When I was a boy, if the weather was warm and my father had D.I.Y.-related errands to run, he would drag me to Lin-brook Lumber to look for whatever it is that handy people look for in such places. As a bribe, he'd tell me I could have an ice cream sandwich if I behaved myself well enough not to cause major damage to the store, myself, or others. He'd give me a quarter to plunk into the vending machine, I'd press a button, open a frosted-over door, and pull out an ice cream sandwich so stale it most likely pre-dated television. The wrapping paper stuck to the cardboard-flavored outer layer. It was always messy and usually tasted faintly of sawdust.
And I loved every bite of it.
Today, my tastes have (hopefully) matured. And I've become a lot more handy, at least in the kitchen. I can get up and make my own damned ice cream sandwiches. In fact, that's what I've been up to this week...
There really isn't much of an ingredients list for these. The beauty of making your own sandwiches is that you can use practically whatever the hell you want. The only requirements are:
Some ice cream, sorbet, gelato, frozen yogurt, or cold lumps of Crisco. Whatever.
Cookies, graham crackers, or some other sort of sandwiching material.
The rest is up to you. Whatever you have in your freezer, larder, or imagination will work just fine.
I made three different types-- all dipped in chocolate:
1. Ciao Bella Blood Orange Sorbet.
2. Straus Family Creamery Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with a top stripe of homemade sea salt caramel sauce, rolled in chopped hazelnuts.
3. Stoneyfield Farms Organic Vanilla Frozen Yogurt with a layer of blackberry jam, rolled in chopped peanuts.
I limited myself to three because I live alone and did not want a freezerful of them calling out to me at inconvenient hours.
1. Select your sandwiching materials. I like Jules Destrooper Butter Crisps because of their size and thinness. Set them on a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper that will fit easily into your freezer.
2. If you are layering your cookies with caramel, jam, or what have you, do it now.
3. Let your ice cream soften until it is spreadable, but just barely. Working in small batches, coat a clean side of your cookies (not ones you have already layered with other ingredients) with an even layer of ice cream roughly one inch thick. Top it off with a second, matching cookie (layered or not). Smooth the sides, place on parchment, and put back in the freezer. Repeat until you have as many as you need. Or want.
4. If you are dipping your sandwich in chocolate, I recommend letting the chocolate cool until just barely warm. The ice cream will melt rather quickly if you dip it anything much warmer than that.
These sandwiches would be brilliant as a do-ahead treat at backyard barbecues. If you have a barbecue. Or a backyard. I have neither, so I just have to pretend. Don't worry about me, I do that a lot. I'll be just fine. Really. Just fine. Alone in my apartment with a freezer half-filled with ice cream sandwiches. I'll be fat and alone, but fine.