Summer is officially on it’s way here in the wine country. We had a couple of days of scorching heat last week, and are due for a few more hot ones in the coming days as well. The heat makes my tummy think of barbecuing, cole slaw, potato salad, and fruits and veggies at their finest. Summer eating is the greatest!
At the store the other day, peaches were on sale for a decent price. These aren’t local peaches, but because they were grown within 500 miles of here and their intoxicating perfume mesmerized me, I picked out the best of them and in to the cart they went. Stone fruits are my very favorite part of summer produce. It’s still a little early, but there was no talking myself out of them once I had a whiff!
I considered making a pie, bellinis, an upside down cake, but I really didn’t want to cook them, and we had nary a bottle of bubbles in the house to make with the cocktails (for shame!). What to make, what to make? And then it hit me: ice cream. Wait, better yet, ice cream sandwiches.
My mom makes legendary ice cream sandwiches, with all kinds of combinations of homemade cookies and the finest ice creams money can buy. We are big ice cream people in our family; my dad and I almost always had a scoop after dinner when I was a kid. My brother still requests ice cream sandwiches for his birthday dessert every year, both to eat that evening and a handful to take home and not share with anyone. I can’t say I blame him.
I settled on butterscotch chip cookies to go with my peach ice cream, and wished quietly that I hadn’t finished off the container of Trader Joe’s Praline Pecans (have you had these things? If not go buy some, like, now). They would have been the best most tasty business to finely chop and roll the exposed edges of the sandwiches in. My cookie recipe was the one off the back of the bag, which I of course already tossed in the recycle so I can’t give you the exact one, but it was really similar to this recipe. Simply omit the white sugar, and use a bag of butterscotch chips for the chocolate ones. Easy peasy. When baking your cookies, though, try to get them as symmetrical as possible, for easier pairing and sandwich assembly. I use a #3 scoop.
For our ritualistic ice cream makings, we use a Donvier ice cream maker with great results, as I haven’t broken down and bought the ice cream maker attachment for my mixer. We like this one because it’s quiet, does the job well, and is very, very little work. And without further ado, here’s the ice cream recipe. I’m a lazy kid and try to avoid making a custard base for my ice cream at just about any cost (tempering eggs frightens me), but if you have a favorite recipe please feel free to use it. In a pinch, buy some highest quality peach ice cream or gelato from your neighborhood purveyor.
No-Cook Peach Ice Cream
Adapted from Southern Living
1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk (I used fat free)
1 5 oz. can of evaporated milk (again, fat free)
1 1/4 c. half and half*
4 medium sized peaches, peeled and sliced
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 T. sugar
1/4 t. salt
3/4 c. peach nectar
1 t. vanilla extract
2 T. bourbon (optional)
In a large pitcher or mixing bowl, combine the condensed milk, evaporated milk, and half and half. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to chill.
Combine peaches, lemon juice, sugar and salt in a food processor, whiz a couple of times until the mixture is broken into chunks, but not completely pureed. Stir this mixture and the peach nectar into the cold milk mixture, and process in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Remove from ice cream maker to a small freezer container, and freeze for 1 to 2 hours until firm.
* I have a method to my madness here with my half and half. I used fat free condensed and evaporated milks to cut calories and fat, but used full-fat half and half in the mixture for mouth feel and in the past have even used heavy cream (which of course is the most creamy and the most fattening). When I made the recipe in the past with regular whole milk and the full fat condensed/evap milks, it got really icy and didn’t have that true creamy consistency. After tinkering around I found that the half and half really helps to keep it creamy and luscious, but it is still a little more icy than a full-fat ice cream base. Oh! And the bourbon? That keeps the ice cream from getting too hard in the freezer. This is completely optional, of course, if you’re making this for kiddies or simply don’t want the alcohol in there, simply leave it out.
When you assemble your sandwiches, go ahead and pair up your cookies first so they all have nicely matching mates. Inevitably there are a couple of crooked ones that fit better together than with other cookies, thus making your batch more uniform. When all of your cookies are paired, plop a fat scoop (don’t be shy here) of the ice cream in the middle of one of the cookies, and smoosh it’s top on. Press down to stick them together, but not too hard so the ice cream doesn’t goosh out everywhere. Wrap each in a wax paper bag or plastic wrap sheet, and freeze for at least an hour prior to serving.
And here are the sandwiches, fully assembled. Maybe I’ll call up my brother and share with him.