In my continuing quest to serve pumpkin-free desserts for Thanksgiving, I often end up layering flavors and textures: pretzel with caramel with chocolate, lemon with ginger with marshmallow, or cherry with cranberry with pear.
I’m hoping that no one will notice the absence of pumpkin if I pile as many autumnal tastes on the table as I can, and I think my nefarious plan is working better than ever.
This year’s distraction: maple gingerbread ice cream sandwiches.
These treats bring sweet maple together with a pinch of cinnamon and ginger, a dash of allspice, and a lick of molasses in a handheld package.
And they made us all a little giddy and giggly, like little kids getting away with something sneaky at the grown-ups’ table.
And it proved beyond a doubt that ice cream sandwiches aren’t just for the summer months.
A cold dessert over the holidays is a welcome change from the vats of hot chocolate, mountains of sugar cookies, and bowls of foil-wrapped candies that pile up in December.
However, one of these maple gingerbread ice cream sandwiches would pair awfully well with a mug of salted caramel hot cocoa).
I know that time is at a premium this month, too—we’ve all got parties and cookie swaps and frantic gift searches and, oh yeah, lots of work to finish before everyone skedaddles home at the end of the month.
I’ve been holding on to this no-ice-cream-maker-necessary recipe from Bon Appetit for a while, and this seemed like the perfect time to test it out.
The soft-serve-esque maple cream firms up nicely thanks to an egg custard/whipped cream emulsion, but melts quickly once out of the freezer, so work quickly when assembling your ice cream sandwiches.
The cookies you use to build your sandwiches are up to you. Make a homemade batch of gingerbread if that’s your thing, mix it up with oatmeal cookies if you want a little texture, or just grab a fresh few dozen from your favorite bakery if you’re pressed for time.
No one’s judging; everyone’s just grateful for a new and unexpected treat mixed in with the traditional, tried, and true.
- 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup heavy cream or whipping cream, divided
- 1/2 cup (5 1/2 ounces) dark maple syrup
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 batch of your favorite gingerbread cookie dough
- Using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat 1/2 cup of the cream until whipped into stiff peaks.
- Refrigerate the whipped cream.
- Fill a small, straight-sided saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer.
- Place the remaining 1/4 cup cream, maple syrup, and egg yolks in a heatproof stainless steel or Pyrex bowl and set over the saucepan of simmering water.
- Whisk continuously for 8-10 minutes, until the mixture slightly thickens and turns opaque, and registers 175 degrees on a candy or digital thermometer.
- Remove the bowl from the simmering water and beat with an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment for 3-4 minutes until the custard is cool and thick.
- Gently stir the custard into the reserved whipped cream until fully incorporated.
- Transfer to a clean, lidded container and freeze until the ice cream hardens, at least 4 hours (or overnight).
- While the ice cream freezes, roll out the cookie dough, cut into 3-inch rounds, and bake.
- Spoon 1 tablespoon ice cream onto the flat side of a cooled cookie.
- Top with a second cookie, flat side down, gently smashing the ice cream to the edge of the cookies to make an ice cream sandwich.
- Repeat with the remaining ice cream and cookies.
Ice cream sandwiches will keep for up to a month in the freezer. Store in a lidded container.
Maple cream adapted from Bon Appetit
Nutrition Information:Yield: 18 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 97Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 71mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g
The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate.
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