puree. The ice cream tastes lushly of berries, their juiciness and acidity cut right through the cream, making it almost as light and peppy as a sorbet. If you’d like the ice cream to have a stronger sense of the soothing voluptuousness of cream enrobing the bright berries, cut back the raspberry puree by one cup.
The shortbread, adapted from an old Bon Appetit, is a fairly basic shortbread recipe with toasted coconut flakes added. But basic shortbread never tastes basic. It tastes wonderfully salty and buttery . And these cookies have fragrant golden toastiness from the coconut. I also laced the dough with cheery lemon zest and juice because lemon and raspberry are such a stellar combination.
These ice cream sandwiches are best done as a two day project, given you have to make the custard base, let it cool, churn it, let it freeze, bake the cookies, assemble the sandwiches, and let them freeze. But believe me when I say it is worth it. Your work and patience will be rewarded, and the sandwiches will taste all the better (as if you needed them to taste better) knowing you labored for them.
The thin cookies are crisp and chewy and give way satisfyingly under your teeth as you bite in. Then you find the soft, velvety trove of ice cream within. The flavors melt together into an effusion of sunlight, and islands, and berry bushes, and drippy pink rivulets of cream running down your chin or fingers.
I’ve said it about other things, but I’ll say it about these too. This is summer.
Raspberry ice cream sandwiches with lemon coconut shortbread (makes 20ish ice cream sandwiches)
Raspberry ice cream (makes about a quart)
- 3 cups strained raspberry puree (made from blending and straining about 30 oz. raspberries. Strain well! Frozen and defrosted raspberries work fine.) If you prefer, you can use just 2 cups
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cup half and half
- 1/2 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon Chambord
- In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks and set aside.
- Add the cream and half and half and sugar to a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the insides in. Then toss in the pod, for good measure. Heat just to a simmer. (If you’re using vanilla extract, wait to add it until the end when you add the raspberries.)
- Add about 1/4 cup of the hot liquid to the egg yolks, whisking furiously to temper the yolks. Add another 1/2 cup, continuing to whisk. Then, scrape the egg mixture into the pot with the rest of the liquid is. Cook, stirring constantly at a low simmer until the mixture thickens to a custard consistency, thick enough to thickly coat the back of a spoon.
- Strain the custard into a bowl. Stir in the raspberry puree (and vanilla extract if using) until completely mixed. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (I like to leave mine overnight). Then, churn in an ice cream machine according to your machine’s directions, transfer to a container and freeze. (You can also make it without an ice cream machine.)
- Use to assemble ice cream sandwiches with the cookies, as directed below.
Lemon coconut shortbread and ice cream sandwich assembly
- 1 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
- 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter (use good quality), soft but still slightly cooler than room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- the zest of 2 lemons
- 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
- Spread the coconut on a baking sheet. Bake in a 325F oven until just lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Then beat in the salt and lemon juice.
- Beat in the flour in two additions, adding the coconut and lemon zest with the second addition. Then beat just until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms almost a single mass.
- Gather the dough together, flatten it into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
- Preheat your oven to 325F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about a quarter inch thickness. Use a 2 inch round cookie cutter to cut circles. Transfer the cookies to parchment lined baking sheets.
- Gather the remaining dough together, roll it out again and cut more circles. Repeat as needed to cut all the dough (you may have some odd scraps at the end – bake them and snack on them), using as little flour as possible all the while.
- Bake the cookies for about 16-20 minutes (rotating each baking sheet halfway through the baking time), or until they are golden brown. Keep the sheets with uncooked cookies on them in the refrigerator while they wait to bake (this may not be necessary if your kitchen is cool. Mine was roasting hot!).
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely.
- To assemble the ice cream sandwiches, let the raspberry ice cream soften slightly. Place a scoop of ice cream on top of a cookie. Top with another cookie and press down gently to make a sandwich. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in the freezer.
- Repeat until you have used up all of the cookie pairs (or all of the ice cream, whichever comes first, but they were fairly well matched). Let the sandwiches freeze until they are hardened. Then serve. They will also keep wrapped and stored in the freezer (put them in a box of some sort to protect them) for a while, just waiting for when you need them.