Thursday, January 27, 2022

Banana Split Ice Cream Cake

This is a sponsored post by Hudsonville Ice Cream, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

Banana split ice cream sundaes are truly an iconic American dessert. My dad told me he always ordered a banana split at his hometown ice cream stand because it was the biggest sundae. So naturally, I did the same thing.

The only way to improve this classic dessert is to create a version that you can make ahead of time and serve to a crowd. That’s when I dreamt up this banana split ice cream cake.

For the first layer, I made an incredibly delicious and moist banana cake. Banana cake is not the same as banana bread even though they are both similar in flavor. Banana cake is lighter and fluffier.

I achieved this by experimenting with the leavening agents and the flour. I used cake flour in this recipe as opposed to all-purpose flour because cake flour has lower protein than all-purpose flour, so it produces less gluten. This results in a more tender structure.

Sometimes cake flour can be hard to find. I can only ever find it at Walmart stores in Indianapolis. But fortunately, it’s easy to make at home. Here is the formula: 1 cup cake flour = 105 grams all-purpose flour + 14 grams cornstarch.

After the cake cooled, I spread a thick layer of strawberry preserves on top. You can, of course, make your own strawberry sauce, but since the strawberries aren’t the star of the cake, I just used store-bought preserves.

The ice cream, on the other hand, is definitely the most important part of this cake. Every season, Hudsonville Ice Cream comes out with Limited Edition flavors, and each time I try them, I have a new favorite. That’s how I feel about Hudsonville’s Limited Edition Tuxedo Chocolate Cherry ice cream. It has layers of dark and white chocolate ice cream and a tart cherry swirl. My husband and I both said “Wow” out loud after taking our first bite.

Tuxedo Chocolate Cherry ice cream is the absolute perfect ice cream for this cake because it combines the chocolate and cherry flavors we all love and expect in a banana split sundae. I recommend softening the ice cream by moving it to the refrigerator about 20-30 minutes before spreading it on the cake. 

Crushed pineapple is the last layer. Once you spread it on top of the ice cream, stick the cake back in the freezer for at least two hours to firm up.

Before serving, I covered the entire cake in homemade whipped cream. If you have never made whipped cream, you’re really missing out. It’s incredibly easy, and it tastes significantly better than the store-bought stuff. 

I love how this cake turned out, and I really don’t think it could be any cuter! It would be so much fun for a special occasion!

Remember, Limited Edition Tuxedo Chocolate Cherry ice cream is only available for a short time, so definitely grab it while you can! You can use this Scoop Locator tool to find it at a store near you.

Banana Split Ice Cream Cake

Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients

For the banana cake

  • 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) cake flour
  • 3/4 cup (160 grams) brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (108 grams) canola oil
  • 2 (100 grams) large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 (250 grams) medium bananas

For the strawberry layer

  • 1 (15.5 ounce) jar strawberry preserves

For the ice cream layer

For the pineapple layer

  • 1 (20 ounce) container crushed pineapple, drained

For the whipped cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (57 grams) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Decorations

  • Sprinkles, maraschino cherries, crushed peanuts

Directions

For the banana cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prep 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Whisk cake flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.
  3. Add canola oil, eggs, and vanilla, and mix until just combined.
  4. Stir in bananas.
  5. Pour batter into springform pan and bake 25-30 minutes, or until internal temperature registers between 200 and 210 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Allow to cool.

For the strawberry layer

  1. Once cake cools, leave it in springform pan and spread strawberry preserves on top.

For the ice cream layer

  1. Spread Limited Edition Tuxedo Chocolate Cherry ice cream in even layer on top of strawberry preserves.

For the pineapple layer

  1. Drain crushed pineapple and spread in even layer over ice cream.
  2. Return cake to freezer for at least two hours.

For the whipped cream

  1. Combine heavy cream, sugar and vanilla in large bowl. Use hand mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment to whip the ingredients on medium-high speed until medium peaks form.
  2. Remove cake from freezer and use small spatula to cover entire cake in whipped cream.
  3. Top with sprinkles, crushed peanuts, and maraschino cherries.
  4. Return to freezer until ready to serve.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Peanut butter upside down cake


 

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible! 

