This post is sponsored by Pamela’s Products as part of an on-going partnership. I’m so happy to be a Baking Partner again in 2015!
School started today, and both my husband and I are beside ourselves with joy. Ha! We had a great summer, but there’s always that little sigh of relief when we get back to normally scheduled programming, i.e. school. Boy, has it been quiet this morning! Even though school is back in session, it’s still plenty warm out and we are hanging on to every last second of summer we can. At least until Labor Day, right? July was National Ice Cream Month, and we ate plenty in celebration. Maybe you did too! But truth be told, it’s always Ice Cream Month at our house. We especially like ice cream sandwiches, and even more so if they are homemade. It’s been a lot of fun to have a freezer full of these gluten-free ice cream sandwiches to pull out after dinner and eat outside on the porch.
This year I am partnering again with Pamela’s Products to develop some exciting new recipes using their large assortment of gluten-free baking mixes and all-purpose flour blend. One of our favorites is the Sugar Cookie Mix. You might remember the Peach Custard Bars I made last summer using the same mix. They were delicious!
This time I’m sharing five ways to transform the already-amazing sugar cookie mix into a colorful assortment of gluten-free ice cream sandwiches.
Coming up with the flavor variations was a lot of fun. It was hard to narrow it down to just five! And five was down from 8-10! I knew we couldn’t just make one variety and call it good. Of all of them, our very favorite was the Lemon Poppy Seed filled with berry sorbet. Holy moly! Batch after batch of the cookies disappeared very quickly. I had to keep reminding my kids that we hadn’t even added the sorbet or ice cream yet. The little sneaks! And last night my youngest begged me to make another batch this week to go in their lunches. Love it – it is pretty hard to resist the tangy lemony flavor. So Lemon Poppy Seed is the main recipe, and the other variations are listed below and in the recipe notes.
From top to bottom: toasted coconut, matcha vanilla bean, cacao nib, lemon poppy seed, triple ginger, toasted coconut, and matcha vanilla bean again.
This mix is typically formed into a log and sliced into rounds, but I had in my mind that I wanted the cookies to be larger, and a bit thicker and softer than the sliced rounds. It worked perfectly to roll the dough into balls and flatten them into disks. It took a little tweaking to get all of the flavor variations just right, but in the end, I was really happy with each variation. It was incredibly fun to go to the store and choose out different ice cream and sorbet flavors to match the cookies.
Normally I would have just made the ice cream and sorbet, but this recipe is all about easy and simple! (But you really could make your own and they would be that much better!)
These are the combinations we came up with (though there was also some mixing and matching going on too):
Lemon Poppy Seed – raspberry or blackberry sorbet
Matcha Vanilla Bean – vanilla bean ice cream
Triple Ginger – mango-passion sorbet
Chocolate Cacao Nib – cherry-amaretto ice cream
Toasted Coconut – pineapple coconut ice cream
I made these cookies dairy-free and used vegan ice creams and sorbets. You can use whatever you like best and have available to you. (More tips are included in the How To section below the recipe.)
And so farewell to summer in a few weeks, and hello to autumn! I can already feel it in the air. And while I will miss the long, sweltering summer days, I have to say I am really excited for the changing leaves and sweater weather. But in the meantime, we’ll do as we have done almost every summer night – enjoy a cool, icy treat on the porch while we watch the sun disappear into the horizon.
- One package Pamela's Sugar Cookie Mix
- ½ cup butter or butter alternative (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoons gluten-free almond extract
- Two pints berry sorbet or ice cream
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter or butter alternative, poppy seeds, and lemon zest until creamy.
- In a small bowl, stir together the egg, lemon juice, vanilla and almond extracts.
- Add the Sugar Cookie Mix to the creamed mixture and mix on low speed until crumbly. Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl and mix until the dough comes together. The dough should be a little sticky. If the mixture is too dry, add a little bit of water to help it come together.
- Roll the dough into 16 balls. