Easy Gluten-Free Ice Cream Sandwiches

Easy Gluten-Free Ice Cream SandwichesWhen I posted Flourless Chocolate Cookies a couple months ago, my first thought was “these would be perfect for ice cream sandwiches.” Short story shorter, I was right.

Like all the best ice cream sandwich cookies, Flourless Chocolate Cookies are fairly flat and aren’t too hard or too soft. They also have this lovely, crinkly brownie-like quality, and are super easy to make and naturally gluten-free. Like I said, perfect.Easy Gluten-Free Ice Cream Sandwiches These cookies are on the sweeter side (confectioner’s sugar provides a lot of the structure), so I added a teaspoon of granulated espresso to the recipe to keep them from being cloying with ice cream. I also cut the size of the cookies in half for a dozen medium cookies instead of six large ones.

The assembly process begins by matching cookies, meaning determining which are the most compatible shapes. Mine all turned out fairly round, but there are always a couple that are a little oblong. Easy Gluten-Free Ice Cream SandwichesNext up, you’ll need to freeze the cookies for about 30 minutes. This helps the ice cream to stay on the solid side and the cookies from getting too soft during assembly. This step is not strictly necessary, but it is good insurance against ice cream sandwich frustration.Easy Gluten-Free Ice Cream SandwichesEasy Gluten-Free Ice Cream SandwichesRegarding ice cream, use whatever flavor you want. I went with a mid-level nationwide brand’s vanilla here and it was fine—good, even—but I will go higher quality next time. Oh, and I’ll probably go with mint chocolate chip because it’s my favorite. The point is to use what you love and not settle for less. Cookies are an important part of ice cream sandwiches, but ice cream is the *most* important part.

There are many ways of getting ice cream into ice cream sandwiches—slicing it, pressing it into molds, etc.—but I like to use the very easy and imprecise method of measuring out roughly 1/4 cup (1 small scoop) and lightly smashing it on a cookie.Easy Gluten-Free Ice Cream SandwichesEasy Gluten-Free Ice Cream SandwichesEasy Gluten-Free Ice Cream SandwichesFreeze the sandwiches before rolling them in your sprinkles of choice or chopped nuts or mini chocolate chips or candy bar pieces or crushed Oreos. Again, use what you love and don’t settle for less. <—good life advice? Easy Gluten-Free Ice Cream SandwichesThe last step is to freeze your ice cream sandwiches again for several hours or up to a day before digging in. Yes, you can eat them right after assembly, but the ice cream squidges out the sides and then you’re just eating two cookies with a translucent smear of ice cream and a weird smattering of sprinkles and then licking ice cream off a salad plate like a wild animal.

Maybe that’s just me.Easy Gluten-Free Ice Cream SandwichesAnyway, freezing the completed ice cream sandwiches for a few hours allows the ice cream to adhere to the cookies so that the sandwiches become single entities. That’s something I really care about with my ice cream sandwiches. Considering how much I loathe the patriarchy, I sure do love to be able to eat things in a ladylike manner.Easy Gluten-Free Ice Cream SandwichesI assure you, they’re worth the lengthy freezer time. The cookies never fully freeze, instead softening a tiny bit and getting extra chewy. And then there’s the ice cream and crunchy sprinkles. Like I said, perfect.Easy Gluten-Free Ice Cream Sandwiches

Easy Gluten-Free Ice Cream Sandwiches
makes 6 medium-large ice cream sandwiches

For cookies:
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa powder (natural or dutch processed)
1 teaspoon granulated espresso
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large egg whites, room temperature

For assembly:
1 1/2-2 cups (about a pint) ice cream of choice
sprinkles of choice, optional
chopped nuts, optional
chopped candy bars, optional
crushed cookies, optional
miniature chocolate chips, optional

Preheat oven to 325F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar, cocoa powder, espresso granules and salt. Add egg whites and whisk until smooth, glossy and a bit thick. If it seems dry during mixing, just keep going—it will get smooth. Let batter rest for 10 minutes–it will thicken slightly.

Drop batter in 1 tablespoon increments on the prepared baking sheet, making sure to leave them at least 3 inches apart. Bake 11-12 minutes, until puffed and crackly.

