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Carrot cherry ice cream sandwiches

Tomorrow is the first summer BBQ hosted by dear friends with whom I spend most holidays and share big life (and little too for that matter) events and adventures. I affectionately call these folks ‘the Donner Party’ as they live on Donner Way here in Sacramento. However, you’d better believe I giggle happily every time I do. I’m fascinated with the Donner Party saga.

So, what to make for the summer kick off? I pondered this all day and avoided going grocery shopping until I had a solid plan. Around 9.30 pm, inspiration struck— carrot cake cookies + vanilla ice cream = ice cream sandwiches. Awesome.  I pulled up a few recipes online and finally chose the best one to tweak would be Martha Stewart’s Carrot Cake Sandwiches. The biggest difference of course, I used Dreyer’s Slow Churn (1/2 calorie) Vanilla ice cream in lieu of a cream cheese frosting. More on making the sandwiches later. I’ve included the original recipe with my alterations in parentheses.

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Soft, chewy, and not overly sweet

Makes approximately 28 sandwiches (or 54 cookies)

  •  1 cup packed light-brown sugar (homemade, not store-bought)
  •  1 cup granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
  •  1/2 pound  unsalted butter, room temperature
  •  2 large eggs, room temperature
  •  1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (reduced to 3/4 tsp vanilla)
  •  2 cups all-purpose flour (1 3/4 c.)
  •  1 teaspoon baking soda
  •  1 teaspoon baking powder
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (reduced to 1/2 tsp and ground my own)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (ground my own)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  •  2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  •  1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots
  •  1 cup raisins (1 c. chopped dried bing cherries)

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    The cherries add sweetness and why I reduced the overall sugar amount for the recipe

In addition, I added:

  • 1/2 c. sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 tsp mace (spice)
  • rind from one lemon
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract

Directions:

1. Beat butter and sugars in mixer until fluffy. Add in the extracts and rind from lemon. In separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices together. Once the butter/sugar mixture is light and fluffy, add these dry ingredients to the mixer. Beat for a minute, then use spatula to scrap down sides. Add the coconut, then the oats, and finally the chopped dried bing cherries. Place dough into fridge for at least an hour, covered. Leaving it overnight is fine too.

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Not the prettiest; somwhere between a cake and cookie batter.

2. Once dough is well-chilled, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper or slip mats. Do NOT grease sheets in lieu of parchment or slip mats. Using a Tablespoon scoop or measuring spoon, place dough onto the prepared pans and leave approximately 2 inches between each dough ball. Bake in oven for 10 – minutes, rotating mid-bake. If you want crisper cookies (I wanted chewy and soft, not hard), leave in for approximately 15 minutes (as per Martha’s recipe). Once baked, allow the cookies to cool completely before constructing the ice cream sandwiches. You can make cookies and in a sealed container at room temperature for a few days.

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An assembly line is the way to go

3. Remove ice cream from the freezer and let it soften up for a few minutes. Place the ice cream down on Saran Wrap or Press n Seal (or such) and roll ice cream into a log shape, slightly smaller in diameter than a finished cookie. Wrap well and place back into the freezer for a few hours. When you’re ready to construct the sandwiches,  slice the ice cream to approximately 1/4″ discs. I let the ice cream soften a bit more once it was placed on the cookie, then pressed the two cookies together, leveling/evening out the ice cream. I placed the sandwiches in ziplock bags and placed them into the freezer to firm up for about an hour.

Off to the BBQ — I’ll let you know what folks thought!

20130525_132526While I don’t often mention my cat on this blog (the dogs get most of the mentions), she’s doing well, though getting older. She is nearly 16. She got to lick the ice cream container lid, proving the pups don’t get ALL the treats around here!

In other news, the kitchen remodel is 90% done. I need to put up some light switches and hang some art. Then, I’ll call it done. I could have been finished three weeks ago, but broke out in full body hives. Those are clearing up now and I’m onto breaking glass like it grows on trees. The art would have been hung already if I’d not broken the glass to one frame once and another frame TWICE. I know, I’m a rock star. Blerg.

20130525_004029I thought I’d give a remodel teaser by showing off the new fridge. It’s footprint is 24″ x 24″ and 67″ tall. Overall, 10 cubic feet with freezer on the bottom. A few cool features is the ‘quick freeze’ button. When pressed, it can freeze water into ice cubes (in trays, no internal maker) in less than 20 minutes. Now, that’s pretty awesome. Aside from the ice cube drawer, it has three other sizeable drawers, and I can fit much more it this freezer than the one in my old fridge. The fridge compartment seemed very small at first and it’s taken a few weeks to get used to it. However, it suits my shopping habits (once or twice a week) and as you can see, holds a good deal. I have a 18 cubic foot fridge and small chest freezer in the garage, so I use those for back up if needed.

I love the small footprint and the low annual cost to run it (under 60 dollars). Cost ($950.00) was approximately 1/5th  of my overall kitchen budget, but to me, well worth it. The kitchen seems much larger now that it is in place. Stay tuned…

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