America loves ice cream. Worldwide, it is so popular that the industry sells over a BILLION gallons every year. (The number one country of ice cream lovers is New Zealand where people gobbled up almost 28 liters of ice cream per person; the USA came in second at 20 liters per person.)
Yes, ice cream has fat and calories — but in limited quantities, it is a better alternative than other sugary foods because it also has calcium and protein and you CAN buy ice cream that is relatively free from chemicals found in processed desserts. You can also buy sugar-free ice cream and low-fat ice cream, sorbets, sherbets and more.
Most high quality, premium ice creams use primarily cream, milk, sugar and flavorings. Other, less “premium” kinds, add stabilizers and thickeners, and some ice creams include a laundry list of ingredients that I have no interest in eating or serving. Read the ingredients and take your choice.
Interestingly, in order for ice cream to be called “ice cream,” it has to be a minimum of 10-percent milk fat. Premium ice cream is about 14- to 16-percent fat. The higher the fat content, the richer and creamier the product. If the ice cream is labeled “frozen treat,” you know that you are getting something other than creamy, rich ice cream.
Air also plays a big part in ice cream production. Too much and you get a grainy mix that melts into an airy, bubbly mess. Commercial production of ice cream mixes in air according to the desired price point. Air is cheap; cream is not. And, while many people like the newer high protein ice creams, I would rather eat less of my favorite sweet treat, but eat the real thing!
If you buy good quality ice cream, you will be more assured of fewer ingredients and less air. The calories may be a bit higher, but there is nothing like it on a hot evening.
And don’t forget to try some frozen custard or gelato; both are delicious alternatives to ice cream. Even dairy-free ice creams (some but not all of which are pareve) are more creamy and delicious than ever, with coconut or almond, oat or soy based deliciousness.
Most deliciously, make your own. Ice cream makers are no longer the hand cranking, rock salt filled contraptions of my youth. They are compact and easy to use.
Ice Cream Sandwiches
My favorite ice cream treat (after a classic ice cream scoop in a sugar cone) is a homemade ice cream sandwich. They are fairly easy to make and so much better than the soggy wrapped items you buy in a market. Try them. You will be surprised how delicious they are.
Make your own cookies and fill them with your favorite ice cream or frozen yogurt for an amazing treat. Wrap in plastic and freeze for treats that are so much better than store-bought.
Here are some of my favorites, delicious with so many kinds of ice cream.
Make all cookies about 3 to 4 inches in diameter and try to make an even number of them.
Let the cookies cool completely. Let the ice cream soften a bit.
Scoop some ice cream onto a cookie so that there is about a half-inch rim around a small mound of ice cream. Place a second cookie over the ice cream and press gently to flatten the ice cream to about a half-inch thickness.
Roll in a “topping” (see below), wrap in plastic and freeze. Makes about 10 to 12 sandwiches.
Spicy Chewy Fruity Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (Pareve or Dairy)
2 to 12 cups rolled toasted oats
3/4 cup vegetable shortening or butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1-3/4 cup dark raisins
2/3 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the oatmeal on a cookie sheet and toast for 15 minutes, stirring several times until it is golden brown. Set aside to cool. Increase the oven heat to 350 degrees.
In an electric mixer, cream the butter or shortening. When light and creamy, add the sugars. Beat until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat well.
Sift the flours and the baking soda, baking powder and spices. Stir the flour mixture by hand into the creamed sugars. Add the toasted oats, chocolate chips and the raisins. Mix well.
Use a large tablespoon to drop rounded balls of dough onto a cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with clean hands or the bottom of a glass. Bake until golden, about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size and your oven. Don’t over bake. Cool the cookies on the pan for about 5 to 8 minutes, until they are firm enough to move with a spatula.
VARIATIONS: Add chopped walnuts, white chocolate chips, dried cranberries, chopped dates, minced candied ginger or chopped apricots. Makes 12 to 18 cookies or 6 to 9 sandwiches.
Reverse Black and White Ice Cream Sandwiches (Dairy)
This uses white sugar cookies and dark chocolate ice cream — or any flavor you like to make delicious ice cream sandwiches.
