In the At Home With Martin & Sylvia story, “Midsummer's Eve”, when Martin and Sylvia learn that the Browns will not be able to hold their annual Midsummer’s Eve festival, they are very disappointed.
But then they realize that they could hold it themselves—in their own back yard! They need to inspire Momma and Daddy get excited about it too, so they are faced with the question, “What do grown ups like to do?”
Among other things, Martin and Sylvia quite wisely decide that their party should have pie. While a pie full of fresh berries or peaches will never go amiss, I suggest a cooler treat for your summer parties—ice cream sandwiches.
While you could go whole hog for these and make your own ice cream, too, to keep this recipe more manageable, we usually do homemade cookies and store bought ice cream.
There's a secret to those cookies, though. To make cookies that will stay soft and chewy when frozen, you have to substitute some of the sugar in the recipe for a liquid sugar.
I haven't been able to find a definitive answer for why this is true, but I've tested it now with chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin, and peanut butter. I'll admit that I've never tried it with a finicky cookie, but for all the standard cookies, it works!
You can substitute just a few tablespoons—if you don't want to alter the flavor of the cookies much—or go all the way up to half the sugar a recipe calls for. You can use maple syrup, corn syrup, or honey—whatever suits your taste.
The recipe below is a classic peanut butter cookie, where I've swapped half the sugar for honey. (Because I love peanut butter and honey together. So much.) We used caramel gelato for the sandwich filling, but I think chocolate would have been amazing, too.
Use this recipe as a jumping off point and see what delicious combinations you can discover!
Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwiches (makes about 12 sandwiches)
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup peanut butter
½ cup honey
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 pint ice cream (chocolate and caramel both would go well with these cookies)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a bake sheet or two by covering them with parchment.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, honey, and sugar. Once they're blended, add the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla. Last, add the flour, a little at a time, until the batter is well mixed.
Spoon the cookies out in ping pong ball sized dollops, then use a fork to flatten them and make the characteristic hash marks on top. (Alternatively, you can use a glass with a fancy pattern on the bottom.) Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack and let them cool completely.
When the cookies are cool (for obvious reasons, don't try to hurry this step—they really must be completely cool before you proceed), pull your ice cream out of the fridge and let it sit out for a minute or two to soften. While that's happening, put a bake sheet in your freezer, making sure—if you have to balance it on top of things like I always do—that it's very level.
Now, working quickly, spoon a dollop of ice cream onto a cookie. Put another cookie on top and squish them together, just a little, to make a sandwich. Quickly pop the sandwich onto the bake sheet in the freezer. Repeat until your cookies are all made into sandwiches.
Let the cookies freeze overnight, then wrap them in freezer paper for longer term storage. They'll keep for at least a few weeks, but I've never tested their outer limits—we eat them too fast!
About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred year old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two pre-schoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion--showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun--in her weekly Sparkle Kitchen posts.
When Meryl isn't writing for Sparkle Kitchen, you can find her on her personal blog, My Bit of Earth, where she writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day.