The minute I saw the August issue of Gourmet Magazine , I knew what this month’s Flavor of the Month  would be. On the cover was a gorgeous photo of the most luscious ice cream sandwiches I’d ever laid eyes on! They were called Lemon Ice Cream Sandwiches with Blueberry Swirl . The chewy lemon-scented blondie cookies filled with a lemon-infused vanilla ice cream, streaked with a fresh berry compote were irresistible to me. Sheer perfection!
There is something magical about an ice cream sandwich that can reduce even the biggest stuffed shirt into a delighted, giggling child. Maybe it’s because you have to eat them with your hands. It’s kind of hard to look very dignified with ice cream dribbling down your chin and damp cookie bits stuck to your fingers. For some, it may bring back warm, fuzzy memories of the carefree days of youth. Perhaps both. Whatever the reason, ice cream sandwiches are a quintessential and universally loved summertime treat.
The recipe for these lovelies is actually quite easy. You don’t even have to make homemade ice cream if you don’t want to, although I highly recommend it. While it does take some extra time to make your own ice cream, it also eliminates the time needed for softening the store bought product. Six and one-half dozen of the other!
I made my favorite Philadelphia-style vanilla ice cream for these and just swirled the fruit compote in it right out of the ice cream maker. Philadelphia-style ice cream is ice cream that is made without egg yolks and doesn’t require any cooking. It freezes firmer and has a lighter texture than its French-style counterpart. For that reason, I prefer it when making fruity ice creams. It was perfect for these ice cream sandwiches.
Of course, I had to tweak the original recipe a little bit. Instead of blueberries, I decided to go with raspberries. No reason. Just because. I also added a little Limoncello  to my ice cream, for just a little extra lemony zing. And finally, I mixed a little ground ginger into the cookie batter, because I really love the way ginger and lemon harmonize with each other.
My Lemon Ice Cream Sandwiches with Raspberry Swirl turned out beautifully! The ice cream itself was so rich and creamy with a subtle pop of bright, lemon flavor. The raspberry compote was just enough to complement the ice cream without overpowering it. And, the cookie sandwich layers were light and crisp, but really held up to the task of containing the ice cream filling. They looked lovely. They tasted lovely. And, they made lovely little packages all dressed up with their pretty pink ribbons.
Lemon Ice Cream Sandwiches with Raspberry Swirl
adapted from Gourmet Magazine, August 2009
For Lemon Ice Cream
2 pints good quality vanilla ice cream (store bought or homemade)
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Limoncello
For raspberry compote
2 cups raspberries (10 ounces)
1/4 cup sugar
2 (3- by 21/2-inch) strips lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
For sandwich layers
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 (8-inch) square baking pans (2 inches deep)
Small offset spatula
Make lemon ice cream:
Transfer ice cream to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 30 percent power in 10-second intervals, stirring, until softened, about 50 seconds total (see Note, below).
Stir in lemon zest, juice and Limoncello. Spread ice cream thinly in a 13- by 9-inch baking dish and freeze while making compote and sandwich layers.
Make raspberry compote:
Cook blueberries, sugar, and zest in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, thoroughly crushing raspberries with a potato masher, until juices are released and sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes.
Stir together lemon juice and cornstarch, then stir into raspberry mixture. Boil, stirring, 1 minute until mixture thickens.
Transfer compote to a bowl and chill until cold, about 1 hour. Discard lemon zest.
Make sandwich layers:
Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Butter baking pans and line with foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang on each side, then butter foil.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger and salt in a small bowl. Beat together butter and brown sugar in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Beat in egg and vanilla. At low speed, add flour mixture in 2 batches, mixing until just combined.
Divide batter between baking pans and spread into thin, even layers with offset spatula. Bake until golden-brown but still tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely in pans, about 30 minutes.
Dollop tablespoons of blueberry compote all over ice cream, then swirl it gently through ice cream with a spoon. Spoon all of ice cream over 1 sandwich layer (in pan) and spread evenly using clean offset spatula.
Invert second sandwich layer over ice cream, pressing gently to form an even sandwich. Wrap baking pan in plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.
Transfer sandwich to a cutting board using overhang. Trim edges if desired, then cut into 8 pieces.
If you don’t have a microwave, ice cream can be softened at room temperature.
Ice cream sandwiches (before cutting) can be made 1 week ahead and frozen in pan, wrapped in plastic wrap and then in foil.
Makes 8 ice cream sandwiches.
2 cups heavy cream and 1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pour 1 cup of the cream into a medium saucepan and add the sugar and salt. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the saucepan and add the pod to the pot. Warm over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove from the heat and add the remaining cream, milk and the vanilla extract.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean and freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Makes about 1 quart of ice cream.