There are so many interconnected themes attached to what has become a day to celebrate caring in its many forms. School children exchange cards with their classmates. Couples celebrate together. Moms make Valentine’s Day treats for the whole family.
Behind this lightness is massacre; Victorian era etiquette and romance; Christian martyrdom; Roman Lupercalian fertility rites; Nimrod, the mighty fighter who tried to build the tower of Babel to defy God and whose name is now used to signify ineptness.
I am staying with the lightness for this post about homemade ice cream sandwiches.
You will need:
2 cups ice cream of your choice
fruit puree (optional)
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
1 cup + 6 Tbsp. flour
4 Tbsp. cocoa
1 tsp. orange peel
1 tsp. cardamom
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of pepper
pinch of soda
Things to decorate four cookies that become the top layers of the sandwiches. All optional.
icing in a variety of colours
sprinkles, reds, pinks, white or purple
nuts, roasted and chopped or sliced
This recipe is very much an example of “work is love in action”. Valentine’s treats are all about how we feel about the person(s) we are going to gift. Hold that focus as you prepare the kitchen space. Think about the things that have happened together that make your heart sing and you laugh; the reason you are making time to bake. Wash hands, put on your apron and hold your intention gently in your heart as you begin.
Start by choosing an ice cream flavour. I used vanilla to which I added some frozen blackberry puree from last summer. Fresh raspberry puree would work as well if keeping to the pinks and purple theme or choose another flavour entirely.
There are two ways to create the ice cream filling. If your brick of ice cream is the right shape, cut slices off the brick and using a large heart shaped cookie cutter cut out heart shapes pieces of ice cream. Return the hearts to the freezer for later use and either enjoy the left over bits or wrap it up and put away for future projects. The cookie recipe below makes 4 completed sandwiches so you will need four hearts of ice cream.
I chose to allow the vanilla ice cream to soften just until I could mix in the blackberry puree. It can be fully mixed or simply rippled. 1/2 ice cube of thawed puree per heart worked well. Fill the heart shaped cookie mold, smooth and cover with plastic wrap. Return to the freezer and freeze for at least one hour.
Once very cold, runs a knife around the inside of the mold and release the ice cream. For my taste the ice cream was too thick ( or my muht too small ) so using a piece of cotton thread, I wrapped it around the middle of the ice cream and pulled tight until the thread had cut through the ice cream and I had two narrower hearts, each a better depth. You can just see the thread, in the middle of being pulled in this picture.
Repeat the process with a second ice cream filled heart and that will give four heart shaped pieces of ice cream.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees for the cookies.
One of the challenges I have with homemade ice cream sandwiches made with cookies is that the cookies are crisp and tend to break. So instead of being able to bite through, you are dealing with everything falling apart. Honey in this cookie dough helps solve that problem as it keeps the cookie soft.
In a bowl mix the butter and honey together with a handmixer and add the dry ingredients, including spices. Spices are optional and please, modify spices to your preference. I wanted the cinnamon as that is recognised as a modern Valentine flavour and then a few things to “heat up” the cookie dough. Cinnamom, cardamom and pepper all have love spell/drawing in/wish granting influences from a variety of older traditions.
Once mixed, gather the dough together and roll out to just under 1/4 inch thick. There is enough dough to make eight large heart shaped cookies. I was playing so the picture shows seven hearts plus a round cookie. Transfer the cookies to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 12 minutes.
One baked, transfer to a cooling rack and wait until they are fully cooled before decorating four cookies to be used for the top of the sandwiches.
Choose any style of decoration you would like. I drizzled pink tinted white chocolate over one top that had small hearts cut out of it. The other sandwich in the picture below is topped with red sugar crystals over an edge of melted chocolate. If children are in the picture, let them get creative. Icing can be used to write a message and sprinkles can end up everywhere. Fun time together is more important than an assessment of pretty.
There is a fertility tradition of drawing lots connected to Lupercalia and a slightly less sexual version to 14th century French and English courts. How about an even lighter variation where each person draws the name of a family member to decorate their cookie top for?
Store in an air tight container until assembly time.
The best way to serve these sandwiches is to have all the components ready and assemble just before serving. If they are been assembled and frozen as one piece, the cookie will take longer to defrost than the ice cream has before it melts. Afterschool snack or dessert, a fun and tasty way to say “I heart you”.
Valentine Ice Cream Sandwiches from My Kitchen Wands