- 3/4 cup/120g whole almonds, skin on
- 1 2/3 cups/200g all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2/3 cup/55g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 7 tbsp/100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 packed cup plus 1 tbsp/160g light brown sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup/60ml whole milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup/100g granulated sugar
- 1 1/3 cups/320ml whole milk
- 1 1/4 cups/300ml heavy cream
- ½ vanilla pod, sliced in half lengthwise and seeds scraped
- ¼ tsp saffron threads
Ideally, an ice cream maker is needed to churn the ice cream. If you don’t have one, you can churn it yourself, stirring the mix every few hours to break up the formation of ice crystals before returning it to the freezer.
Both the cookies and nuts can be made 3–4 days ahead and kept, separately, in airtight containers. Once assembled, the sandwiches will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Spread the almonds out on a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool, then pulse in a food processor into roughly 0.5cm pieces. Store in an airtight container until needed.
3. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
4. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt together into a bowl and set aside.
5. Put the butter and brown sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment in place. Beat on high speed for about 3 minutes, until pale, then add the vanilla extract. Mix to incorporate, turn the speed to low and add a third of the flour mixture. Continue to incorporate, then add half the milk. Mix to combine, then repeat with another third of the flour, the remaining milk, and finish with the flour. Mix until just combined; the dough will be soft but not sticky.
6. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Divide into two and set one half aside. Roll the dough to 3mm thick and use an 8cm round cookie cutter to cut out disks. Arrange the disks on a baking sheet, separating the layers with parchment paper so they don’t stick to each other, then repeat the process with the second piece of dough. Reroll any scraps to make twenty-four cookies in total. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
7. When ready to bake, arrange the disks on the lined baking sheets and bake for 6–8 minutes, until firm on the outside but still a little soft in the centre. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Place the cookies in an airtight container until ready to use.
8. To make the ice cream, place the egg yolks and granulated sugar in a medium bowl, whisk to combine and set aside. Combine the milk, cream, vanilla pod and seeds and saffron in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Warm through for 3–4 minutes, until little bubbles start forming. Slowly pour half the hot milk into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly until smooth, then pour all the yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk. Return to medium-low heat and cook for 8–10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat, discard the vanilla pod, transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool completely; the best way to do this is to chill the mixture over an ice bath or in the fridge before churning. When cold, place in an ice cream maker and churn until firm waves appear.
9. Before assembling, place a baking sheet (or any other tray) in your freezer. This is to put the ice cream sandwiches on as soon as they are assembled. When assembling the sandwiches, keep the ice cream churning (to prevent it from melting).
10. Spoon about two heaping tablespoonfuls of ice cream on the underside of one cookie and place another cookie on top, smooth side up. Gently squeeze the cookies together so that the ice cream just comes to the edge of the cookies. Run the tip of a teaspoon between the two cookies to remove any excess ice cream and to create a smooth finish. Give the cookies one final gentle squeeze together so that the ice cream sits evenly with the cookies. Place each sandwich on the baking sheet in the freezer as soon as it is assembled, before starting on the next. Once they are all together, freeze for 6 hours before serving.
11. Remove the ice cream sandwiches from the freezer to allow the edges of the ice cream to soften slightly. Spread the chopped almonds out on a flat plate, roll the exposed ice cream in the nuts, and serve.
Recipe reprinted from SWEET: Desserts from London’s Ottolenghi. Copyright © 2017 by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh. Photos © 2017 by Peden + Munk. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.