Traditional upside down cake is made by creating a butter and brown sugar sauce in a cast iron skillet, laying pineapple rings and cherries in the sauce, and then pouring cake batter on top. When the cake cooks, the sauce caramelizes at the bottom. After it finishes cooking, the cake is flipped upside down so the caramelized fruit is on top and the sauce soaks into the rest of the cake. 

This peanut butter upside down cake is the same concept EXCEPT I used bananas instead of pineapple, and the base is a super moist peanut butter cake.

Anyone can make this recipe because it doesn’t require any special equipment—just 2 bowls for mixing and a cast iron skillet. 

It can be hard to tell if the cake is all the way baked through. I always use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the cake. It should be between 205 to 210 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don't own a thermometer, I highly recommend getting one! I use my thermometer all the time. 

When it comes time to inverting the cake, I recommend waiting about 15 - 20 minutes for it to cool before flipping it onto a cake stand or serving plate. You don't want to flip it right away because the cake will fall apart, but it's much easier to get it out of the skillet when it's still warm.

Peanut butter upside down cake

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (160 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup (176 grams) creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup (8 Tablespoons) Challenge unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) whole milk
  • 2 (100 grams) large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the topping

Directions

For the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Melt peanut butter and butter together in medium bowl. Add milk to bowl and stir until combined. 
  4. Whisk eggs in small bowl and mix into wet ingredients with vanilla extract.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into bowl with dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.

For the topping

  1. Melt butter in bottom of 10-inch cast iron skillet
  2. Stir in brown sugar
  3. Arrange banana slices in circular pattern in butter/brown sugar mixture.
  4. Pour cake batter into skillet and smooth top.
  5. Place in oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until internal cake temperature reaches 205 to 210 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Let cake cool for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a cake stand or serving plate.






Thursday, January 20, 2022

Chipotle brie mac and cheese en croute


This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible! 

Chipotle brie mac and cheese en croute

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups macaroni pasta
  • 4 (8-ounce) wheels brie
  • 4 Tablespoons Challenge unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (30 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) whole milk
  • 3 Tablespoons chipotle in adobo
  • 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup crispy jalapeño pieces (omit if you can’t find or substitute with crispy onion pieces)
  • 4 sheets puff pastry
  • Egg wash (1 egg + 1 Tablespoon water)
  • Hot honey, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Fill large pot with 2 quarts water and bring to boil.
  3. Add macaroni to pot and cook 6 minutes.
  4. Set colander in sink and pour noodles into colander.
  5. Run cold water over noodles until they are cool to touch. Set aside.
  6. Use paring knife to cut circle around inner rim of each brie cheese wheel, being careful not to pierce the bottom of the wheel.
  7. Use spoon to scoop out the brie and set aside in bowl. Set hollowed out brie rinds aside.
  8. Heat large pan to medium heat.
  9. Add butter to pan. Once melted, add flour. Use spatula to stir butter and flour until roux turns blond in color.
  10. Slowly whisk in cold milk.
  11. Whisk in chipotle in adobo, mustard, cayenne, black pepper, and salt.
  12. Whisk in brie that you set aside and sharp cheddar until melted.
  13. Add macaroni to sauce and remove from heat.
  14. Stir in jalapeño pieces.
  15. Roll out puff pastry and and place hollowed brie rinds in center of each sheet.
  16. Divide pasta between each brie rind.
  17. Take each corner of puff pastry and pull it over the pasta to the opposite side of the brie rind.
  18. Brush the puff pastry with egg wash.
  19. Place brie wheels onto a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown.
  20. Remove from oven. Drizzle with hot honey and sprinkle with additional jalapeño pieces before serving. 




Monday, December 20, 2021

Eggnog French Toast Casserole


This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible! 

Eggnog is the quintessential holiday drink. It’s thick and creamy with warm holiday spices—all things that pair really well with French toast! But no one wants to be stuck next to the stove making French toast all morning long while the rest of the family has fun opening presents.

The beauty of French toast casserole is that you can do all the prep work the night before and just pop it in the oven in the morning. So you get fluffy French toast full of delicious eggnog flavor without all the fuss.

