Every holiday season my wife and I throw a cookie party, a holiday celebration where everyone brings a dessert. Some are home-made, some store-bought, and some struggle with a savory dish to offset the insane sugar content of our apartment. As ice cream is my hobby and specialty, am tasked with making a batch. Over the years I have made many flavors to suit the season: fudgey malted mint chocolate and a drunken eggnog both went over very well. But then one day I made a gingerbread ice cream that was a hit. And, being a fan of gingerbread, I also had some Anna’s Ginger Things lying around, as I love ginger. So I put them together to make Gingerbread-Gingerbread ice cream finger sandwiches.
And they were a hit.
Perhaps too much of a hit. For the past couple of years I’ve asked if I can try something new, and for the past couple of years I have been told absolutely not, and to just serve up the sandwiches. I made them for a work party once (once) and there are co-workers who bring them up to this day.
Maybe you’re thinking “That’s a lot of ginger. Maybe it’s too much ginger. Is it too much ginger?” And to that I say no, shut up, and eat the damn sandwich. Seriously, if your mouth is doing something other than eating the Gingerbread² then it’s doing the wrong thing. In fact, the crisp ginger is a perfect antidote to the infamous pumpkin spice. Pumpkin spice, aside from its pop-cultural significance, is a very busy mix. Like any individual, it contains multitudes. Ginger, clove, all spice, cinnamon, nutmeg. But with this ice cream, ginger is the strong base tone, paired with a deep note from the molasses. That’s really it. So when fall first lands, I like pumpkin spice; it’s as busy an intense to the senses as the swirling colors of the changing leaves. But once there’s snowfall, gingerbread is the sharp fireplace of on the palette, with molasses serving as the simple, sometimes forgotten hearth.
So here comes the recipe. One caveat I will mention is that every year I have made these with Anna’s Ginger Things. They are delicate but delicious, and thin enough that the sandwiches retain a good ice cream-to-cookie ratio. This year I am trying them with Trader Joe’s Cookie Thins: Triple Ginger. As much as I love Anna’s cookies, I frakking hate grocery shopping. Being able to get everything with one stop and avoid the major supermarkets is a huge boon for me. So I’ll be seeing if anyone notices.
Ginger² Ice Cream Sandwiches
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups milk
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp molasses
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 6 large egg yolks
- 2 tbsp. rum — This is just to tweak the freezing point of the base and create a smoother texture. It’s not like when I ended up using nearly a cup of rum in my eggnog ice cream.
- Anna’s Ginger Thins. Or maybe Trader Joe’s Cookie Thins: Triple Ginger.
We’ll see if the new cookies are embraced, or cause a violent revolution.
- Place egg yolks in a small bowl and beat well. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, mix milk, cream, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Heat until it just starts to bubble.
- Temper the egg yolks by pouring the milk mixture over the beaten eggs. Stir well.
- Pour this mixture back into saucepan and heat, stirring constantly. You’re making a custard, so make sure to keep the mixture from settling along the sides of the pan, and heats as evenly as possible. Stir and heat until mixture becomes thick and sticks to the back of a spoon. You’ll also notice the thickness when it drips on the surface.
- Strain through a very fine sieve. This will clear out any of the egg yolk that may have not mixed in properly and cooked solid. I forgot this step once and the texture was not pleasant.
- Chill for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
- Churn in your ice cream maker.
- Let it harden in the freezer.
- Once the ice cream is hard, use a medium-sized spoon (like a soup spoon) to dig up a wide and flat scoop.
- Place it on top of a cookie. Be gentle, they are brittle.
- Place another cookie on top.
- It’s a sandwich.
- Eat it? Or share.