The internet is acting like no-churn ice cream is a brand-new thing. There is a surfeit of Pinterest boards, TikTok videos and #nochurn hashtags that can help cooks get acquainted with, addicted to, and overwhelmed by the innumerable number of ice creams one can make without the help of an ice cream machine.

A stack of raspberry swirl ice cream sandwiches. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

I’m pretty sure, though, that King Tang of Shang’s ice men, who circa 1650 BC in China concocted an ice cream of sorts from buffalo milk, flour and camphor, had neither a $500 Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker sitting on the counter or even an $80 KitchenAid mixer ice cream attachment on the top shelf of the pantry. And even if they did, I’m willing to bet they probably forgot once or twice to put the canister in the freezer a full 48 hours before the king called for his buffalo milk butterscotch ripple.

Fast forward to my kitchen today, the reason I like no-churn ice cream is more whimsical than it is sustainably minded. I can certainly argue the merits of using locally sourced cream as the base to cut back on food miles or making your own sweetened condensed milk with Maine honey or maple syrup to curb your processed white sugar intake. I could talk about flavoring the treat with raspberry jam you put up when the berries were in season to help curb food waste or do a watt-by-watt comparison of churn vs. no-churn techniques. But I won’t do any of those things because none of them play into my reasoning here. Today I am taking a break from the weighty issues that factor into how our food choices can affect climate to explain why I make no-churn ice cream.

I do so simply because I think it makes the best ice cream sandwiches. According to folks who collate the National Day Calendar, the same ones who have dubbed Aug. 2 as National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, the original ice cream held between milk biscuits was a pushcart vendor operating in the Bowery neighborhood of New York circa 1900. He sold them for a penny each. By 1945 sandwich layers included everything from angel food and sponge cake to shortbread cookies and crispy vanilla wafers.

My idea of the perfect ice cream sandwich is tightly tied the classic Schwan’s Frozen Foods version I paid 25 cents for most Fridays in grammar school. In those, the ice cream oozed appropriately to making licking the edges socially acceptable and the cakey chocolate wafers stuck to your fingertips and front teeth in equal measure. This version was not developed by Schwann’s but by a gentleman named Jerry Newberg in 1945. He was an ice cream maker who sold his creation at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which at the time was home to the both the Pirates and Steelers. Thanks, Jerry. Here is my riff on your classic summertime treat.

Christine Burns Rudalevige is a food writer, recipe developer, tester and cooking teacher in Brunswick, and the author of “Green Plate Special,” a cookbook from Islandport based on these columns. She can be contacted at: [email protected]

A platter of raspberry swirl ice cream sandwiches. You can serve them immediately, or wrap them and freeze them for later. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Chocolate and Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream Sandwiches

The secret to successful no-churn lies in whipping the cream. You need stiff peaks before you fold in the flavorings. These wafers are adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe. I like to cut both ice cream and baked wafer slab into rounds using a large biscuit cutter. There is trim left over from that process, but I mix that up like a trifle as the cook’s treat.

Makes 10-12 sandwiches

FOR THE NO-CHURN RASPBERRY ICE CREAM
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup raspberry jam
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

FOR THE CHOCOLATE WAFERS
1¼ cups (149g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (43g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole milk

To make the ice cream, place an 13- by 9-inch rimmed baking sheet pan in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Whip the heavy cream until it reaches stiff peak. Add 1/3 cup of raspberry preserves and all of the sweetened condensed milk to bowl. Fold the ingredients with a spatula to combine.

Line the bottom of the chilled pan with a piece of parchment paper. Pour the mixture on the bottom of the chilled pan and smooth it out. Spoon the remaining 1/3 cup of raspberry jam on top of the ice cream and use a knife or a spoon to swirl it around, creating a swirl effect. Place the ice cream in the freezer overnight, or for at least 8 hours.

To make the wafers, place an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a piece of parchment that measures about 12 by 16 inches and place it on a flat work surface.

Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together in a bowl; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugars and vanilla at high speed until well combined. On low speed, add half the dry ingredients, then the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients, scraping the bowl between additions. Dollop the batter all over the prepared parchment paper. Use a spatula to spread it to the edges of the parchment, smoothing it as flat as possible. Pick the parchment up and set it into an 18- by 13-inch baking sheet.

Bake the cookie slab for about 10 minutes, until it just loses its shine. Remove the pan from the oven and cool the cookie on the pan for 5 minutes. Use a fork to prick the top of the cookie slab in neat rows. Cool completely before putting the whole pan in the freezer. It’s good to have a cold surface to work on when you’re making the sandwiches.

To assemble the sandwiches, use a large biscuit cutter to cut out 20-24 wafers. Use the same biscuit cutter to cut out 10-12 ice cream rounds. Place 1 ice cream round between 2 wafers. Repeat the process until you have 10-12 sandwiches made. Serve immediately or wrap each one individually and store them in the freezer.

Rudalevige uses a cookie cutter to cut out circles of raspberry swirl ice cream to sandwich between the homemade chocolate wafers. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer


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