The base of this recipe is homemade eggnog. You haven’t really had eggnog until you’ve had homemade eggnog. The store-bought drink tastes nothing like the real deal. In fact, I welcome you to make a double batch of the eggnog recipe below so you have a little to sip on! I included directions for how to make the eggnog if you're just using it for the casserole and how to make it if you plan to drink some as well because you have to heat the eggs if you plan to drink it.

My French toast bread of choice is brioche. It’s an enriched bread and is made with butter and sugar, so in my opinion, it really takes the recipe over the top. However, you could also use challah or French bread. I like to cube it and dry it out either overnight air in the oven at a low temperature just like I would with bread pudding and dressing because dry bread soaks up the eggnog better.

For an extra decadent touch, I sprinkle the top with a brown sugar/butter mixture. I only use Challenge unsalted butter because Challenge uses the freshest 100% real pasteurized sweet cream and salt. That’s it. Nothing artificial or synthetic.

At this point, you can either cover the entire casserole and bake it the following morning or you can bake it right away. It just depends on what works best for your schedule.

Before serving the French toast casserole, I like to dust each piece with a little powdered sugar and sprinkle candied cranberries on top for an extra festive pop of color!


Eggnog French Toast Casserole

Ingredients

For the eggnog

  • 7 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the French toast

  • 1 large loaf (16 ounces) brioche, challah or French bread, cubed and dried out overnight
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (110 grams) brown sugar
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) Challenge unsalted butter, melted
  • Optional: candied cranberries, powdered sugar for decorating

Directions 

For the eggnog 

If you're only planning to use it in the casserole

  1. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar. 
  2. Add heavy cream, whole milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, and salt.
If you want to drink it
  1. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar for about 1 minute, or until mixture is pale yellow.
  2. In a saucepan, combine heavy cream, whole milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.
  3. Cook over medium heat until it starts to steam and edges start to bubble.
  4. Temper the egg yolk/sugar mixture by slowly pouring 1 cup of the milk/cream mixture into the egg yolk/sugar mixture and whisking vigorously.
  5. Then pour all of the egg yolk/sugar mixture back into the saucepan while whisking.
  6. Cook over low heat while whisking for about 3 minutes, or until mixture starts to thicken.
  7. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and salt.
  8. Allow to cool for several hours before drinking.

For the French toast

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
  3. Place bread cubes in baking dish. Pour eggnog on top, making sure all of the bread cubes are saturated.
  4. Mix together flour, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and melted butter. Crumble topping over bread cubes.
  5. Bake French toast casserole for about 45 minutes, or until top is slightly browned, egg mixture is cooked, and internal temperature is 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
  7. Dust with powdered sugar or add candied cranberries on top if desired.





Festive Brown Butter Foccacia


This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible! 

I am very passionate about focaccia because I feel like it’s the most underrated bread. Not only is it incredibly delicious, it is also one of the easiest breads to make and customize. You all may remember how popular focaccia art became during the pandemic. Essentially, people used focaccia dough as a blank canvas to recreate famous paintings with herbs, vegetables, fruits, cheese, etc. I’m using the same concept to create a festive scene for the holidays!

People love decorating Christmas cookies because it’s fun and gets you in the holiday spirit, but there are so many sweets this time of year. So decorating focaccia in a festive manner fills the void without generating even more sugar-filled snacks. 

Regardless of whether you give it away or keep it for yourself, I think most everyone would be really excited to enjoy some homemade bread this holiday season!

But before you scroll to the recipe, please take some time to read this information in order to insure the success of your bread.

First, let’s talk yeast.

Everyone seems to always reach for active dry yeast at the grocery store, and I don’t understand it. I ONLY use instant yeast. Why? Because then you don’t have to worry about activating it or pre-dissolving it in water before mixing it with the rest of your ingredients. Also, it gets to work much more quickly than active dry yeast.

You can use active dry yeast interchangeably with instant yeast in this recipe, but you will need to proof it in water first (follow the directions on the package) and allow for it to take about 15 minutes longer to rise.

This article from King Arthur Baking does a good job at explaining yeast in case you have more questions. 

Now, let’s talk about water temperature.

Can you accurately define the degree for “tepid” or “lukewarm?” Me neither! It isn’t a precise temperature, and that’s why it is ludicrous to me how many online recipes call for “lukewarm” water. And if you aren’t careful and your water is too warm, you can kill the yeast.

