The joys of a clas­sic ice cream sand­wich

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - SA­MAN­THA SENEVIRATNE

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.

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