I’m sure most of you would agree with me if I said that nothing is tastier than an ice cream sandwich on a hot summer’s day. It’s cold, it’s creamy, and it conjures up memories of childhood summers spent chasing down the ice cream man. Despite its deliciousness, however, I’m often wishing for a cake by the end of summer… Maybe with a scoop of ice cream?
Ice cream is good on its own, of course, but something about combining it with baked goods turns “plain old” vanilla into anything but—especially when the baked goods are cookies. Chocolate chip tends to be the go-to, and while I most certainly don’t begrudge anyone a chipwich, I like to pretend that I’m an adult while I am stuffing myself with treats that are associated with children. But how can one spice up a humble, classic treat without turning it into a pretentious, stuffy plated dessert? One word, my friends: ginger.
Ginger-Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwiches
Note: These cookies can be served any of three ways: plain, filled with cream cheese frosting (from my oatmeal cream pie recipe), or filled with ice cream. All are equally delicious. I recommend using margarine in place of the butter if you want an extra soft, chewy cookie.
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/3 cup candied ginger, minced
- 1/2 cup white sugar (for rolling cookies)
- 1 carton (or 1 batch homemade) vanilla ice cream (for filling)
Step One: Add 2 sticks softened butter and 1 cup packed brown sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (alternatively, you can use a large bowl and a sturdy wooden spoon). Beat on medium speed until the butter mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar has started to dissolve, about 2 minutes.
Step Two: Add 1/3 cup molasses, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of very finely minced ginger, and 1 egg to the butter mixture. Beat on medium-low speed until everything is combined. Don’t worry if the dough looks curdled or grainy at this point.
Step Three: Add ¼ teaspoon coarse salt, 2 ½ cups all purpose flour, and 2 teaspoons baking soda to the mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until the flour just begins to incorporate into the dough. Turn off the mixer and add 1/3 cup minced candied ginger to the half-mixed dough.
Turn the mixer back on to medium speed and mix until the dough is well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and quickly mix again, if needed.
Step Four: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate while the oven preheats.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a nonstick baking mat. Pour ½ cup of white sugar onto a plate or into a cereal bowl.
Step Five: Once the oven is hot, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Use a tablespoon to get a scoop of dough out of the bowl. Form the scoop into a ball, then roll the ball in the white sugar until coated. Flatten the ball into a disc and place the disc on the prepared baking sheet.
Repeat the rolling/flattening process, placing each disc at least 2 inches away from the last, until the baking sheet is full. Sprinkle the unbaked cookies with more white sugar before placing in the oven to bake. Bake at 350 F for 13-15 minutes, or until just set. The cookies will be soft. Immediately transfer them to a cooling rack and repeat the last step until you’re out of dough.
Step Six: Once the cookies have cooled, place a scoop of ice cream on each bottom cookie. Top with another cookie, squeezing gently to make sure the cookie has stuck to the filling. Freeze at least 15 minutes or up to 12 hours before serving.