Let cool completely on their pan on a rack. Carefully peel parchment away from each cookie to release.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Place cooled cookies on the prepared pan and freeze for 30 minutes.

Assemble the ice cream sandwiches. Match cookies by shape and size so that you have six pairs. Turn 6 cookies upside down. Place 1/4-1/3 cup ice cream (roughly 1 small scoop) on each upside down cookie and use the back of the scoop to lightly smash it so that there’s a small perimeter (1/4-1/2 inch) of bare cookie all the way around. Top with one of the bare cookies. Smash down lightly with the heel of your hand to adhere. Freeze for 1 hour.

Place sprinkles (or other toppings of choice) in a shallow bowl(s). Working with one ice cream sandwich at a time, dip the edge into the sprinkles and carefully rotate the sandwich until the entire perimeter is covered. Use a clean finger to brush off any toppings stuck to the cookies. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

Ice cream sandwiches may be enjoyed immediately, but will not stay intact. For the most “stable” results, freeze for 4 hours before serving. For longer storage, double-wrap each ice cream sandwich in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to a month.Easy Gluten-Free Ice Cream SandwichesEasy Gluten-Free Ice Cream SandwichesEasy Gluten-Free Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ginger Limeade

Ginger LimeadeIt feels weird to be posting Fourth of July recipes because of literally everything, but I’m doing it anyway. I mean, none of them are red, white and blue…this year.Ginger LimeadeGinger Limeade is a perfect summery option for this weekend or any weekend. Crisp and light with a zippy ginger finish, Ginger Limeade would be a great addition to your (socially distanced) Fourth of July. It’s simple to make and a bit more sophisticated than your average non-alcoholic summertime beverage. I love a spicy sip.Ginger LimeadeGinger LimeadeGinger LimeadeGinger LimeadeGinger Limeade starts with a homemade ginger simple syrup. It’s as easy as combining sugar, water and sliced fresh ginger in a 1:1:1 ratio, simmering it and letting it steep until completely cool. You can use this syrup to make homemade ginger sodas, put it in milkshakes, or liven up some iced tea.Ginger LimeadeGinger LimeadeToday we’re combining the syrup with an equal part (1 1/3 cup) of fresh lime juice and a few cups of cold water, then pouring it over ice and floating lime slices on top. Yum!Ginger LimeadeAs with most beverages, Ginger Limeade is easily customizable. I think the 1:1 ginger syrup to lime juice ratio allows both to shine, but feel free to adjust them up or down to your preference. If you want to jazz it up, use sparkling water instead of still.

Oh, and I haven’t tried it myself, but I have a sneaking suspicion that if you reduce the water to 1 1/2 cups, this mix would probably make for great popsicles! If you give this a shot, please let me know how it works.Ginger LimeadeGinger Limeade is the sort of thing you can sip during a cocktail hour, have by the pool, or pour into a large mason jar and take to the beach. Not to be Debbie Downer, but keep in mind that lime juice can burn your skin when exposed to sun. Yes, really.

I guess I just like to live on the edge.Ginger Limeade

Ginger Limeade
makes about 6 cups

Ginger Syrup:
1 5-7-inch piece fresh ginger
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water

For Limeade:
1 batch ginger syrup
1 1/3 cups fresh lime juice
3-4 cups cold water

For serving:
ice
lime slices or wedges

On a cutting board, scrape the edge of a spoon across the ginger to peel. Discard peelings. Slice ginger as thinly as possible—you should have about 1 cup slices.

Combine ginger, sugar and water in a small pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-low and then let cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Cool the syrup with the ginger pieces. Once cool, strain ginger pieces out, pressing them to remove as much syrup as possible. You should have 1 1/4-1 1/3 cup ginger syrup. Discard ginger pieces or use for another purpose.

Make limeade. Combine ginger syrup and lime juice in the bottom of a large pitcher. Stir together, then add 3 cups of cold water. Stir again, taste, and add more water if desired.

Add ice cubes to a few glasses. Pour ginger limeade over ice and garnish with lime slices or wedges, if desired.

