I must admit to having been slightly taken aback when Andrew told me his weekend plans included making Ice Cream Sandwiches. Not that I didn’t want one. And when the smell of his dark chocolate ‘biscuit’ wafted through the kitchen, I could hardly wait until he put the ice cream in the middle.
This is classic Ice Cream Sandwich bereft of sprinkles or cookies filled with chips or Heath Bar bits…just pure chocolate heaven. The chocolate layer bakes quickly so it doesn’t heat up the kitchen. Freezing time is essential and can vary so plan accordingly. And don’t be in a hurry to cut up and wrap the sandwiches individually. Then refreeze before serving.
Now you could make your own ice cream but in all honesty, because this is such a classic, why not save that for more exotic flavors and just buy the best Vanilla Ice Cream you can find. For us that’s Häagen-Daz, that mythical place on the map on the carton. Is it Denmark? Holland? Sweden? They all have traditions of great dairy foods. And if you were picking a name you wanted to sound European, you couldn’t make one up quite as convincing as Häagen Daz.
I am about to bring you some shocking news. Häagen Daz is from the Bronx. You know the Bronx where the Yankees play baseball and the Moshulu Parkway runs through. It was there that a man and his wife, Rueben and Rose Mattus by name, started making an Ice Cream with a name he wanted to sound Danish. This was in the 1960s and if you find it hard to believe it’s from the Bronx, I find it even harder to believe that Rueben Mattus sold “fruit ice and ice cream pops from a horse drawn wagon in the bustling streets of the Bronx, New York”. In the 60s? But that’s what the website says and who among us is going to argue with ‘the google’. Reuben and Rose added the umlaut which doesn’t exist in Danish because he thought it gave the ice cream “an aura of the old-world traditions and craftsmanship”. And why Denmark? Because according to Reuben Denmark was “the only country which saved the Jews during World War II”. Good for them. And good for Reuben who sold Häagen Daz to Pillsbury and bought a house in Florida in 1983. Subsequent owners removed the map. But as Reuben would probably say “Enough already!”, here’s the recipe.
Ice Cream Sandwiches
A perfect summer treat that doesn't even heat up the kitchen for more than 10 minutes
- 1 ½ sticks/170 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more at room temperature for the pan
- 1 cup/128 grams all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup/75 grams cocoa powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 pints/1 quart good-quality vanilla ice cream
- Step 1 Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13- by 18-inch rimmed baking sheet and line it with parchment paper.
- Step 2 In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
- Step 3 In a large bowl, whisk together butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat until combined. (The batter will be thick.)
- Step 4 Scrape batter into the pan and, using an offset spatula, smooth to a thin, even layer, leaving a small border of parchment paper around the edges. Bake until cake is set, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack to cool completely.
- Step 5 When you are ready to assemble, remove ice cream from freezer and let it stand for a few minutes to soften slightly.
- Step 6 Using the parchment, transfer the cake to a cutting board. Cut cake in half crosswise so that you have 2 pieces that are about 9 by 13 inches each. Using a large ice cream scoop, dollop ice cream evenly over the top of one half of the cake. Using an offset spatula, spread ice cream into an even layer. Place the remaining piece of cake on the ice cream, with the top facing down, to make a large sandwich cake. Immediately wrap it well in plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 8 hours.
- Step 7 Remove the large sandwich cake from the freezer and take off the plastic wrap. Trim about 1/4 inch off of each edge and then cut into 12 smaller sandwiches. Wrap each sandwich well in plastic wrap and freeze until firm and ready to serve.