Almond dream ice cream sandwich with a hint of saffron

An almond and saffron ice cream sandwich recipe worth the time.

Ice cream sandwiches are always a go-to snack or dessert and this recipe adds some spice and nuts to double up of the tastiness.

Saffron and Almond ice cream sandwiches

Ingredients

For the chocolate cookies:
200g flour + extra for dusting
55g cocoa
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
100g unsalted butter, room temperature
160g light brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup full cream milk

For the coating:
100g whole raw almonds (skin on)

For the ice cream:
4 large egg yolks
100g castor sugar
320ml full cream milk
300ml double cream
½ vanilla pod
¼ tsp saffron threads

How to
For the cookies: Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

Place the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a freestanding mixer, (or use a beater). Beat together for 3 minutes until pale and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and mix to incorporate.

Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix to incorporate, then add half of the milk. Beat in another third of the flour mixture followed by the remaining milk. Add the last of the flour and mix until everything comes together. Tip the contents of the bowl onto your work surface. Knead the mixture together into a soft dough.

Dust your work surface with a little flour. Roll the dough out to a thickness of 3mm. Cut out 8cm circles and arrange them on a lined baking tray. Use baking paper in between the layers to prevent the circles from sticking together. Pop the tray in the freezer for 15 minutes.

While the biscuits are freezing preheat your oven to 200ºC. Arrange the biscuits on the lined tray and bake for 6-8 minutes. They should be firm on the outside but slightly soft in the centre. Leave the cookies to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Reduce the oven temperature to 180ºC. Spread the raw almonds out on a tray, then bake for 8 minutes. Allow the nuts to cool, then pop them in a food processor and blitz into small pieces (about ½ cm). Store the cooled cookies and ground nuts in airtight containers until ready to use.

For the ice cream: Whisk the yolks and sugar together for a minute, then set aside. Place the milk and double cream in a pot. Cut the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds. Add these to the pot with the saffron threads.

Heat the milk mixture for a few minutes until bubbles appear. Slowly pour half of the hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking continuously. Then add this mixture back into the pot. Stir continuously over a low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the custard coats the back of a spoon.

Transfer the custard to a clean bowl, remove the vanilla pod and allow to cool completely, either in the fridge or an ice bath. Use an ice cream maker to churn the custard until thick waves appear.

Place a baking tray in the freezer, you will pop your ice cream sandwiches on this as you assemble them. Place a heaped tablespoon of ice cream on a cookie. Place another cookie on top and gently squeeze the biscuits together to spread the ice cream out evenly. Use the back of a teaspoon to remove excess ice cream, give a final gentle squeeze then pop the ice cream sandwich on the tray. Repeat with remaining cookies and ice cream. Freeze for at least 6 hours.

At serving time allow the ice cream sandwiches to sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften the edges. Roll the edges of the cookies in the ground almonds, then serve.

Cook’s tips:
If you don’t have an ice cream maker you can churn the ice cream yourself. Simply pop the custard in the freezer and stir every few hours until completely frozen.

The weather was particularly hot when I made these. I found it helped to pop the ice cream AND the baked cookies in the freezer for a few hours before assembling them.
Be sure to pop each ice cream sandwich in the freezer as soon as you have assembled it.

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