Ginger limeade is best the day it’s made, but keeps in the refrigerator for a few days.Ginger LimeadeGinger Limeade

Friday Favorites: Ice Cream

If it’s not already scorching hot everyday where you are, it probably will be soon. NYC rarely hits triple digits, but the sun, concrete and humidity can somehow transform relatively mild 85 degree temperatures into a sweaty hellscape nightmare.

This doesn’t keep me from baking in the summer, but it means I try to delve into cooler territory, namely ice cream. Whether you’re looking for an ice cream cake to serve on the Fourth of July or the perfect topping for a homemade sundae any day of the year, I’ve got you covered! Here are a few of my favorites from the archives.Friday Favorites: Ice CreamHot Fudge

There is no ice cream concoction more iconic than the hot fudge sundae. While you can top it with sprinkles or nuts, or skip the cherry if you really want to, quality hot fudge is non-negotiable. For me, that mean homemade. Not too sweet and made with dark chocolate and cocoa, mine is better than anything you’ll find in stores.Friday Favorites: Ice CreamPeanut Butter Caramel Sauce

Want a more non-traditional ice cream topping? Go for this rich Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce. Sticky and buttery in all the best ways, this is guaranteed to become a new favorite.Friday Favorites: Ice CreamButterscotch Sauce

The simplest recipes always require the most testing! The key to this Butterscotch Sauce is to do nothing. Put all the ingredients in a pot, turn on the heat and do nothing. Really. I promise you’ll be rewarded for your lack of effort.Friday Favorites: Ice CreamFresh Strawberry Malts

I love a malted milkshake! Chocolate is my usual preference, but this version made with fresh seasonal strawberries gives it a run for its money.Friday Favorites: Ice CreamNo-Churn Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

This was my first ice cream post and it’s still my favorite. A combination of two of my favorites, mint chocolate chip and chocolate chip cookie dough, it’s smooth and minty with bite-sized pieces of edible mint chocolate chip cookie dough. I’ve made lots of no-churn ice creams since, but this one is still my favorite.Friday Favorites: Ice CreamMint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake

And speaking of mint chocolate chip…sandwich a quart and a half of it between two thin rounds of chocolate cake, then top it with some whipped cream, homemade magic shell and mint baking chips. And then slice it and serve it to all your friends, or keep it all to yourself. Either way.

Have you made these or any of my other ice cream recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

Blueberry Lemon Bundt CakeThere is just something about bundt cakes. They’re one of my absolute favorite things to bake—they’re low-maintenance crowd pleasers *and* I get to feel like the queen of the universe every time I get one to release cleanly from the pan. That kind of glory is hard to come by these days.Blueberry Lemon Bundt CakeThis Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake is utterly spectacular, if I do say so myself. Lemon-scented and studded with a bevy of blueberries, it’s the perfect summertime cake. Oh, and it’s gorgeous too.Blueberry Lemon Bundt CakeThe base is a sour cream spin on my favorite bundt cake formula. While that cake batter is rich and delicious, it’s not quite thick enough to suspend whole blueberries, leaving them all to sink to the bottom of the pan/top of the baked cake. The final product still tastes right, but if you’re going to make a blueberry cake, you want the blueberries strewn throughout, ya know?

By swapping the usual milk for sour cream, the batter becomes just thick enough to support the blueberries, and you also get a super velvety crumb out of the deal. #score The blueberries are also given support via a light dusting of dry ingredients before being folded into the batter. This “trick” allows a little bit of the leavener to react directly against the blueberries, helping them to stay buoyant instead of sinking.Blueberry Lemon Bundt CakeAs for the lemon portion of this Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake, it’s as simple as rubbing zest into sugar to release those good lemony oils and finishing the cake with a simple lemon icing. Easy peasy.Blueberry Lemon Bundt CakeBlueberry Lemon Bundt Cake is perfect for any summer occasion, including the Fourth of July. There’s no melting frosting or chocolate to worry about, and just about everyone loves the combination of blueberries and lemon.Blueberry Lemon Bundt CakeI know a lot of us aren’t having or attending gatherings large enough to finish this cake in one go, so feel free to halve it and put it in a loaf pan. I, however, have never seen leftover cake as a problem.Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake
makes one 10-cup capacity bundt

Cake:
2 cups granulated sugar
zest of 1 medium lemon
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 pint fresh blueberries (about 12 ounces)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 16 pieces
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature

Icing:
1 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 325F. Heavily grease a bundt pan with softened butter (or shortening) and dust with flour. Set aside.

