Friday, August 9, 2013

S'mores Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ok guys, here they are, FINALLY.  A couple days ago I shared a photo on Instagram of a tasty looking little creation that I called, "the ice cream sandwich to end all ice cream sandwiches."  Maybe it's a bit dramatic. Maybe it sounds a little over the top.  Maybe, you guys don't like s'mores and won't agree with me.

Wait a minute. Hold on...there are people might not like s'mores?  Do such people even exist?  I find it hard to believe.  To me, there's no better combo that a nice toasty marshmallow smothered by melting milk chocolate and crisp graham crackers.  It's a classic trio that never fails to disappoint and is the epitome of summer.  I can't let a summer go by without indulging in a least a few s'mores, and the thought that people might not like s'mores is just...weird. Really, really, really weird. If you happen to be such a person, I apologize, but is post might not be for you.  Or who knows, maybe it'll inspire you to give the classic s'more another go.

I've been meaning to make an ice cream sandwich version of a s'more for the LONGEST time.  Since the summer of 2011, to be exact, way back in the day when this blog was just a baby.  It was one of the first crazy ideas I had that just never had a chance to come to fruition.  It's unfortunate, because this ice cream sandwich is just too good, and it's terrible knowing that I've been missing out for so long.  Last summer, the idea came back to me, but I ended up choosing to go the DIY route and made my own s'mores completely from scratch (save for the milk chocolate, of course), and they were awesome.  As much as I loved my super homemade s'mores, I never lost sight of the ice cream sandwich idea.  This summer, however, I promised to myself that I would not let the summer go by without finally getting around to making the frozen version of my favorite summertime sandwich. 

The wait was so worth it. It took two and a half summers before toasted marshmallow ice cream, graham crackers, and dark chocolate graced my freezer, but oh man, were these sandwiches worth the wait.  

I'm being completely honest when I say that this toasted marshmallow ice cream is perhaps the best ice cream I've ever made.  I actually said that about the last batch of ice cream I made (since I sometimes post recipes out of order, I haven't shared this other amazing ice cream yet, but it's coming to the blog really soon), but I had to take back that comment.  THIS toasted marshmallow ice cream is just out of this world. It has an incredibly distinct flavor, and while its definitely on the sweeter side, is definitely not annoyingly sweet that you can't eat a spoonful by itself.  My sister said it tasted like creamy panna cotta, one of her absolute favorite desserts; my mom, who doesn't really like overly sweet marshmallowy things, said this ice cream was "muuyyy rico," or "realllyyy good"; and my dad, who defintelyyy doesn't like marshmallows, actually said the ice cream sandwiches were pretty good.  I'm telling you.  This toasted marshmallow ice cream works wonders.  It'll make a marshmallow lover out of everyone, even the most anti-marshmallow and anti-s'mores (aka really weird) person.  Forrealz.

In order to make a convincing toasted marshmallow ice cream, you have to start out with some marshmallows (duh).  Not marshmallow Fluff.  No, real marshmallows.  Ten whole ounces of them.  They get toasted under the broiler (or if you have one, with a kitchen torch) to give them that unmistakable toasty flavor, and then blended right into a creamy and silky custard.  Now, I'll be honest here.  Toasting the marshmallows and then getting them off the baking tray was a bit annoying. Ok, it was very annoying, because I ended up making a sticky, goopy, marshmallowy mess, but when you find yourself in that situation, just do what I did: 
  • say a couple of choice words, the likes of which will not be repeated here;
  • ask yourself why you ever thought toasting marshmallows on top of a Silpat at was a good idea;
  • get over yourself; 
  • persevere!; 
  • finish the ice cream; 
  • fall head over heels in love with it and realize that ten minutes of frustration are nothing when you eventually end up with an ice cream that is as delicious as this one.  TOTALLY WORTH IT.

Once the ice cream finishes churning, it'll be nice and soft and in a perfectly spreadable state.  Spread a nice thick layer of frozen toasted marshmallow goodness over some graham crackers, making sure to reserve some ice cream to enjoy right away or freeze for later.  Then, top off the ice cream layer with more graham crackers, and, here comes the hardest part.  You have to set the ice cream sandwiches in the freezer for a couple of hours so that they get chilled and firm, and ready to be dipped in melted dark chocolate.  The wait will be hard, but, like everything else about this cope, totally worth it.  I used dark chocolate because it's my absolute favorite, but if you want to go the classic route, melted milk chocolate would be delicious as well.  I love dipping things in chocolate.  They always end up looking so fancy and are extra decadent.  

