I was first inspired to make ice cream sandwiches from scratch after I tried a mint ice cream macaron and it reminded me of my mint ice cream recipe. I was feeling a little too cozy this rainy weekend for something as bright as mint ice cream, so I used warm earl grey flavors of black tea and bergamot stuffed between two flaky shortbread biscuits. The combination is buttery and delicious. This recipe yielded a dozen sandwiches and honestly I could have eaten them all.
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Step 1: Ingredients & Supplies
We're going to make a french style ice cream custard, so the ingredients are:
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 tbsp loose leaf earl grey tea
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Large Bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Ice Cream Maker*
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Plastic Wrap
- Cookie Cutter
- Rolling Pin
I use a Cuisinart ice cream maker, which I highly recommend, but I've also had great success with no-churn methods
Step 2: Custard Base
Start by heating the milk, heavy cream, salt, vanilla extract and sugar in a large saucepan, whisk constantly until the mixture is steaming. In a separate bowl, scramble three egg yolks. Slowly pour the hot milk into the eggs, whisking constantly. It's important to do this slowly so your eggs don't cook through. Strain the mixture back into the pot through a sieve to catch any bits of egg that got cooked in case you did it too quickly. Continue whisking over medium heat until the mixture thickened. To check if the mixture is thick enough, dip a wooden spoon in the custard and drag your finger through the milk coating the back. If the milk runs back into the finger-trace, keep whisking over heat. If not, it's time to move on to the next step!
Step 3: Steep the Tea
Remove the custard from heat. Add a heaping 2 tbsp of earl grey tea and cover for 10 minutes, try not to disturb it during this time or the tea will release too much tannin and make your ice cream bitter. Strain the tea into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve, gently pressing the tea leaves with the back of a spoon to release all the flavor.
At this point, I added 2 drops of red food coloring and 1 drop of blue, which gave it a purple-gray color that I thought was pretty cozy feeling, but the ice cream is just as tasty without it!
Step 4: Chill Custard, Make Biscuits
Clear out a shelf in the fridge and put in the custard to chill. Some people say you should let the custard chill overnight, I usually just give it a few hours (or pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes just to cool it off but not to freeze)
While that's chilling, let's get baking! Make the dough following the instructions in step 1 (I used Bob's Red Mill gluten free biscuit mix, which came out a little bit dryer than I would have liked). Roll out the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to about 1/4 inch or less. Use a cookie cutter to make nice, uniform pieces. I used a square, which had some issues at the corners, but made a really nice looking cookie. Don't forget that you have two cookies per sandwich (I did for a few minutes and was disappointed by the lack of sandwiches).
Pop these babies into the oven and let's move on to the cold stuff
Step 5: Freezing Things
When the cookies are done, transfer them from the oven to the freezer, you'll want them really cold for assembling the sandwiches.
Take your chilled ice cream custard (if it's still warm or even room temp, let it chill longer) and transfer it to an ice cream machine or use your preferred ice cream making method. Work the ice cream until it's as stiff as you can get it, then return to the freezer to firm up a little bit more.
Step 6: Assembly
While your ice cream is firming up, cut parchment paper into strips. We'll use these to keep the sandwiches separate while we're assembling them.
Using a spoon and butter knife, pick up a dollop of ice cream and spread it on the frozen cookie, repeat until the thickness of the ice cream is about the same as the thickness of one cookie (so you have a 2:1 cookie to ice cream ratio) Gently press another cookie on top and wrap it in parchment paper. Immediately place it in the freezer. Repeat until all the cookies or ice cream are used up (enjoy eating the spares and not needing to share).
Keep the ice cream sandwiches in an airtight container in the freezer until they're ready to be eaten!