Make the cake. Combine sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl and use your fingertips to rub them together. Set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to mix on the lowest setting for 20 seconds.

Remove 1/4 cup of the flour mixture to a small mixing bowl. Add blueberries and toss together. Set aside.

Add butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream to the flour mixture. Use an electric mixer to mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes. Batter will be thick.

Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold floured blueberries (including any unincorporated flour) into batter.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth the top with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 65-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in several places comes out clean.

Let cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a thin, flexible knife around all exposed edges. Invert cake onto a cooling rack and let cake cool completely. Cake may be made up to a day in advance; it will keep double-wrapped in plastic wrap.

Make the icing. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together confectioners sugar, lemon juice and salt. Mixture should be very thick, but pourable. If it’s too thick, add more lemon juice by the teaspoon up to 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon); if it’s too thin, add more confectioners sugar in 2 tablespoon increments. Pour over cake. Let sit for 20 minutes to set. Move cake to a serving plate before slicing and serving.

Leftover cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five.Blueberry Lemon Bundt CakeBlueberry Lemon Bundt CakeBlueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}

Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}If you’re wondering where the cherries and chocolate cake are in this Black Forest Cake, well, this isn’t your average Black Forest Cake.Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Ohhh no. This is my take on a hometown favorite: Black Forest Cake from Swiss Pastry Shop in Fort Worth, Texas. My mom and grandmother used to take my sister and me to lunch at Swiss Pastry Shop several times a year, and while the sausages and German potato salad were delicious, we were all really in it for the cake. In fact, I think most people who go to lunch at Swiss Pastry Shop are in it for the cake.Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}There’s a reason the citizens of Fort Worth are so in love with this cake—it’s absurdly good, and unique for that part of the world. Made by layering crisp almond dacquoise (meringue with nuts) and whipped cream, and coated with thin chocolate sprinkles and shaved dark chocolate, this cake is hardly a cake at all. It’s pure bliss! Cold, crisp, super-light, creamy, nutty, chocolaty, naturally gluten-free bliss.

Full disclosure: it’s probably my all-time favorite dessert.Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}I’ve thought for years that Swiss Pastry Shop’s Black Forest Cake was unique to them—I mean, I’ve never seen or heard of it anywhere else. Turns out, it’s actually a Swedish cake and unrelated to the cherry-chocolate version, only sharing a name (Schwarzvaldtårta). Who knew?!

(Cambridge Cowgirl and Wikipedia. They knew.)Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Now, I’m not going to pretend that this is a carbon copy of Swiss Pastry Shop’s cake—I cannot figure out how they get their dacquoise so thick!—but it tastes *exactly* right and hit the spot on my birthday a couple weeks ago. I made a teeny-tiny version on a whim, because if I had to turn 35 in a pandemic, there was *going* to be excellent cake. And, well, it just doesn’t get much more excellent than Black Forest Cake.Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}I had no plans to put it on the blog (two home bakers have already posted their own versions), but other Black Forest Cake-deprived friends kept asking for it, so I tested and re-tested six times and here we are. Until the day that Swiss Pastry Shop figures out a way to ship, anyway.Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Black Forest Cake requires some skill and a time commitment, but is not actually difficult to make. Here are some tips for success.

-Don’t make this on a humid day and keep all your equipment squeaky clean. Whipped egg whites are temperamental.
-For the best flavor and texture in your almond dacquoise, grind your own raw almonds. I tested this recipe with both store bought almond meal and almond flour, and while they both work, they don’t hold a candle to fresh ground almonds.
-You don’t have to trim the layers after baking, but it makes them easier to stack and results in a more streamlined finished product.Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}
-Use good chocolate sprinkles. The stuff in the ice cream topping section will work, but India Tree Chocolate Vermicelli or hagelslag are the very best. I promise you’ll find ways to use up the leftovers.
-Don’t wait to serve this cake—day-of is ideal. As with many whipped egg white-based things, the dacquoise will weep and degrade over time. If you have leftovers, I have included freezing instructions at the end of the recipe.
-If you want to make a tiny cake, halve the recipe and spread the dacquoise in two 4-inch circles before baking. Alternatively, make one 8-inch layer, then use a 4-inch ring to cut out two layers. Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Whew! Okay, I think that’s all. This one was a labor of love, y’all. Not for yours or mine, but for the love of cake. Really excellent cake.Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}

Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}
inspired by Fort Worth’s Swiss Pastry Shop
makes one 8-inch cake

Almond Dacquoise:
1 1/4 cups whole raw almonds*
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar (granulated sugar will work)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 large egg whites, room temperature
pinch of salt

Whipped Cream:
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream, very cold
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

For assembly:
1/3-1/2 cup high-quality chocolate sprinkles (hagelslag)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, shaved or finely chopped
confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Read the recipe all the way through before beginning. There is a large time commitment (mostly hands-off).

Egg whites will not whip properly if they are not treated well. Do not attempt this on a humid day. Before beginning, please ensure that all equipment used in this recipe is very clean and dry. I like to wipe down the bowl(s), whisk, and mixer attachments with vinegar before starting the recipe. There is no way to salvage this recipe if the egg whites are contaminated with oil, yolk, or even water.

Preheat oven to 250F. Using an 8-inch round pan as a template, use a pencil (or other writing implement) to trace 8-inch circles onto two pieces of parchment. Turn parchment pieces over (pencil-side down) and place on two rimmed baking sheets. Set aside.

Make the almond dacquoise. Place almonds in a food processor and process for 30-45 seconds, until finely ground. Do not over-process (it could veer toward almond butter). Measure out 1 1/2 cups of your homemade almond meal. Stir in the cornstarch. Set aside.

Stir together sugar and cream of tartar. Set aside.

Combine egg whites and salt in a very clean, dry mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer fitted with a very clean, dry whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on medium speed until very foamy—the whisk should be leaving faint tracks. Turn speed up to medium-high. With the mixer running, add sugar to egg whites 3-4 teaspoons at a time. This will take a few minutes. Mixture should start to look glossy and begin stiffening up. Turn mixer speed up to high and beat continuously until stiff peaks form, about 1-2 minutes.

Add half the almond meal to the egg whites and use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to gently fold it in. Repeat with the remaining almond meal.

Divide mixture into the circles on the two prepared pans (you may pipe if desired). Use an offset spatula to gently spread the mixture to the drawn circle edges.

Bake dacquoise for 1 1/2 hours. It will puff and spread. Do not open the oven at any time.

Turn off oven, leaving the dacquoise inside for another 1 1/2 hours (or up to overnight). Remove layers from oven and let cool completely. At this point, layers may be gently, tightly wrapped in plastic and stored in a dry place for a few days.

To trim layers, gently place an 8-inch round cake pan on top of one layer. Use a sharp knife to slice off edges—the top will fall slightly during this process, so don’t be alarmed. Repeat with remaining layer.

Make the whipped cream. In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form.

Assemble the cake. Place one layer of dacquoise on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread a thick layer of whipped cream over it and then gently place the second layer of dacquoise on top. “Frost” cake on the top and sides with remaining whipped cream (you may have some leftover). Refrigerate cake for 15 minutes.

Line a surface with a piece of parchment and place the cake (on stand) on top. Use your hand to gently apply chocolate sprinkles to the sides of the cake. Scatter shaved/chopped chocolate over the top of the cake. Sift confectioner’s sugar over the top.

Refrigerate cake for a couple of hours before slicing and serving. Slices will not be perfectly clean. Holding the exposed edge with a bench scraper (or a clean hand) seems to help.

Cake may be kept in the refrigerator for up to a day. The dacquoise will deteriorate over time.

Leftover cake may be sliced, placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet and frozen. Triple-wrap frozen slices with plastic wrap and freeze for up to a month.

Note:

You may use 1 1/2 cups store bought almond meal or almond flour in place of the whole raw almonds. Stir the cornstarch into it and proceed from “Stir together sugar and cream of tartar.”

Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}