Ice cream sandwiches? In the heart of Winter? You bet! Visit your local ice cream shop and you may be surprised to see that the lines haven’t thinned a bit.
December is the time for all things chocolate and peppermint, and I’ve got you covered with the Winter Holiday ice cream sandwich from my book i scream SANDWICH!. They’re made by stuffing fudgy brownies with mint chocolate chip ice cream. If you’re up for a holiday project you can make every element yourself: the brownies, homemade ice cream with homespun chocolate chips in the Italian style of stracciatella, and even cute cut-outs featuring holiday themes.
If time is short, however, there’s no need for competitive ice cream sandwiching. Use a brownie mix and the Silpat Entremet baking pan (you can use it with the homemade recipe too, of course) for brownies that neatly release without effort or fear.
(Disclosure: my thanks to Silpat for sending me the Entremet to try out.) Then purchase your favorite mint chocolate chip ice cream. Again using the Entremet as a holder, construct the sandwiches following the instructions below, freeze, and cut into squares. You can even cut the squares in half diagonally, sandwich style, for serving.
When using the Entremet, you’ll want to take care not to cut directly on it. I removed the brownie slab before cutting it in half, and again removed the frozen sandwich block before cutting it into squares.
If you want to go the cut-outs route, use an ice cream sandwich mold following the manufacturer’s instructions. (I love these, kindly provided to me by the manufacturer, Tovolo, which sadly seems to have discontinued this particular set.)
Or use a cookie cutter, as follows:
- Unmold the brownie slab onto a flat cutting surface and cut out two of the same shapes for each sandwich. Wrap and set aside.
- When the ice cream comes out of your ice cream maker (or after softening store-bought ice cream), spread it evenly into the Entremet and return to the freezer.
- After it has frozen hard, unmold the ice cream onto a cutting surface lined with plastic wrap or waxed paper and use the same cutter to cut out half as many ice cream shapes as you’ve cut from the brownies.
- Use a small offset spatula to carefully transfer an ice cream shape between two brownie bottoms until you have used all of the ice cream and brownie shapes.
- Have an airtight container lined with waxed paper ready in the freezer, and get ‘em right in there as you make ‘em, before they begin to melt!
Try making these Winter Holiday sandwiches and see for yourself just how uplifting an ice cream sandwich can be in the depths of winter.
Want to make your sandwich-making extra easy? Try out the Entremet from Silpat. It’s also great for cakes, brownies, and bar cookies of all kinds, as well as casseroles and more. Enter below to win one for yourself! (Sorry, U.S. residents only.)
- 2 cups whole milk
- ⅓ cup (67 g) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup, inverted sugar syrup, or light agave nectar
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch or cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 6 to 8 drops pure peppermint oil, or 1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
- ½ cup (100 g) bittersweet (60 to 70 percent) chocolate, chopped or chips
- 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil or coconut oil
- Neutral vegetable oil, for the parchment
- 6 ounces (170 g) chopped bittersweet (60 to 65 percent) chocolate
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- ⅔ cup (134 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso granules (optional)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup (132 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Whisk ½ cup of the milk with the sugar, golden syrup, tapioca, and salt in a medium saucepan until no lumps remain. Stir in the remaining 1½ cups milk and the cream.
- Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until it begins to steam and slightly bubble at the edges. Adjust to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a cream sauce, about 3 minutes longer; do not fully boil.
- Transfer the mixture to a metal bowl set over a larger bowl of ice and water. Stir occasionally until the mixture is cool, taking care not to slosh water into the bowl. Stir in 4 to 5 drops of peppermint oil (or ¾ teaspoon extract), then cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 2 hours. Transfer the bowl to the freezer for the last half hour before spinning it.
- Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. While the mixture spins, melt the chocolate and vegetable oil in the microwave or in a small saucepan over low heat until you can stir it smooth. Stir in 2 to 3 drops of peppermint oil (or ¼ teaspoon extract). Let cool to room temperature, keeping it fluid.
- With the machine running, drizzle in the melted chocolate during the last minute of spinning. (Alternatively, drizzle the chocolate over the ice cream as you transfer it to the container, folding it in with a spatula or ice cream paddle to break it up as you go.)
- Transfer the ice cream to a chilled container, cover, and freeze until firm but still spreadable, about 4 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F with racks in the center of the oven. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with lightly oiled parchment paper or foil to cover the bottom and run up two sides to the top of the pan as a sling to later aid in lifting the brownies from the pans, or place an unlined Silpat Entremet on a flat baking sheet.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a medium metal bowl nested over a saucepan holding about 1 inch of simmering water. Remove the bowl from the heat and wipe the bottom dry.
- Whisk the sugar, espresso (if using), vanilla, and salt into the melted chocolate. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, mixing each until smooth. Stir the baking powder into the flour, then stir the mixture into the batter with a spatula just until no white streaks remain.
- Spread the batter evenly in the pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake until the top feels firm but a toothpick inserted near the center finds some moist crumbs clinging to it, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the pan front to back halfway through baking. Let the brownie cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then lift out the brownie using the parchment slings and transfer it on the parchment to a wire rack to cool completely. (If using the Entremet, allow the brownie to cool completely in the pan before inverting onto a piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface and peeling away the Entremet.)
- Cut the cooled brownie layer in half the short way, wrap the layers in plastic, and freeze until the ice cream is ready, or at least 1 hour.
- Line the same pan you used to bake the brownie with plastic wrap, extending it well beyond the edges on all four sides. Place one brownie layer top-side down in the pan and spread ice cream over it in an even layer. Top with the second brownie layer, top-side up. Press firmly to evenly distribute the ice cream. Use a small offset spatula to smooth the edges.
- Wrap the whole block tightly in the plastic wrap and freeze until very firm, at least 6 hours or overnight, for easiest cutting.
- Once firmly frozen, remove the filled brownie from the pan, unwrap, and place on a flat cutting surface. Use a sharp, heavy knife to cut the block into 4 strips in one direction and 3 in the other to form 12 sandwiches, dipping the knife into hot water and wiping it dry between cuts.
- Alternatively, form sandwiches using ice cream sandwich molds according to the manufacturer’s directions.
DRESS IT UP: Roll the sides of the sandwiches in crushed candy canes. Serve with minty hot cocoa topped with marshmallows.