Ice Cream Sandwiches: Portland

11 Jul

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Turns out, trying to bake cookies in 90-degree heat was the most challenging part of this challenge. Well, I didn’t actually do any baking when it was that hot, but the weather certainly delayed my baking efforts for a few days. The Fourth of July was finally cool enough to use the oven (even in my second-floor apartment it was still pretty toasty), so I got to work on reverse Reese’s ice cream sandwiches, with peanut butter cookies and chocolate ice cream. And because I had access to a Cuisinart ice cream maker (thank you, Michael), I decided to try my hand at making my own. Special America bonus: The West Wing was on in the background.

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As cookies go, these were easy to assemble with some brown sugar, butter, eggs and peanut butter…

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…followed by flour, baking soda and baking powder. I did make the dough a few days before I was able to actually bake the cookies, so I froze it, hoping it would keep its consistency. It didn’t, but it turned out pretty much OK in the end. More on that later.

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For the ice cream, I went with Cuisinart’s Simple Chocolate Ice Cream recipe. I thought it best to use a recipe that was 100 percent compatible with the machine I was using. Ingredients: whole milk, whipping cream, white sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract. Stir to dissolve sugar and cocoa.

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Once everything was dissolved, I left it in the fridge until the ice cream maker bowl was frozen enough to start mixing. The mixing was its own challenge.

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When it actually came time to bake the cookies, they did not defrost well. There was a lot of crumbling, and the dough didn’t want to hold together. Ideally, I would have chilled the dough for an hour after mixing it, and then it would have rolled out nicely.

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With the traditional peanut butter cookie fork marks, you can see even more evidence of crumbling around the edges.

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But once out of the oven, they held together well. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from baking cookies, it’s to never make them too big, lest they spread out into one giant cookie mess. These were a little more crunchy than I would have preferred for an ice cream sandwich,

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This is how the ice cream turned out: semi-successful. I don’t think my freezer got the machine’s mixing bowl all the way frozen, so the ice cream never thickened as promised. Short on time, I shoved the whole thing in the freezer. The result was better than expected, but still a lot of ice crystals. (Not sure that I’d go to the trouble of making ice cream again, at least not with my freezer’s capabilities.) Eileen had the good idea of mixing it around with a fork like granita, and it definitely had that texture on the top. Once I scooped it, though, and it started melting together, it was a pretty normal consistency: dense, but creamy.

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Here it is all assembled. (Hand model credit goes to Eileen.) Now that it’s getting hot again, these are perfect for cooling down after a long bike ride home from work. The subtle peanut butter cookies and the creamy chocolate ice cream made a tasty combo.

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