If time allows, I love making ice-cream at home. The process is not at all difficult, but time is an important ingredient. However, having an ice-cream maker will make your life much easier. I usually make a good old vanilla ice-cream so I can serve it with summer fruit pies or crisps. The taste of homemade ice-cream is worth the time and the cost of a simple ice-cream maker. My family runs a fast food restaurant that serves ice-cream sandwiches. I’ve must have made hundreds of them when I helped out during the hot summer days. They are my favourite among the novelty treats we serve – a thick layer of soft served pressed between two thin chocolate wafers; it is a much better version of the rectangular bars that comes a in box from the supermarkets. The irony is that I’ve never made them at home. In the place of the wafers, I made some mini chewy salted brownie cookies. Sandwiched with homemade vanilla ice-cream, it is the perfect little indulgence that one is often not enough. Mini desserts are so adorable like this one: Salted Brownie Ice-cream Sandwich Bites.
- 520 g / 2-1/3 cups whole milk
- 250 g / 1 cup whipping cream
- 80 g / about 4 egg yolks from large eggs
- 175 g / 1 cup less 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 57 g / 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 340 g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 150 g / 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. coffee extract
- 42 g / 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp fine salt
- Flaky sea salt for the tops, such as Maldon
- Heat milk, whipping cream, half of the sugar, and scraped vanilla pods with seeds in a medium saucepan on medium heat until it is simmering, place a lid on the pot and let the milk steep for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks, sea salt, and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Take out the vanilla pod from the steeped milk, reheat it until it is simmering again. Ladle about 1 cup of hot milk slowly into to the yolks and sugar mixture, whisking as you add the milk. Add the remaining the hot milk slowly as you whisk the mixture until it combines.
- Return the custard into the pot on low heat. Use a rubber spatula and stir the custard as it cooks. To test if it is ready, lift your spatula off the custard, run a finger where the custard is, it should leave a streak.
- When ready, strain mixture into a clean container, let cool in room temperature and chill in refrigerator before churning.
- Churn in ice-cream maker according to your ice-cream maker's manual. Freeze ice-cream overnight before assembling.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/ 175 degrees C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, melt chocolate and butter over simmering water, set aside and let cool.
- Whip eggs and sugar in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, or and mixing bowl and hand mixer on medium high speed until it has reached a "ribbon" stage, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add cooled chocolate mixture, vanilla, and coffee extracts, stir to combine.
- Sift flour, salt, and baking powder together. Stir flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. Let batter sit for 5 minutes for it to set a little.
- Spoon the batter in a piping bag fitted with a #4 round tip. Pipe about 1 tablespoon of batter for each cookie. Sprinkle tops lightly with flaky sea salt.
- Bake cookies for about 8 minutes, until just cooked and center is still moist. Cool and place in freezer until ready to assemble.
- Make sure your cookies and ice-cream are thoroughly frozen before assembling - it will make the process much easier. I even chill my ice-cream scoop to reduce the melting as much as possible.
- Match all your cookies according to size and shapes. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of ice-cream onto a cookie and sandwich with another cookie, lightly press together.
- Working fast, finish all the other cookies, freeze 3-4 hours before serving.
If you don’t have an ice-cream maker, or are pressed for time, just buy a good quality ice-cream of any flavour. I like the flavour and contrast of colours of a classic vanilla ice-cream with these brownie cookies. The saltiness and bitterness from the cookies are not your average tastes but makes a fine balance with the sweetness of the ice-cream. The brownie cookies freezes up into a chewy texture, creating a delicious contrast with the creamy vanilla filling.
The tip to making ice-cream sandwiches is to have everything frozen and cold, including the scoop and container where you will store them, that way, you warm up the ice-cream as little as possible. Make them fast as they are not finicky and freeze them as soon as you’ve assembled them.