These s'mores ice cream sandwiches are the epitome of a summer classic, neatly packaged in a little frozen treat that's perfect for sharing.  They're every bit as good as original s'mores made over a campfire, and every bit as delicious. Don't take my word for it though.  You need to make these for yourself!  Right now, get to it!!!

S'mores Ice Cream Sandwiches
ice cream recipe from Tracey's Culinary Adventure


For the Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream

10 oz marshmallows

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups milk (I went all the way and used whole milk. Woah!)
5 large egg yolks
scant 1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup heavy cream

For the Ice Cream Sandwiches

9 whole graham crackers

9 oz chopped chocolate (I used dark, but you can use whatever you like)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Begin by arranging the marshmallows in a single layer on a lined baking sheet.  If you have one, use a kitchen torch to toast both sides of the marshmallow. If you don't have a kitchen torch (like me), you can also toast the marshmallows under your broiler.  Just be sure to keep an eye on them so that they don't scorch too much. Disclaimer: toasting marshmallows this way is a messy job.  It'll be worth it, trust me.  Once they're toasted, set the marshmallows aside.  Some of my marshmallows got a little tooo toasty, but if this happens to you, it's alright; simply scrape off the bits that are a little too dark. 

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine the vanilla extract and milk, and bring to a simmer. While the milk is being heated, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt.  Whisk together until the egg yolks become a very pale yellow and smooth. Once the milk has simmered, slowly add the warmed milk mixture to the egg yolks in a slow, gradual stream, making sure to whisk the eggs constantly. Once all the milk has been added, return the milk-yolk mixture to the saucepan, and set over medium-low heat.  Stir the mixture constantly with a wooden spoon until it has thickened considerably, and can coat the back of the wooden spoon. Remove the custard from the heat, and strain it into a heatproof bowl. Set the mixture aside to cool for a few minutes.  

Add the toasted marshmallows to a blender (again, this is messy, but SO WORTH IT).  Add the slightly cooled custard to the blender and blend together with the marshmallows (be careful when doing this, as your blender will be almost entirely full!) until they have broken down and the custard is completely smooth. Add the heavy cream, and blend to combine.  

Transfer the custard to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a few hours until it is thoroughly chilled.  When you're ready to churn the ice cream, vigourously whisk the custard until it's smooth (it'll look a bit spongy when you take it out of the fridge, but that's alright).  Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.  

While the ice cream is churning, prepare the baking tin for the ice cream sandwiches.  Line an 8x8-inch square baking pan with plastic wrap, leaving a good amount of overhang on each side.  Break the graham cracker cookies in half, and arrange 9 of the squares on the bottom of the baking pan, reserving the rest for later.  Once the ice cream has finished churning, Pour it into the prepared baking pan over the graham crackers, and smooth with an offset spatula.  I didn't think it was necessary to use up all the ice cream for the ice cream sandwiches, I just added enough ice cream so that I had a thick layer of ice cream in the baking pan, and then froze the remaining ice cream in a freezer-safe container.  

Once the ice cream is smooth, arrange the remaining graham cracker squares on top of the ice cream. Cover the ice cream cake with the plastic wrap, and then place in your freezer to set, at least four hours, or preferably overnight.

Once the ice cream cake has been frozen, remove it from the baking pan and take off the plastic wrap.  With a sharp, warm knife, cut the ice cream cake along the graham cracker edges to make a total of 9 ice cream sandwiches.  Place the sandwiches on a wax paper-lined tray, and return to the freezer to firm them up a bit.

While the cut sandwiches are in the freezer, melt the chopped chocolate in a microwave safe bowl or in a double boiler.  Stir in the vegetable oil to give the chocolate a slightly thinner consistency.  Dip the ice cream sandwiches halfway into the chocolate, and set them back on the wax paper-lined tray.  Return to the freezer for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to set.  To store the ice cream sandwiches, wrap them individually in plastic wrap, and then store in a freezer safe container.  Enjoy!

Makes 9 ice cream sandwiches


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