Pomegranate Ice Cream in Pistachio-Cardamom Cookie Sandwiches
Makes 20 1 1/2” sandwiches or 10 3” sandwiches
1 recipe Pistachio-Cardamom Cookies for Ice Cream Sandwiches (see recipe below)
1 recipe Pomegranate Ice Cream (see recipe below)
Make the Pistachio-Cardamom Cookies for Ice Cream Sandwiches and let them cool completely.
Make the Pomegranate Ice Cream. When it’s done, put it in the freezer for 1/2 hour to firm up.
Lay out the plain cookies, underside up, on a cookie sheet. Using a 1 Tbsp. scoop for 1 1/2” sandwiches or a 2 Tbsp. scoop for 3” sandwiches, place a scoop of ice cream on each plain cookie. Top the ice cream with cookies that have pistachios in the center, pushing down carefully to flatten out the ice cream without breaking the soft top cookie.
Freeze. Serve straight from the freezer. If you are storing the ice cream sandwiches for any length of time, wrap them individually in plastic wrap.
Pomegranate Ice Cream
Makes about 3 cups of ice cream (enough for 20 small, or 10 large, ice cream sandwiches)
Alcohol lowers the freezing point of ice cream, which makes it slightly softer and easier to serve than ice cream that doesn’t include alcohol. Even without the alcohol, Pomegranate Ice Cream is delicious, although it may form noticeable ice crystals. Pomegranate liquor enhances the pomegranate flavor, but raspberry-flavored vodka and plain vodka also work well and both have the benefit of being sold in miniature bottles. If you are making this to serve on its own, and your ice cream maker is large enough, double the recipe.
1 cup pomegranate juice from fresh pomegranates OR 1 cup 100% Pomegranate Juice (see NOTE below)
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup cream
1 Tbsp. pomegranate liqueur or vodka
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
Thoroughly whisk all the ingredients together. Put the mix in an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
NOTE on pomegranate juice: Here’s how to juice pomegranates: Cut the pomegranates in half, and juice with a citrus juicer. If you don’t have a citus juicer, remove the pomegranate seeds (more accurately, arils) from the skins, discarding the white fibrous matter separating the seeds. (You’ll make less of a mess if you do this underwater.) Whir batches of the seeds in a food processor and then put through a strainer to remove the pits (a Foley food mill works well for this task). If you don’t have access to fresh pomegranates, 100% pomegranate juice works just fine in this recipe.
Pistachio-Cardamom Cookies (for use in ice cream sandwiches)
Makes 40 1 1/2” cookies (20 sandwiches) or 20 3” cookies (10 sandwiches)
With added cornstarch to reduce the protein content of the flour, egg yolk instead of whole egg, and slightly underdone cookies, this version is tenderer than cookies intended to be served on their own. The tenderness makes the cookies softer and easier to bite through, an important consideration for ice cream sandwiches. These cookies are more highly seasoned than cookies that aren’t served frozen. If you want Pistachio-Cardamom Cookies for eating on their own as cookies, see the recipe below for Crispy Pistachio-Cardamom Cookies. In a pinch, if you can’t find raw pistachio nuts, buy roasted, salted nuts (Costco often carries these), rinse off the salt, and dry them very well before using in the recipe. If you have a convection oven, you can bake multiple sheets of cookies at one time; if not, bake the cookies one sheet at a time.
1/2 cup shelled, unsalted pistachio nuts
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 – 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground cardamom (1 tsp. if using pre-ground cardamom)
Coarse sugar crystals for topping the cookies
Extra pistachio nuts for topping the cookies
Preheat the oven to 325°F (or 300°F convection).
Add the pistachios and sugar to a food processor or blender, and process just until the pistachios are finely ground.
Using the mixer’s whisk attachment, cream the butter and half the pistachio sugar until they are light and creamy. Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl, as needed. Mix in the remaining pistachio sugar.
Sift together 1/2 cup flour, cornstarch, salt, and ground cardamom. Using the mixer’s paddle attachment, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Add the remaining flour, as needed; the dough should be pliable, but not at all sticky.
Roll out the dough on a floured cloth until it is 3/16” thick (gather up the trimmings and reroll them). Cut out the dough with a cookie cutter (I like 1 1/2” circles for mini ice cream sandwiches), and place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpats. Sprinkle each cookie with coarse sugar crystals. Push one pistachio nut into the center of half the cookies.
Bake for 7 – 8 minutes, or until the cookies have firmed up, but are still underdone. Remove from the oven and place the cookie sheets on wire racks to cool (don’t remove the cookies from the cookie sheets until they are completely cool).