The joys of a classic ice cream sandwich
is all about dashing through sprinklers, hiking into forests, and charging toward waves. Therefore the best summer foods — like fried chicken, hamburgers and corn on the cob — are all portable, hand-held and free from fuss. We want to munch while experiencing the joys of the season.
For dessert, nothing fits the bill better than the classic ice cream sandwich.
Designer ice cream sandwiches, made with amped-up cookies, fancy sprinkles and crazy flavours, can be tasty, but the classic combination of a chocolate base and vanilla ice cream pleases everyone who finds it in hand.
The pairing is basic, and so it is imperative that each element be lovely, a feat accomplished by making at least one of them from scratch.
The chocolate layers should have an addictive texture and taste of real chocolate. This version uses cocoa powder for a clean, pleasant flavour, and has a delightful chewiness, like the sought-after edges of a perfect brownie. Instead of a crunchy cookie, these cake layers are fudgy and soft enough to yield easily with each bite. Baking one thin cake in a rimmed baking sheet, then cutting it in half, makes the process of filling enough sand-Summer wiches for a crowd easy.
Choose a good-quality ice cream to complete your sandwiches. If you aren’t making your own, look for a premium brand with a high butterfat content and less air to ensure a harder freeze and a slower melt, as well as a luxurious mouthfeel and heavenly texture.
Ice Cream Sandwiches YIELD: 12 SERVINGS
1 ½ sticks/170 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more at room temperature for the pan 1 cup/128 grams all-purpose flour ¾ cup/75 grams cocoa powder ¾ teaspoon baking powder ¾ teaspoon coarse salt 1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar 2 large eggs 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 2 pints/1 quart good-quality vanilla ice cream
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13-by-18-inch rimmed baking sheet and line it with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat until combined. (The batter will be thick.)
4. Scrape batter into the pan and, using an offset spatula, smooth to a thin, even layer, leaving a small border of parchment paper around the edges. Bake until cake is set, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack to cool completely.
5. When you are ready to assemble, remove ice cream from freezer and let it stand for a few minutes to soften slightly.
6. Using the parchment, transfer the cake to a cutting board. Cut cake in half crosswise so that you have 2 pieces that are about 9 by 13 inches each. Using a large ice cream scoop, dollop ice cream evenly over the top of one half of the cake. Using an offset spatula, spread ice cream into an even layer. Place the remaining piece of cake on the ice cream, with the top facing down, to make a large sandwich cake. Immediately wrap it well in plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 8 hours.
7. Remove the large sandwich cake from the freezer and take off the plastic wrap. Trim about ¼ inch off each edge and then cut into 12 smaller sandwiches. Wrap each sandwich well in plastic wrap and freeze until firm and ready to serve.