I Scream Cone!

Recipe and photos by Brandon Matzek

An ice cream sandwich on a hot summer day is pure bliss. In this recipe for Peach Gingersnap Ice Cream Sandwiches, the orange-hued ice cream is flavored with a fresh peach puree and flecked with vibrant segments of macerated peach. The cookies are crispy gingersnaps bursting with notes of ginger, star anise, brown sugar and molasses. Ginger pairs harmoniously with peach here, forming an addicting sweet treat.

August is National Peach Month, and peach is the dominant flavor in the ice cream, so starting with ripe, fragrant peaches is a must. (Raise a peach to your nose - if it smells strongly like a peach, it's ripe.) Freshly baked gingersnaps are a dream, but if the thought of turning on the oven on a hot day makes you want to get out of the kitchen, use store-bought gingersnaps instead. I like to wrap each sandwich in parchment paper to catch drips or crumbs that may escape while I'm devouring. There are several resting periods (both ice cream and cookies) required in the recipes below, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Peach Gingersnap Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ingredients
For the peach ice cream:
2 lbs. firm ripe yellow peaches (about 4 peaches)
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided (1/2 for the peaches, 3/4 for the ice cream base)
1/4 cup St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur (vodka, bourbon or white rum would also work here)
2 cups half and half
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

For the gingersnaps:
2 1/4 cups (281 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. fine grain sea salt
4 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground star anise (can't find this? try cinnamon!)
2 sticks (8 ounces or 1 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup unsulphured molasses
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup Turbinado (raw) sugar

Process
To make the peach ice cream: Halve the peaches and remove the pits. Chop 1 1/2 peaches into small bits and add to a medium bowl. Set aside the remaining 2 1/2 peaches. To the bowl with the chopped peaches, add 1/2 cup sugar and liqueur, stirring to combine. Cover and let macerate in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Coarsely chop remaining 2 1/2 peaches, then add them to a blender. Puree at high speed until very smooth. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of peach puree, and set aside. Use any leftover puree in a smoothie or spoon over ice cream.

In a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups peach puree, half and half, corn syrup, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and lemon juice, until fully combined. Whisk in additional salt and lemon juice to taste. Flavors should be full and balanced. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until cold (at least 4 hours). Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once the ice cream has finished churning, strain the macerated peaches, and then add them to the ice cream maker. Churn for a few moments more to mix in the peach bits. Transfer to an airtight container and chill in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours before serving. Reserve remaining peach syrup for cocktails, ice cream or morning yogurt.

To make the gingersnaps: Add flour, baking soda, sea salt, ground ginger and ground star anise to a large bowl, whisking to combine. Add butter to a small saucepan set over medium-low heat; warm until just barely melted. Take the saucepan off the heat, and stir in sugars, fresh ginger and molasses. Let the mixture cool until just warm to the touch, then whisk in the egg. Pour the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients, stirring until combined. Don't overwork the dough here. Cover the bowl, and let chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Preheat an oven to 350°F, and set an oven rack to the middle position. Spread Turbinado sugar out on a large plate. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough into one hand, then roll into a ball. Roll the ball around in the Turbinado sugar, then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat this process, placing dough balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Working in batches, bake cookies for 12 - 14 minutes until crisp. Let rest for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

To make the ice cream sandwiches: Place a large scoop of peach ice cream on a cooled gingersnap, then top with another gingersnap. Press gently to flatting the scoop of ice cream and bind the sandwich. Enjoy immediately.

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