Beer Cookies and Cream

Remember when I first made beer cookies? I was convinced that they’d be perfect for ice cream sandwiches. It may have taken me more than six months to test that theory, but good things come to those who wait, right?

That theory definitely held true in this case. The frozen cookies aren’t quite as soft and chewy straight as the fresh-from-the-oven cookies (no surprise there, right?), but the flavor goes perfectly with vanilla ice cream.

I used the same ice cream base from the rhubarb ice cream sandwiches, and it worked perfectly. I lined a 9″ x 13″ pan with waxed paper and spread the freshly-churned ice cream in the bottom of the pan before putting it in the freezer for a few hours. Once it was frozen solid, I used a round cookie cutter to cut out perfectly round circles of ice cream. (I have several round “biscuit cutters,” so I chose one that was closest in size to the cookies.)

I had stashed half a batch of cookie dough in the freezer, so all I had to do was mix up the ice cream base and bake a few cookies while the ice cream hung out in the freezer. Easy, and perfect for a football Saturday.

The only downside to my plan was the fact that we had been snacking on the frozen cookie  dough for a while, so when I went to bake the cookies, I discovered that there were only 16 balls of dough left in the bag. And, naturally, Andy and I each had to “sample” a plain cookie after they came out of the oven (for quality control purposes, of course), which left me with 14 cookies. Which means I only got 7 sandwiches. I’ll have to plan better next time.


Brown Sugar & Ale Ice Cream Sandwiches

Note: I am not sure how many sandwiches this will yield. It will depend on how many cookies you have and what size the cookies are. If you start with a full batch of cookie dough, it’s possible that you will need more than one batch of ice cream. 

For the cookies: 
1 batch (more or less… we had significantly less) of Brown Sugar & Ale Cookies

For the ice cream:
5 egg yolks
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the ice cream, combine the milk, one cup of the cream, sugar, salt and the vanilla bean and seeds in a medium saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks together in a small bowl until smooth. Gradually add the warmed milk mixture to the egg yolks, whisking constantly, until the mixture is warm and well-combined. Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon.

Place the remaining cup of cream in a large glass bowl and set a fine mesh strainer over the top of the bowl. Pour the cooked custard through the strainer and into the cream. Mix the custard and the cream together and add the vanilla extract.

Cover the bowl and cool the ice cream base in the refrigerator until it’s thoroughly chilled. 

Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is churning, line a 9″ x 13″ pan with waxed paper, leaving an overhang on the edges. Spread the churned ice cream in an even layer in the bottom of the pan. Place the pan in the freezer until the ice cream is frozen solid.

While the ice cream is firming up, pair up the cookies by size and select a round cookie cutter to cut the ice cream.

To assemble, use a cookie cutter to cut out rounds of ice cream. Sandwich the ice cream rounds between two cookies. Continue until you run out of cookies or ice cream, whichever comes first. Place the sandwiches in an airtight, freezer-safe container and return them to the freezer so they can firm up before serving.

Cookies from Erin’s Food Files, originally adapted from the Beeroness. Ice cream base adapted from Annie’s Eats, originally adapted from “The Perfect Scoop” by David  Lebovitz.

Click here for a printable version.

Not Your Average Ice Cream

Are you ready for this? I went from being the girl who wasn’t into beer at all to being the girl who puts stout in her ice cream. And you thought beer cookies were weird… 😉

On one hand, I figured this was going to be good. After all, we’re talking about ice cream here. On the other hand, however, I was a little skeptical, especially since the recipe only had two cups of cream and 12 ounces of beer. Most of my other ice cream recipes have milk or half and half in addition to the cream, so I was afraid that I would end up with a tiny amount of ice cream. The beer must make up for the missing milk, since the final product filled my standard “ice cream” Pyrex container.

I loved the fact that, in spite of using six egg yolks, this recipe didn’t make you temper the eggs. Instead, you whisk the eggs, sugar and salt together and then cook them with the cream until thick and custard-like. Then, you simply pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove any egg pieces. Talk about a time-saver!

The recipe suggested two beers, neither of which matched up with what was in my fridge, but after consulting  Arron (the beer expert in my group of friends), I decided to use my last bottle of Stone Arch Vanilla Stout. (Of course, now that I’m looking it up online, I see that it’s only 4.7% ABV, and the recipe called for something between 8 and 11 percent. Whoops. It worked anyway.) The original recipe and article from America’s Test Kitchen has some good information about what beers to use, in case you can’t find Stone Arch vanilla stout. Most importantly, it said not to use anything too hoppy, as they will make the ice cream bitter.

Seriously, though, this was some good ice cream. It was smooth and creamy, and it didn’t melt nearly as fast as Andy’s favorite vanilla bean ice cream. The beer flavor wasn’t overpowering, and its coffee, vanilla and caramel undertones came through nicely. It went really well with a serving of hot fudge pudding cake (from Cook It In Cast Iron), and I really want to make another batch, just so I can sandwich it between some cookies.


Beer Ice Cream

12 ounces 8-11% ABV beer (not an IPA!) 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 large egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream

In a large saucepan, bring 5 ounces of the beer to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until the beer is reduced to about half its original volume, lowering the heat as necessary to keep the foam level to a minimum.

Remove the beer from the heat and add the remaining 7 ounces of beer and vanilla to the mixture. Pour the beer-vanilla mixture into a bowl or Pyrex measuring cup and set aside.

In the now-empty saucepan, whisk together the sugar, salt and egg yolks. Whisk in the cream and cook the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until it is thick and coats the back of a metal spoon (about 180° on an instant-read thermometer). Immediately remove it from the heat.

Place a fine-mesh strainer over an empty bowl (or a 2-quart Pyrex measuring cup) and pour the custard through the strainer. Whisk the beer mixture into the custard. Cover the ice cream base and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. (Both ATK and Bridget said to place the bowl full of custard over an ice water bath to cool the mixture before placing it in the fridge. I skipped this step, mostly because I’m lazy like that.)

Churn the ice cream in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Remove the ice cream from the ice cream maker and place in a freezer-safe container. Freeze until firm, at least 8 hours.

Rumor has it that this keeps in the freezer for 5 days. I couldn’t tell you, since we finished ours in one evening.

From The Way the Cookie Crumbles, who adapted it from America’s Test Kitchen

Click here for a printable version.