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Ice cream sandwiches are the ultimate crowd pleasers! Fiddly work from the outset but everyone loves them, and the smile on your guests' faces make upon seeing this dessert at the grazing table makes it all worthwhile!
Once you master this basic recipe you can start inventing your own versions - like salted caramel ice cream with dark chocolate biscuit, or raspberry ice cream with lemon biscuits. Store-bought biscuits also work a treat if you don't have time to bake your own shortbreads. The options are endless!
2 soft, plum vanilla beans
1/3 cup of caster sugar
1 cup of softened unsalted butter
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 free range egg
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Cut down the length of the vanilla bean, open and scrape out all the scented seed pulp, combine with the caster sugar in a mixer, or a bowl with hand beaters. Mix the butter, confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla sugar together and add the salt.
Mix until smooth – squeeze a bit between your fingers and if the sugar is dissolved you are done!
Add one of the eggs and mix for two minutes. Now add the flour and combine only as long as the dough needs to form a ball. Pre heat the oven to 170° Celsius and line your baking trays with baking paper.
Roll out the dough and cut into any shape you want your ice cream sandwiches to resemble. (NOTE: It’s far easier to cut ice cream into a square shape than a triangle or a star, so don’t get to creative with your biscuit shaping or you might run into trouble!)
Place on the parchment and bake for 10 - 15 minutes or until they are done, which means light brown around the edge and golden on the bottom. All ovens are different, so test a couple in your oven and then bake the whole batch – better to lose 2 than 50! Allow them to cool and then keep them in an air tight container until you’re ready for them. This could be up to three days prior.
It’s easy for chefs to throw ice cream recipes around willy-nilly, but without an ice cream machine you're, well, buggered! Semi freddo is similar to ice cream without the need for expensive machinery.
Semi Freddo is great with choc chips, nuts or other tasty morsels mixed through for a bit of crunch, and is also great way to use up any excess ripe fruit - simply poach and stir through your ice cream mixture prior to freezing.
3 free range eggs
2 free range egg yolks
Vanilla scrapings from 1 vanilla pod
1 cup caster sugar
2 cups pouring cream
Combine eggs, yolks, sugar and vanilla into a heatproof bowl and place over a double boiler (This is a pot of boiling water that you pop the bowl snuggly on top of). With an electric beater, beat the mixture while over the heat. It will get quite fluffy and you should do this for a maximum of 8 minutes.
Your mixture should now be thick and pale. Set aside the bowl of eggs and allow to come down in temperature, meanwhile whisk the cream until stiff peaks form – don’t whip completely. Fold the 2 mixes together, pop in a cling film lined dish and freeze for six to eight hours.
To assemble the ice cream sandwiches use your biscuits as your template, and just cut the semi freddo into the same sized shapes. Sandwich the biscuits on either side of the semi freddo, then pop on a tray and back into the freezer for use later. The biscuits will become chewy, soft and quite delicious! If you're feeling really adventurous you can offer some sauces to dip the sandwiches into - like warm caramel, dark chocolate or blended fruit, like raspberries!
Huge thanks to Sophie and Nicole of Cookes Food for sharing their fabulous recipe ideas this month! Make sure you check out their Facebook page for a squizz at the amazing events these girls create around town with their brilliant team!