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

42 thoughts on “Slowly, and then Suddenly

  1. Oh, heavenly! I adore the strength of tea in sweet concoctions, so thsi sounds wonderful!

    Although your ode to the end of winter is upsetting, seeing as I’m entering winter AGAIN at the moment after only having had one summer in the past three years… sigh! Time to crank up the heater and eat ice cream regardless! :D

  2. Those are just adorable. I would love to bite one of them for sure ! Unfortunately, I don’t have any ice cream maker at home. This must be so creamy and delicious. And I can feel the Graham Cracker’s taste on my tong… Fair enough ! I definitely have to buy an ice cream maker !

  3. This looks stunning, as usual!! We’re having a couple of really cold days. I can’t wait for the sun to return so I can use the ice cream maker again.

  4. This is beyond creative! I love, love the idea of tea in the cookies! And “honey” ice cream? MMMM. As we all know, tea with honey is a perfect combination! :)

  5. Your icecream never ceases to amaze me… It looks so gorgeous and delicious and makes me want to have icecream right away!

  6. Is it sunny where you are? LUCKY! On this side all we have is rain, cloudy skies, and 1000000 mile per hour winds. Oh, yeah, and did I mention the hail? Although today is looking a bit sunny- but I won’t jinx it! I can’t wait till I can break out some ice cream and not turn blue at the lips! Yours look delish!

  7. I am finally feeling like winter won’t last until August as well and so ice cream is definitely in the mix for my future! These cookies are a fantastic concoction. I love how you went with more vanilla-y flavors..and that tea infusion is genius!

  8. Those Ice Cream sandwiches look great. I like the twist you put in the cookies. Very nice. Enjoy the sunshine it is great to be alive.

  9. oh my heavens. that looks dreeeeamy. i *love* ice cream – that recipes sounds perfectly rich and delightful. what an awesome combination with those cookies!

  10. I love the flavor combinations that you think up, Hannah! This one seems subtle and sophisticated. I had not heard of honey-flavored agave nectar!

  11. The black tea graham crackers look fantastic! I still need to invest in an ice cream maker, but mmm as soon as I do I can’t wait to join the bandwagon :)

  12. Spring has been good to us for the past few days, but now there’s thunderstorms in the forecast… wish the seasons would make up their minds sometimes!

    Nice bundles of joy you have there!

  13. I realized winter turned right into summer when it dawned on me that I went from parkas right into tank tops. But, being a summer lover, I am not going to complain one bit!

    I guess it’s time to break out the ice cream maker over here too! My husband would probably be in the camp that thinks vanilla bean honey ice cream is too plain but not me. I absolutely adore flavors that are subtle and clean. I’ll make this for myself and mix in some cookie dough chunks for him. :)

  14. Ooooh,…Aaaaaah,…ooooooh: that sandwiched ice cream loooks quite fabulous & so tasty too!

    MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM,…all the way!! Georgous pictures too!

  15. I have SO been craving an ice cream sandwich lately!!! These look wonderful, gorgeous as always! I love the idea of the black tea graham crackers, that sounds like a great idea to add a bit of an unexpected flavor.

  16. Yum! Black tea anything is my favorite!

    I know what you mean about spring. We went away for a week, and when we came home, our trees had gone from having no leaves to being covered in full-blown leaves, and our grass was a foot tall. The weather must have been warm in Maine while we were gone, it’s like a jungle here!

  17. These look amazing! And thanks for posting about the agave honey product! I’m thrilled to hear about this. I had heard of Suzanne’s Just Like Honey product but it’s hard to find so it’s so nice that this product can be ordered on Amazon!

  18. It is way past time for the ice cream maker to be out! I think this is a great recipe to replace the HFCS popcicles with! I can make up a batch (or several) of sandwiches and presto…one for everyone whenever you like!:)

    We are swimming daily and it never fails for the call for ice cream after a big swim. Now, I have a better replacement for the traditional stuff, I do not buy. Thanks for the idea and recipe!

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