1 recipe Sugar Cookies Supreme (see below)
Chocolate ice cream
Vanilla bean ice cream
Chocolate chip ice cream
Black raspberry ice cream
Black cherry ice cream
Mint chip ice cream
Mocha chip ice cream
OR any flavor you like
Sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, finely chopped white or golden chocolate
Sugar Cookies Supreme (Dairy)
1 cup unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 extra-large egg
1 egg yolk
2-1/2 to 3 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
OPTIONAL: Rainbow sprinkles or nonpareils, less than 1/4 cup
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment and set aside.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg and yolk, one at a time and beat until light and fluffy again.
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and add to the butter/egg mixture. Add the rainbow sprinkles or nonpareils, if using. Beat until the dough is smooth and thick. Take half the dough and roll into a ball. Place on a piece of plastic wrap and cover with the wrap. Flatten into a disc and refrigerate for about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the other half.
Roll out half the dough on a floured surface to about a quarter-inch thickness. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Use a three-inch in diameter glass and cut circles. Place them on the parchment and then immediately into the oven.
Bake 7 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Let cool. Repeat with the other disc. Makes about 2 dozen cookies. These are fragile, so press gently when filling with ice cream. Makes 10 to 12 ice cream sandwiches.
Chocolate Drizzled Mocha Chip Cookies (Pareve or Dairy)
I love these with coffee ice cream, but any kind will do. The chocolate drizzle on the inside is a special surprise!
1/2 cup unsalted butter, pareve margarine, or vegetable shortening
2-1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. instant espresso powder
2 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups chopped chocolate or chocolate bits
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Stripes: 1/4 cup chocolate chips; 1 tsp. butter, pareve margarine, or vegetable shortening
Melt the chocolate and butter together over very low heat. Set aside. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together.
Beat the eggs and sugar together in an electric mixer until very thick and light yellow. This can take several minutes depending on your mixer. Add the espresso powder and vanilla and mix until blended. Add the cooled chocolate. Remove from the stand and fold in the flour. Set aside to set for 15 to 20 minutes.
Fold in the chopped chocolate and walnuts. Drop by rounded tablespoons (or, for more uniform cookies, make balls and gently flatten with a glass) on a cookie sheet that has been lined with a silicon liner or parchment. Bake at 350 for 10 to 16 minutes per batch, until; lightly golden. Allow to cool on a large tray.
Melt the quarter cup chocolate and the butter and allow to cool. When cool, pour into a plastic baggie and twist to close the bag, allowing the chocolate to accumulate in a corner of the bag. Turn each cookie over and then snip a tiny corner off the bag and drizzle a squiggle of chocolate over the bottom of each cookie in any creative design you like. Let cool completely and then refrigerate for 10 to 12 minutes to harden completely.
Fill with coffee, chocolate chip, vanilla, cherry vanilla, or any kind of ice cream you like! Roll in any kind of chocolate chips or sprinkles or more that you like.
Great Triple Ginger Cookies (Dairy)
I love ginger and these have crystallized, freshly grated, and powdered ginger in them. Find some ice cream parlor ginger ice cream for a true ginger treat.
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/4 cup unsulphured dark molasses
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
2-1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger (scant)
2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3-1/2 to 4 ounces crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped, a generous half to 2/3 cup
Sugar for rolling the cookies
Preheat oven to 375. Cream butter, sugars and egg until creamy and well blended. Add molasses and fresh ginger and beat well. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, cinnamon, powdered ginger, cloves, and baking soda. Add to the butter mixture and mix until blended. You can do this by hand.
Chop the candied ginger in a food process with a couple of pulses and fold into the dough. Form into 2-inch balls and roll in sugar. Place on a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet, press gently and bake at 375 for 10 to 13 minutes or until golden around the edges. Makes about 2 dozen.
Fill these with ginger, vanilla, salted caramel, coffee ice cream (or any flavor you like).
• • •
You can roll your finished ice cream sandwiches in any of the following before wrapping and freezing:
Mini chocolate chips
Crushed mint candies
Crushed toffee candy bars like Heath Bar
Graham cracker crumbs
Graham crackers mixed with a little finely minced candied ginger