Roasted Strawberry and Balsamic Vinegar Ice Cream Sandwiches

Whoever thought of making ice cream into a hand-held treat surrounded by two delicious cookies is a straight up genius. It's tough to take something already so awesome like ice cream and make it even more awesome. But ice cream sandwiches are proof that it can be done.

Strawberries and balsamic vinegar are a classic combo. The sweetness from the strawberries and the tartness from the vinegar, plus a bit of roasting to enhance the flavours of both, and you've got a winner, winner, chicken dinner (with ice cream for dessert). Just the roasted strawberries and vinegar are perfect as they are. If you either a.) don't have an ice cream machine or b.) are simply too lazy to make ice cream, I'd suggest spooning the strawberries and balsamic-y syrup overtop store-bought ice cream to amp it up a little. Or on top of yogurt, in smoothies, on oatmeal, on toast, whatever you want. You do you.

I used my favourite cookie recipe for the "bread" of the sandwich, but feel free to use whatever cookie is your favourite! Just make sure it will hold up when you're eating it - shortbread might be a bad idea. No one wants an ice cream sandwich falling apart in their hands. It's a messy business.

Roasted Strawberry and Balsamic Vinegar Ice Cream Sandwiches

Roasted Strawberry and Balsamic Vinegar Ice Cream
Recipe adapted from Frozen Desserts

250 g strawberries
50 g granulated sugar
75 g balsamic vinegar

570 g whole milk
80 g heavy cream
180 g granulated sugar
70 g egg yolks

Chocolate Chip Cookies

220 g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
125 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125 g granulated sugar
105 g firmly packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
185 g chopped dark chocolate

For the ice cream, preheat the oven to 400 F.

Start by slicing the strawberries into 1/2 inch thick slices and placing them in a medium mixing bowl. Sprinkle the sugar and balsamic vinegar over and toss to combine. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment and roast until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Transfer the strawberries and all the juices into a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Strain the purée through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the seeds. You should have around 100 g of strawberry purée. If you have more, reserve it and use it on top of ice cream/yogurt/in smoothies. 

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine the milk and cream. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until slightly paler in colour.

When the milk mixture has come to a boil, slowly pour a small amount into the yolk mixture, whisking continuously. Continue tempering the yolks with the milk mixture, then transfer all of back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring continuously with a rubber spatula, until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon and a thermometer reads 82 C. 

Remove from heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl set over an ice bath. Cool the mixture down to room temperature, then whisk in the strawberry purée. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate overnight.

Churn the ice cream according to the manufacturers instructions, then transfer to a pre-chilled container such as a loaf pan. Freeze for 1 to 2 hours until the ice cream has hardened.

For the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 F. Have ready 2 ungreased baking sheet. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper, set aside.

Using an electric mixer on high speed, cream the butter until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the granulated and light brown sugars and continue beating. Add the egg and the vanilla and mix on low speed until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and mix for another few seconds.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until just blended. Add the chopped chocolate and stir in.

Using damp hands, shape the dough into 35-40 g balls (this is the ideal weight, I find. Make them bigger or smaller if you want, though). Do not flatten the balls. Place them about 2 inches apart on your ungreased baking sheets and bake for 12 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden brown. Let the cookies cool on the sheet briefly and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Freeze the cookies for 30 minutes before assembling the ice cream sandwiches.

To assemble the ice cream sandwiches, place a scoop of ice cream on the bottom side of a cookie, then gently press a second cookie on top until the ice cream almost reaches the edges. Place in the freezer immediately. Repeat with the remaining cookies and ice cream.