Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ice Cream Sandwich

The dog days of summer are the time when memories are made. School is out, the kids are free to run and play, and whenever we look back on that stretch of scorching days (or weeks, sometimes) we always remember the things we did trying to stay cool- running through the sprinklers, spending days at the beach, hours in the pool, and eating every kind of popsicle, ice cream and frozen fruit imaginable. Although we haven't had weeks of 100 degree weather here, it is still hot enough to devour our favorite homemade ice cream treats. This time around we made ice cream sandwiches. We used Dorie Greenspan's Carmel Crunch Bars as a buttery brown sugar base for vanilla ice cream.

The tasty shortbread cookie is flavored with espresso, chocolate, and bits of rich toffee, and becomes the perfect portable (and edible) container for our favorite vanilla ice cream. Since there are usually only three of us at home, I halve most recipes, but this time I made the whole thing, and was glad I did. I made a bunch of mini sandwiches and it was nice to have a pre-made stash of cold treats in the freezer that we could snack on for the week. I know we will be making these again this summer, trying lots of other combinations of cookie and ice cream!

Carmel Crunch Bars
Baking:from my home to yours- Dorie Greenspan

1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ounces bittersweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped
6 ounces bittersweet or milk chocolate, finely copped
3/4 cup Heath Toffee Bits

Prepare pan: butter a 9x13 pan, line with foil, butter foil. Pre heat oven to 375degrees F.
Whisk together flour, espresso powder, salt and cinnamon.
In a mixer bowl  beat butter for 3 minutes until smooth.  Add sugars and beat for another 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and creamy. Beat in the vanilla. Add dry ingredients, and mix until they just disappear into the batter. Add chopped chocolate and mix quickly just to incorporate.
Scrape the dough into your prepared pan and smooth into a thin even layer.  Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the base is bubbly. Remove pan from oven and turn off the oven.
Scatter the chopped chocolate evenly over the top of the  hot base and pop the pan back into the oven for 2-3 minutes, until the chocolate is soft. Remove from oven and immediately spread the chocolate over the bars using an offset spatula. Sprinkle the toffee bits over the chocolate and press them down lightly with your fingertips. Cool to room temperature.
Using the foil edges lift the bars from the pan and place on a cutting board and cut into desired sizes. We made our sandwiches about 2x4
For ice cream bars: Line a 9x13 pan with foil.  Spread and even layer of your favorite ice cream over the bottom of the pan.  Place in freezer and chill until firm. Using the foil liner lift the ice cream sheet from the pan and cut to match the dimensions of your crunch bars. Layer ice cream between two crunch bars. place bars on a rimmed cookie sheet and return to the freezer until firm.
Stay cool and enjoy the rest of your summer.