In my yeast breads class in culinary school, we learned a formula for determining accurate water temperature. It’s called the desired dough temperature formula. Basically, the ideal dough temperature is between 76 degrees Fahrenheit and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. There are four factors that affect the dough temperature: air temperature, flour temperature, friction factor, and water temperature. Water temperature is usually the only factor you can manipulate. You can determine the water temperature by multiplying 76 by 3 and then subtracting the air temperature, flour temperature, and friction factor.

Instead of boring you with more talk about desired dough temperature (learn more about it here), I’ll skip to the point and tell you the optimal water temperature is almost always between 70 - 72 degrees Fahrenheit, which about room temperature. That’s why it says “room temperature” in the recipe.

And if you want to listen to a British baker emphasize the importance of room temperature water, you can watch this video

If you throughly read the recipe, you’ll notice I put the liquids in the mixing bowl first, which isn’t typical of most recipes. I always do this when mixing bread because oftentimes a pocket of flour will get stuck in the dimple at the bottom of the bowl if you don’t add the liquid first.

Last, let’s discuss gluten development.

Proper gluten development is crucial to determining how long to knead bread. So how do you know when it has developed enough? The easiest way is the check for a windowpane in your dough. First, dampen your fingers, otherwise the dough will stick too much to your hands. Then pull off a small piece of dough and gently stretch it with your fingers and thumbs. If you can stretch the dough without breaking it, you’ve achieved proper gluten development. If the dough tears easily before you’re able to stretch it, knead the dough for about 2 minutes longer on second speed and try again. You can read more about the window pane test here. 

I wanted to make this focaccia bread even more special for the holidays, so before serving it, I drizzled brown butter on top. I start with Challenge salted butter. Challenge churns their butter daily from 100% pure pasteurized sweet cream in order to deliver the highest quality butter available. I melt the butter over medium heat on the stove until it turns golden brown and little brown flecks appear at the bottom of the pan. Then I drizzle it all over top of the bread. It’s an easy but very impactful addition!


Festive Brown Butter Focaccia

Yield: 15 servings (half sheet pan)

Ingredients

  • 540 grams bread flour
  • 10 grams kosher salt
  • 9 grams instant yeast
  • 350 grams water (room temperature)
  • 35 grams olive oil
  • 90 grams white onion, small dice
  • 90 grams parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup (8 Tablespoons) Challenge salted butter, cut in chunks
  • Toppings: Rosemary, thyme, sage, tomatoes, cranberries, onion, etc.

Directions

  1. Mix flour, salt, and yeast together in medium bowl. Set aside. 
  2. Add water and olive oil to mixing bowl. Add flour/salt/yeast mixture. Use dough hook to knead on first speed for 5 minutes. Mix on second speed until you achieve proper gluten development, about 2 minutes. (Learn more about checking for proper gluten development here.)
  3. Mix in onion and parmesan cheese.
  4. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and proof until it doubles in size, about an hour.
  5. Gently punch down dough, round it, cover it, and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Oil half sheet pan and spread dough to evenly fit in pan. Brush the top of the dough with oil and proof until it doubles in size, about 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Gently dimple top of dough and brush with more oil.
  9. Use herbs and vegetables to create festive scene on focaccia. 
  10. Bake for 20 minutes or until top is golden brown and internal temperature is 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  11. While bread cools, place butter in small saucepan on medium heat. Stir butter in pan as it melts. The butter will foam. 
  12. About 5 minutes later, the foam will subside, and you'll see golden brown flecks at the bottom of pan. Remove pan from heat and drizzle over focaccia.





Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Ice cream-filled cannoli

 

This is a sponsored post by Hudsonville Ice Cream, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

Fresh, homemade cannoli are one of life's greatest pleasures. I love the contrast between the classic cream filling and the crisp fried shell. But the only people I know who actually make their own cannoli shells are Italian grandmothers. I think it's because most people think they're difficult to make, and it's an incredibly arduous task. But I promise you, homemade cannoli aren't as difficult to make as you think. In fact, I find the process very similar to making pie dough, but actually, I think the cannoli dough is easier to work with.

