Slowly, and then Suddenly

Does every winter seem so interminable, piling snow in, month after month?  Endlessly whipping us with frozen winds, and laying out booby traps of black ice beneath us?  Relentlessly frosting over windows and preventing a better look at the barren world outside?  I can’t quite remember, but I do know that without fail, one morning, I will wake up and it will suddenly be summer.  No spring, no brisk but refreshing breezes, no wind-breaker or light coat weather.  Out of no where, grass and leaves have returned, green flooding the yard, the neighborhood, and all spaces in between.  Heat and humidity that slaps you upside the head the moment you open the front door.   It’s quite a shock to the system.

There are in fact, probably four posts almost precisely like this one, landing every year at the time that I realize, Would you look at that, we made it through the winter.  Perhaps I’m just that simple, but it never fails to amaze.  True, it is only May, but it feels downright summery.  Clearly, I’m fighting a losing battle against time here, and lost quite a few months already, but that’s okay; I’ll take one order of warm summer sunshine, hold the mosquitoes, thank you very much.  All we can do is keep moving forward, right?

And so in typical fashion, the ice cream maker has been churning at full-tilt once again.  The only thing better than a refreshing day outside is returning home to a frozen treat, if you ask me.  I was all set to just make a simple, no frills ice cream was when I stumbled upon this post by Tartlette, and just as suddenly as the season had hit, I knew that I needed something more.  I just couldn’t scroll past those luscious slabs of pale ice cream contained by thin chocolate cookies.

Seeking something a touch lighter than chocolate, however, the first thing to go was the cocoa. Modeling my cookies more after graham crackers, but inserting fragrant black tea into the mix, these were much more than just ice cream conveyance devices. Crisp, buttery, aromatic; They were actually good enough to eat alone. And that ice cream. Oh, the ice cream. Whereas I’m sure that many people would write it off for being too plain, the delicate nuances of vanilla bean and honey flavor are so clean and pure, they simply come alive. Everything works in perfect harmony. It may not be exciting enough for some, but this is one treat that I made with myself in mind, and I’m pretty sure my target customer was quite pleased.

Vanilla Bean “Honey” Ice Cream

3 Cups Unsweetened MimicCream
2 Tablespoons Arrowroot
1/2 Cup Honey-Flavored Agave Nectar
1 Whole Vanilla Bean, Split and Seeds Scraped

In a medium saucepan, vigorously whisk together the MimicCreme and arrowroot so that there are no lumps of starch remaining. Set the pan over moderate heat, and add in the agave and vanilla bean seeds. Whisk occasionally, until it just comes to a boil, and the liquid has thickened significantly. Turn off the heat, and let cool. Chill for at least 3 hours, and then churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Move the freshly churned and still soft ice cream into a 9 x 9 inch square baking pan, smooth it down into as even a layer as possible, and stash in the freezer until frozen solid; at least 6 hours.

Black Tea Graham Crackers

1 1/4 Cups White Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup Graham Flour
1 1/4 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
6 Bags Black Tea, Opened and Leaves Removed
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Cup Margarine
2 Tablespoons Honey-Flavored Agave Nectar
2 Tablespoons Plain Soymilk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.

Place both flours, sugar, salt, tea leaves, and baking powder in your food processor, and pulse briefly to combine. Cut the margarine into chunks, and add it as well, pulsing to incorporate, as if you were making a pie crust. Once you achieve small, pea-sized pebbles and a coarse texture in general, add in the agave, soymilk, and vanilla, and pulse just until the dough comes together into one cohesive mass. Divide it into two equal pieces.

Take one piece and lay it out on one of your silpats. Place another silpat or piece of parchment paper on top, to prevent the dough from sticking to your rolling pin, and roll it out to about 1/8th – 16th of an inch in thickness. If it’s really sticky and difficult to work with, just stick it in the fridge for 15 – 20 minutes.

Remove the top silpat or parchment, and bake for about 15 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Quickly cut out whatever shapes you desire while still hot, and then let the cookies cool before removing the excess. Repeat with the remaining half of dough.

To assemble your sandwiches, use the same cookie cutter, or the same shape in one size smaller, and cut out slabs of ice cream. Sandwich them between two cookies, and eat immediately, or return them to the freezer for later consumption. Personally, I actually like them better after they’ve been sitting for a couple days and the cookies have had a chance to soften to meld to the ice cream more.

Yield Varies Depending on Cookie Cutters

Printable Recipe