Monday, August 26, 2013

Cook the Books 2013 - Ice cream sandwiches from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones

Generally I don't go out of my way for ice cream. Maybe it goes back to the fact my first job was at Baskin-Robbins. Every time you took a break you were supposed to have a scoop of ice cream so you knew all the flavors. This doesn't sound like a terrible fate, I know, but I only worked there about 2 weeks, and even by then I was already sick of eating ice cream. Daiquiri Ice was my favorite, and to this day I like ices or simple flavors best. Or mint chip. Anyhow, even though I won't wait in that crazy line at Bi-Rite Creamery, and I don't really fancy all the artisan ice cream places in general (Mitchell's and La Copa Loca remain my faves), I did get excited by this month's cookbook.

It starts right off with basic ingredients and techniques for making your own ice cream, sorbets, granitas and ice pops. And all the fixings too. Plus step-by-step instructions for assembling ice cream cakes, pies or sandwiches.

Then the book tackles flavor categories one by one, starting off with vanilla. The crème fraîche ice cream is the standout for memaybe in the entire bookbut it's not the one I ultimately made. But now I've gone and gotten ahead of my scene setting approach...

The first recipe that I knew for sure I would make was Lemon Gingersnaps. I will eat anything gingerbread-like, and the addition of lemon oil and zest seemed extra interesting.

These cookies turned out to be the head-turners in the crowd. Once I paid heed to the recipe and spread them far enough apart on the sheets, they spread their cookie wings and took flight. Perfect, round, sparkly cookie delight.

Good thing I took them to the food swap, because this recipe does make a monster amount of cookies.

Then, after borrowing a behemoth ice cream maker from next door neighbors (meet the Lello 4070 Gelato Junior), I set my sights on making some filling for my stellar cookies. Two ripe bananas had been calling out for some rum and heavy cream, so I got easily roped into the carmelized banana ice cream recipe...

But, have I confessed my terrible recipe reading skills yet? Alas, it's true and they struck hard here. Despite reading the explicit chilling directions: "refrigerate the base for at least 2 hours or overnight", I put mine in the freezer! Freezing it before making ice cream? That's nonsense, but I still did it. So, the next morning I found myself waiting for my base to defrost so that I could mix in the flavorings and freeze it into ice cream. Ridiculousness.

Within just a few hours, I was back in action. And after just 25 short minutes in the humming gelato factory, I stood looking into the eye of some homemade ice cream. My first batch ever (though perhaps that's already abundantly clear from my confessed faux pas above?).

My ice cream was creamy, nicely textured, and though a bit too sweet for my own tastes, pretty darn delicious. I kept licking it off anything I encountered with ice cream on it, so that's gotta be a good indicator.

Then came the moment I had been waiting for. The making of the ice cream sandwich. If you've read the book, you'll immediate notice my ice cream sandwich looks nothing like the perfection they picture. I admit it, I did not use a measuring cup to shape my filling, nor was there an offset spatula involved in smoothing the sides. But there was some messy ice cream sandwich eating, and that my friends was the end game.

So, after all this I can absolutely recommend Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones for making some ice cream. Next time I'm going to experiment (syrup swirls and herbal kicks for sure), but whatever recipe you choose I can promise that with not a lot of effort, you'll be kicking back and enjoying the pure, sweet taste of summer!