In the house where I grew up in a Chicago suburb that was situated so far south that its streets ended exactly where the tall, green and golden midwestern cornfields began, the best treasures were often in the big freezer out in the utility room. Last summer’s fish from vacations in Minnesota or Wisconsin (cleaned by yours truly), stored in tubs of water, were frozen forever just as they were…or at least until the next weekend’s fish fry. Small cartons of peaches –the ones that came in after the canning was done–might be on the door for mid-winter dessert or for topping the homemade ice cream we all took turns cranking early the following summer. The thing you really had to search for, though, as they were well-hidden from my Dad, me, and all the grandkids (you know who you are), were ice cream sandwiches made from Mom’s leftover waffles. Now I don’t know how there were ever leftover waffles, but there were. And somehow my mom managed to press vanilla ice cream between a couple of them, wrap them tightly, and hide them well until they were badly needed. You get it, right? When your whole adolescent world was falling apart or the Chicago weather had turned frightening…
“How about an ice cream sandwich?”asked my mom.
Over the years, I rarely thought about those ice cream sandwiches, but they did pop up in memory once in a while. I might even have made them for my own kids, though I wouldn’t swear to it.
Somehow, this summer, this very cool and rainy summer…
…those sweet treats kept coming home to roost in my cooking psyche..
except I didn’t think about Mom’s simple waffles and tasty, but B-flat vanilla… Instead, I dreamed of cinnamon-laced blueberry waffles with strawberry (or chocolate) ice cream…and oh-so-sweet sauces for dipping:
Before I knew it, I was baking up a slew of blueberry waffles… (And yes, even though waffles are made in a waffle iron, they are “baked.”)
..and stuffing them with ice cream.
To say I was pleased with the end result would be an understatement. I was nigh onto delirious, though being on Weight Watchers for boo-koo months might have had something to do with that, I’ll admit. Well, I’ll tell you that I dipped my ice cream sandwich into BOTH strawberry and chocolate sauces because … well, I know you know how incredible strawberry and chocolate are together.
Need gluten-free or low carb waffles? Try Birch Benders—a Paleo Pancake Mix. I’ve not used them for the sandwich recipe, but have made them for my family as my granddaughter Piper follows a gluten-free diet. With a little research, I found out they’re tastier with the addition of an egg and the use of coconut milk. We all enjoyed them.
Want to use a mix? Why not? Read here.
You might love Belgian waffles–I do, too!– and think about using those. You could, but I’d go with old-school really crisp and thinner waffles for an ice cream sandwich.
AN INVENTIVE BAKER MIGHT.…make a pecan sauce instead of a strawberry or fill plain waffles with coffee ice cream and dip the edges in tiny chocolate chips….or______________ _______________ ______________. You fill in the blanks.
Maybe it was closer to the fact that ice cream simply tastes better come summertime and today was a tish warmer than the days just past. Could be it was because it’s nearly the 4th of July, when all good summer things must come to pass, mustn’t they? If you have kiddos (or folks who feel like kiddoes) around, they could make these freezing goodies with lots of smiles on their faces. Whatever’s coming to pass at your house, I hope you try this.
blueberry waffle ice cream sandwiches with strawberry and chocolate sauces
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk or 2 cups milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup salted butter melted and cooled
- 2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon EACH: kosher salt and ground cinnamon
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- 4 cups (1 quart) ice cream, softened—strawberry, vanilla, or chocolate (or a combination
- Strawberry (below) and chocolate sauces for dipping
MAKE AND COOL WAFFLES:
- Heat waffle iron. Beat the eggs using an electric mixer or by hand with a large whisk. Beat in buttermilk, vanilla extract, melted and cooled butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt and ground cinnamon.
- Pour about ½ cup batter onto center of the hot, greased waffle iron. Sprinkle 10-12 blueberries evenly over the batter (about 2 tablespoons or 1/8 cup). Close waffle iron and bake until quite brown and crispy—about 6 minutes (Follow your waffle iron instructions.) Remove to rack and let cool completely.
FILL, FREEZE, AND SERVE ICE CREAM SANDWICHES:
- Place a tray or large freezer-proof dish in the freezer to hold the sandwiches as you make them.
- Trim waffles to create an even edge using kitchen scissors or a small, sharp knife. Cut the waffles into fourths along the dividing lines. Add ¼ cup or two very small scoops softened ice cream onto the triangle or square -–depending on the shape your waffle iron produces – and press with the scoop or a spoon to spread the ice cream evenly. Add another triangle or square on top, press down gently, and using a small offset spatula or butter knife, smooth the ice cream along the edges between the two pieces of waffle.
- Wrap each ice cream sandwich in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer on the tray as soon as it’s made. Continue until all sandwiches are completed. Freeze four hours or overnight.
- Serve sandwiches on small plates, spooning a tablespoon or two of each sauce onto the plate or onto the sandwich, as desired.
- 1 quart (about a pound/16 ounces) strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
- Juice of a medium orange (close to ¼ cup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup EACH water and granulated sugar
MAKING CHOCOLATE SAUCE? Try David Lebovitz’ THE BEST CHOCOLATE SAUCE.
THE WEEK’S FAVORITE QUOTE
Cooking is love. Keep cooking with your family and friends. Cooking creates bonds and affection. More importantly, sit around the table with family, friends and strangers sharing food and wine. The table is the great equalizer. Conversations generated around the table have stopped wars, created friendships, exposed talent and extended love. So keep sharing and keep talking. -JPJacques Pépin (on fb)
Listen to some marches for the 4th? Try Arthur Fiedler’s Boston Pops album, an oldie, but goodie.
Make ice cream sandwiches and stay cool,