There are a few tools that will make your life easier when making homemade cannoli shells. You definitely need cannoli forms to ensure the shells maintain their shape when frying. I have these forms. A 4-inch round cookie cutter is also very helpful. This is the one I have. And last, a thermometer is necessary for monitoring the temperature of the frying oil. I recommend this one.

The ingredient list for cannoli dough can vary greatly. Most all recipes contain flour, sugar, salt, butter, egg, and marsala wine (for flavor and to help soften the gluten). The dough recipe I've adapted over the years also has a little cinnamon (I like the background flavor), egg yolks (makes it easier to roll out the dough), and white wine vinegar (helps create light, crispy shells).

Cannoli are traditionally filled with a slightly sweet and creamy ricotta mixture. But one of the best parts about homemade cannoli shells is their versatility. Recently, I thought it would be fun to fill the shells with ice cream, kind of like an Italian style Choco Taco. I filled the cannoli with one of my favorite classic flavors, Hudsonville's Vanilla Bean ice cream.

Vanilla Bean ice cream is a simple treasure made from vanilla bean mixed with cane sugar and fresh cream. It's pure and simple.

The ice cream is divine on its own, but it’s truly heavenly when stuffed inside a crisp, homemade cannoli shell. Use this Scoop Locator tool to find Vanilla Bean ice cream near you—it’s at Meijer and Fresh Thyme stores in the Indianapolis area.

The trickiest part of working with cannoli shells is ensuring they stay crispy. If you plan to eat the cannoli right away, you don't have to worry about the shells getting soggy. But if you're planning to fill the shells with ice cream and freeze them to eat later on, I recommend coating the inside of the shell with melted chocolate and then letting it harden before stuffing it with ice cream. The chocolate will act as a moisture barrier to prevent the shells from getting soggy.

If you want a dessert that will "wow" guests this holiday season, look no further. I guarantee you'll impress everyone when you serve them homemade cannoli shells stuffed with Hudsonville's Vanilla Bean ice cream

Ice cream-filled cannoli

Yield: Makes about 12 cannoli

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (240 grams)
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar (25 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons (43 grams) unsalted butter 
  • 2 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 1/3 cup (80 milliliters) marsala wine
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 milliliters) white wine vinegar
  • Vegetable oil for frying (about 4 cups)
  • 2 cups Hudsonville's Vanilla Bean ice cream
  • Optional: Mini chocolate chips, chopped pistachios, candied orange peel

Directions

  1. Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor, and mix until its uniformly combined.
  2. Add butter to food processer and pulse several time until butter is size of peas.
  3. Add 2 egg yolks, wine, and vinegar and pulse to mix well.
  4. Dump mixture onto work surface and knead several times until dough comes together; form into flat disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for at least an hour.
  5. Roll dough out to 1/8-inch thickness and cut into 4-inch round.
  6. Wrap rounds around cannoli forms, lightly brushing one end with egg white to seal dough.
  7. Heat 1 1/2 inches oil in large pot to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully immerse shells in oil and fry until crisp and golden brown, about 2.5 to 3 minutes.
  8. Transfer shells to paper towel-lined plate. Once cool enough, remove shells from forms and repeat process.
  9. Once shells are completely cool, use melon baller to scoop Vanilla Bean ice cream and stuff into prepared shells. 
  10. Dip ends in mini chocolate chips, chopped pistachios, or candied orange peels. Serve immediately.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Gingerbread peppermint stick ice cream sandwiches

This is a sponsored post by Hudsonville Ice Cream, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

There are few desserts that symbolize the holiday season more than gingerbread cookies. I love the combination of warm, comforting spices. The only way to make these sweet treats even more festive is by pairing them with peppermint ice cream, specifically, Hudsonville’s Limited Edition Peppermint Stick ice cream

The Limited Edition Peppermint Stick ice cream is delightful on its own, but it’s truly heavenly when sandwiched between two gingerbread cookies. It’s all the flavors of the holiday season in one bite!

Gingerbread cookies are notoriously tricky to make. The dough is really sticky because of the molasses, and it’s hard to get just the right combination of spice, soft centers, and crisp edges. Fortunately, after many trials and errors, I have lots of tricks up my sleeve for creating the best gingerbread cookies!

