For the week: Homemade frozen sandwiches perfect for the holiday weekend

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Explore Minnesota recently posted a list of 43 ice cream shops to visit in Minnesota and I have to admit that this list made me feel incredibly disappointed in myself.

Of the 43 ice cream spots they picked in this great state, I was only in seven of them. And of those seven, only two of them are outside of the metro area. Looks like a road trip is on my horizon.

How many ice cream restaurants on Explore Minnesota’s list have you visited?

The timing for this list seemed very fortuitous. When I first saw it, I was in my kitchen preparing a cooking demonstration on Jason’s Show. Make everything from homemade ice cream sandwiches.

Ice cream sandwiches are one of my favorite treats. And I’m not just talking about fantasies. I’m talking about the old-fashioned Kempswiches that you can find in any gas station chest freezer. But no one makes them gluten-free, at least to my knowledge.

So I decided to make an ice cream sandwich that I could really enjoy. I made a batch of my monster cookies (flattening the dough to give me the perfect flat surface to hold a spoonful of ice cream), then went to one of my favorite local ice cream parlors to pick out the right things.

This is where Explore Minnesota’s ice cream store list can come in handy if you want to make your own homemade ice cream sandwiches this summer.

Using artisanal ice cream in small batches makes a huge difference when trying to make a nice round hockey ice cream slice for your sandwich. It is made locally and sold locally. It doesn’t have any of the extras that many store-bought ice creams need to include in order for them to maintain their shelf life.

Your local ice cream parlor that produces unique flavors every week? They make it to sell and it rarely stays in the freezer for long, which means it’s not rock hard and actually has some flexibility.

I noticed a big difference when I started working with a few pints of Honey & Mackie’s in Plymouth while preparing for my TV segment. Everything about the ice cream smelled, looked and tasted different compared to big brand products. Even the way he melted was different. It didn’t turn into a sticky puddle, more like a fluff cloud of ice cream.

Amy Albert, one of the owners of Honey & Mackie’s, told me, “We maintain a high ratio of fat in cream to skim milk. This allows us to maintain fantastic flavor and density without having any fillers or additives.

Oh yes. The words I was looking for. Fillers and additives. Food science is tricky business and to keep grocery shelves well stocked we need to use this science to extend the shelf life of certain items. Ice cream falls into this category. And I don’t hate big brand products. Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Chunk Fudge is one of my all-time favorites. But I will always try to support local businesses especially restaurants and catering brands after the year they have had.

One thing you won’t find in Honey & Mackie ice cream is eggs. According to Albert, many ice cream parlors use eggs as an inexpensive way to achieve a creamy texture.

They choose to go the more expensive and time consuming route by using local produce as much as possible and skipping the quick fixes to get their ice cream to consumers faster (their ice cream should take 24 hours at -20 ℉).

There really is no magic recipe for making ice cream sandwiches at home. You take two cookies, crush ice cream between them and enjoy. It is that simple. But if you want to take it to the next level, bake your own cookies and support one of Minnesota’s many great local ice cream shops that collect the good stuff.

Tips for homemade ice cream sandwiches

  • Be sure to opt for a cookie that is a little softer or chewier than crisp, especially if you plan to make them ahead and store them in the freezer. Monster cookies are a great option due to the oatmeal – the texture works well when served cold.
  • You can certainly prepare them in advance. My advice? Place each sandwich on a small piece of parchment paper, then wrap it in foil. Be sure to give them 5-10 minutes to “wake up” outside the freezer before serving.
  • If you bake your own cookies, be sure to let them cool properly before trying to add ice cream to the mixture. This is going to make a mess.

I owe you tips for the barbecue. A few of you have emailed me with your own backyard barbecue tips. I’m putting the finishing touches on my guide to summer barbecue grills, so if you have anything I absolutely need to know, email me directly at [email protected] or connect with me on Twitter or Instagram @lindsayguentzel.


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