With summer coming, I have been working on ice cream sandwiches. The format of the sandwich works well for the high volume Poppy, simple to plate, texturally interesting, nostalgic, and focused on a minimal amount of flavors; that of the cookie, the ice cream, and the dish of something or other to dip it in.
Currently, as per the relentless nagging request of one of the line cooks, Abby, I have vanilla ice cream sandwiched between gingersnaps, with lemon curd to dip it in.
However, one of my huge pet peeves in eating ice cream sandwiches, is that of the drippy soft ice cream that often inhabits the space between the cookie. I disdain the ice cream squirting out as I sink my teeth into the mixture, rushing to the back of my throat and covering my fingers.
So I set to the task of making an ice cream that would stay firm through the entire process of eating. This would require a hard ice cream, and one that has a slow melt down. The texture needed to endure the entire time it takes for the cook to pull it from the freezer, cut it and plate it, flag down a food runner, run the plate to the table, and then stand up to the 5 or 10 minutes it takes to eat the dessert.
I found my answer in cocoa butter. Because cocoa butter has a high melting point, around 90 degrees, it stays very firm at cold temperatures, and is slow to melt. Those who have made an ice cream or two will recognize that chocolate ice creams are always hardest to scoop. This is exactly the quality I wanted to present inside the sandwich. By using deodorized cocoa butter, Mycryo, I have been able to give this quality to ice creams without chocolate flavor.
I have been substituting 3 percent of the total fat, which is at a high 16 percent, for cocoa butter, which hardens the texture just the way I wanted. It also allows me to use a crisp cookie for the sandwich. Because the ice cream offers enough resistance to the pressure of your teeth, they are able to cut through a crisp gingersnap.
The flavor combos of possible ice cream sandwiches have been discussed highly in the kitchen, as the sun has made it’s first appearance in Seattle in what feels like 6 months. Any requests?