Oh man. It’s almost the end of the summer. Are you feeling it? I’m a little down about it. As a working person sans children there isn't really a big delineation between the summer and the rest of the year, but summer is just so darn magical. The light. The sky. The beach. And even if you don’t have a ton of vacation time you can have a ton of ice cream. And ice cream feels like a vacation, right?
We’re up in Maine right now. We are on vacation in vacationland. Dream life! We're even luckier because right down the street from Gus’ parents house is one of those really lovable, old-fashioned ice cream places. You know the kind where sweet-faced cows roam around and the ice cream is so creamy and rich your eyes basically pop out of your head with every lick. This place is called Toots. It should be called Gut Busters. But Toots is OK.
It’s a special place. Back in the days before Gus avoided dairy, he and I would take dreamy bike rides that ended with a double scoop on a sugar cone and a visit with the cows and the alpaca. That is if I didn’t crash my bike before we got there. I’m hideously clumsy. Everyone who knows me knows that. (It’s charming, right?) Bike rides for me are dreamy/dangerous. But they’re always worth the gamble. Especially when they end with a big helping of dairy.
But we don’t go to Toots that often anymore. Everyone is trying to be a little less decadent (not everyone!) and Gus won’t go near the place. But I feel panicked. Summer is fleeting and I want to hold on to it. I need some more ice cream! And I’ve got ice cream cookie sandwiches on the brain.
Big, soft and chewy, ginger cookie sandwiches. Packed with crystallized ginger, fresh grated ginger, dried apricots, cinnamon, and black pepper for extra kick. Oh goodness! I know. You stopped at apricots didn’t you? I love them in here and I think you will too! They add something chewy and tart to the mix. Golden raisins would be nice too. But these cookies will still be soft, molasses-y heaven even if you just say to hell with the dried fruit altogether. Just trust your heart. I decided to stack these guys with vanilla ice cream from Toots. With all that cookie craziness going on a simple flavor was the smartest choice.
The cows were all out in the pasture enjoying the gorgeous day when we popped over to Toots to buy ice cream. But I did have a splendid visit with about 20 fuzzy ginger piglets. Check out this little sweetheart who kept poking his nose out to say hello. I think he saw a kindred spirit in me. I mean I was eating a drippy ice cream cone and holding on to a quart to take home – insert obvious pig joke. It’s cool. I like my frozen treats and I'm comfortable with that. Hey, I’m eating ice cream in vacationland and guess what - I'm as happy as a pig in you know what.
Triple Ginger Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes 16 sandwiches
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
3/4 cup chopped dried apricots, preferably unsweetened
1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized (candied) ginger
1/3 cup dark molasses (robust or blackstrap)
2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
Sanding sugar or turbinado sugar, for rolling (optional)
About 4 cups vanilla ice cream
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, pepper, and salt. In a second large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Beat in egg, apricots, crystallized ginger, molasses, and fresh ginger. With the mixer on low speed, beat in flour mixture until well combined.
2. Working in batches, shape dough into 11/2-inch balls (a mini ice-cream scoop makes really easy work of this task) and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes. Let cool on sheet for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
3. Let ice cream stand at room temperature to soften a bit. Scoop about 1/4 cup ice cream onto the flat side of 16 cookies. Top with remaining cookies, flat side down. Freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Wrap each sandwich well if not eating immediately. Now have a little end of summer party and enjoy your ice cream.