First, you must cream the butter with the sugar until it is light and fluffy, not just smooth. It should take about 4 to 5 minutes on medium speed. The butter will be pale and yellow, and it should look noticeably different. The purpose of creaming is to aerate the butter by beating it over and over again, and the tiny sugar crystals work to help the process. 

Properly creaming your butter creates cookies that are less dense, and it expands the volume of the dough, which results in more cookies!

It’s also imperative that you scrape your bowl throughout the mixing process. Scraping ensures that a thick film of butter and sugar doesn’t collect against the bowl. I always scrape before I add each additional ingredient to ensure a more uniform dough.

Getting the spice level just right in gingerbread cookies can be tricky. Too much spice and the cookies can taste bitter. Too little spice and you can’t taste anything at all. I tinkered with which spices to use and the amount. I found that using a combination of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice gave the cookies a complex flavor without being over-the-top.

Gingerbread cookie dough is nearly impossible to work with right after mixing because it’s so sticky. That’s why you must chill the dough before rolling it out. The dough is only manageable when it’s firm. The best way to do this is to divide the dough in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap, flatten into discs, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

When you’re ready to roll out the dough, generously flour your work surface, your hands, and your rolling pin. I promise, the flour won’t affect the taste! Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thick. Any thinner, and you’ll have cracker cookies. No one likes cracker cookies.

The cookies take between 8 to 10 minutes to bake, depending on your oven and your desired softness level. Many ovens heat unevenly and have hot spots, so it’s important that you rotate the baking sheets at the halfway point. Since these cookies will ultimately be frozen and become ice cream sandwiches, it’s best to bake them on the softer side.

Once your cookies are cool, you can decorate them if you choose or you can leave them plain. I included a simple icing recipe in this post. Remember, you only need to decorate half of the cookies since one cookie goes on the bottom of the ice cream sandwich.

The last and most important step in completing this recipe is evenly spreading the Limited Edition Peppermint Stick ice cream between two cookies. It’s easy to do when working with round cookies, but it’s a little harder when working with cookies that are different shapes. The easiest way to achieve an even spread is to turn one cookie bottom side up, place the cookie cutter on top, add a scoop of ice cream in the center of the cookie cutter, and spread it with a knife.

These gingerbread peppermint stick ice cream sandwiches are adorable and delicious, and they will certainly be the highlight of your holiday gatherings. Hudsonville’s Limited Edition Peppermint Stick ice cream is proof that sometimes the sweetest packages aren't under the tree—they’re in the freezer.

Use this Scoop Locator tool to find Peppermint Stick ice cream near you!

Gingerbread peppermint stick ice cream sandwiches

Yield: Makes 18 cookies / 9 ice cream sandwiches

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (420 grams)
  • 1 Tablespoon ground ginger 
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (170 grams)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (160 grams)
  • 1/2 cup molasses (170 grams)
  • 1 large egg (55 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the icing (optional)

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted (60 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon water or milk

For ice cream sandwiches

Directions

For the cookies

  1. Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves, allspice, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Cream butter and brown sugar for 5 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Add molasses, egg, and vanilla and cream on medium speed for 1 minute.
  4. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined.
  5. Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and shape into discs.
  6. Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line 2 baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
  8. Remove cookie dough from refrigerator. Flour work surface, hands, and rolling pin.
  9. Roll out dough 1/4-inch thick. Use your cookie cutter and cut dough into gingerbread man shapes and place on baking sheets.
  10. Re-roll leftover scraps and use cookie cutter again. Repeat until all dough is used.
  11. Bake cookies 8-10 minutes. They shouldn’t get any darker.
  12. Allow to cool.

For the icing

  1. Mix together all ingredients until no clumps remain. It should be very thick. Add more powdered sugar if needed.
  2. Transfer icing to squeeze bottle or pour into pastry bag with small tip.
  3. Decorate gingerbread men as desired.

For assembly

  1. Turn one cookie bottom-side-up and place cookie cutter on top.
  2. Add 1/4 cup softened ice cream to center of cookie cutter and spread. 
  3. Remove cookie cutter and top with second cookie.
  4. Press cookies together and place in freezer for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  5. Store extra ice cream sandwiches in freezer.

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