I was getting all excited for fall, and then, BAM! Someone cranked the heat back up. So I turned wistfully from butternut squash back to, well, ice cream. Here's one more ice cream treat for the end of summer — but its flavors will transition you right into fall.
I love the flavor of fresh ginger, but I've always been disappointed by ginger in ice cream. It seems as if they are usually flavored with powdered ginger, and this doesn't give me that spicy bite I'm looking for. I wanted a true fresh ginger ice cream, and it turned out that it isn't that difficult. I simply steeped a cup of fresh ginger slices in the ice cream base overnight, and it transferred that delicately spicy, fragrant taste of ginger.
It goes beautifully in cookie sandwiches; I made some chewy oatmeal cookies with raisins and a fistful of walnuts, and all the flavors marry wonderfully. For an oatmeal cookie, try this oatmeal cookie recipe from Sara, or even these (sometimes) gluten-free peanut butter oatmeal cookies. I actually used the oatmeal cookie recipe from the Whoopie Pie cookbook I reviewed recently; I have found myself using a lot of the cookie recipes in there. Since they are chewy and designed for cookie sandwiches to begin with, they are all very reliable for other types of sandwiches.
One last note: If you try these, remember the tip from this post on perfect ice cream sandwiches: Make the sandwiches while the cookie is warm and the ice cream is extra-cold!
Ginger Ice Cream
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unpeeled and sliced fresh ginger
In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. Mix thoroughly so the cornstarch doesn't clump up. In another large bowl, whip the cream cheese until smooth.
In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk with the heavy cream, sugar and honeyp. Bring the milk mixture to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Stir to make sure all the sugar dissolves. Keep a close eye on it; you may need to pull the mixture half off the burner so it doesn't boil over.
Take the milk mixture off the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute — no more. Turn off the heat.
Whisk a ladle of hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Pour it back into the pot and whisk. Whisk in the salt. Place the chopped fres ginger in a container and pour the mix over them. Chill completely for at least 12 hours — overnight, ideally.
After the mix is thoroughly chilled, remove the ginger with a slotted spoon and freeze the mix it in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions. Scrape out the ice cream into a freezer-safe container. Place plastic wrap over it so the surface is covered completely and not exposed to air. Freeze for 2 to 4 hours, or overnight, before serving.
Ginger Ice Cream Oatmeal Cookie Sandwiches
1 pint ginger ice cream (1/2 batch)
1 batch oatmeal cookies (4 dozen 2-inch cookies)
Bake the cookies. Remove to a cooling rack and let cook for 15 minutes or until relatively firm and cool enough to be handled. Use a teaspoon to scrape out a flat slice of ice cream and sandwich between two warm cookies, pressing down to seal the ice cream and cookies together. Repeat. Serve the sandwiches immediately or freeze them, well-wrapped, for up to a week.
(Images: Faith Durand)