Thursday, July 31, 2008

Homemade ice cream sandwiches...

When my sister and her husband came up last weekend to take a trip to the zoo with us, I wanted a cool and refreshing dessert for us to enjoy. I didn't have a ton of time to make anything because we were busy trying to get things together and clean up the house, but I didn't need much to make these Classic Ice Cream Sandwiches.

While cookies make an excellent vehicle to sandwich with ice cream, for these, we made a very thin cake that I was able to get into the oven with just a couple minutes worth of work. For a deep chocolate flavor, I used a Dutch-process cocoa powder, but since there is no leavening in this, you can switch that with natural cocoa powder without worry if that is what you have in the pantry. Being so thin, the cake cooks very fast and it is also fairly flexible, but you don't want to be too rough when working with it. I do highly suggest lining the baking pan with parchment paper to make life easier when turning it out.

Instead of making individual sandwiches at first, we made one big honkin' sandwich by slicing the cake in half (crosswise), smearing on a couple pints of softened vanilla bean ice cream on one half and then slapping the other half on top. Wrapped well in plastic wrap, we placed the assembled slab into the freezer to firm the ice cream back up until we were ready to serve it. We then sliced it into individual bars to recreate that classic shape.

And since you know that Jeff is such a big Mickey fanatic, you can just about guess what I had to do next, right? He made sure that we ran the edges of the sandwiches in these fun candy sprinkles that I had in the pantry before anyone got to take a bite.

I thought these were somewhat reminiscent of those frozen wrapped sandwiches I had growing up in the summer time with that stick-to-your-teeth cake-y layer on the outside! As I said, I used a good-quality vanilla bean ice cream for this batch, but do feel free to use whichever flavor you like. I know I want to try these again with a chocolate chip mint (swoon!) ice cream and rolling the edges in chocolate jimmies. You could even make them a little more striking by doing layers of ice cream like vanilla, chocolate and strawberry - use your imagination and have a blast!

For tonight's dinner, Italian Meat Loaf with Fresh Basil and Provolone, I changed a few things from the original recipe as I wanted to heighten the flavor a bit.

Rather than using all ground sirloin as the recipe called for, I took a cue from the last meat loaf we made and added a link of hot Italian turkey sausage into the mix. It also called for a seasoned breadcrumb, but I used a combination of panko breadcrumbs with fresh rosemary, dried oregano, dried basil, granulated garlic and crushed red pepper to season those coarse crumbs up. Also pumping up the flavor in this meat loaf are re-hydrated sun-dried tomatoes, chopped onion, ketchup, fresh basil, garlic, an egg to help bind and shredded provolone cheese. I suggest keeping the onions fairly small in size - while they do get tender while baking, their texture is more firm. If you or your family is fussy about that, I suggest sautéing them (let them cool a bit too) before adding them in.

To let some of the the excess fat drain away, we shaped the meat mixture into a loaf and placed it on a broiler pan to cook. If you want to make this process quicker and ensure an even loaf, you could press the meat into a loaf pan and then flip it out onto the broiler pan - however, this does dirty another dish! When it came out of the oven, we made sure to leave it rest for about 10 to 15 minutes - this way we got clean slices that held together well. If you don't wait, it won't ruin the taste, but it may not hold together well.

The result? We loved the intensity from the sun-dried tomatoes - the breadcrumbs lightened the mixture up enough so it didn't feel like eating a burger and the sharpness from the provolone was welcome. Quite moist, I think this solidifies the fact that I will continue swapping out some of the meat with a link or two of Italian sausage (sweet or hot, depending) in future recipes as it really amped up the flavor. PS - Yes, I'm doing a little happy dance right now... guess what I'm having for lunch tomorrow? Meatloaf Sandwich - I can't wait!


  1. Joe I really have to make the ice cream sandwichs. When I do I'll let you know how it went.

  2. Those ice cream sandwiches look so yummy! Those are my favorite ice cream treats, I could eat a whole box LOL.
    That meatloaf looks darn good too Joe!

    P.S. Have you thought about trying out for the Next Food Network Star? I think you should :-)

  3. Oh man...I haven't had an ice cream sandwich in forever! How fun was that!!

    Your meatloaf looks heavenly - I can almost smell it! Never would have thought to swap out some of the beef for italian sausage, but what a fab idea!

    Joe - I used the method you posted yesterday when I made the brown rice to go along with our stir fry last night. I was amazed!! Perfect texture, perfect little individual grains of rice! I'm sold and will never use that absorption method again - so thanks!!

    And I agree with the other poster - you really SHOULD submit a tape for the Next FN Star!

  4. Those ice cream sandwiches are so cute and impressive! They look so "real" and "official!"


  5. Helene - Please do!

    Val and Gigi - While I'm sure it would be fun, I doubt anyone would want to watch me do stuff on TV! Also, after watching the past couple of seasons, I'm also not sure I'd want to put myself in a lot of those situations the contestants had to go through!

    Courtney - Thanks!

  6. Promise us you'll think about it Joe? Pretty please?


  7. Val - I'll think about it ;-)

  8. I ate those ice cream sandwiches growing up to and omigosh yours looks good!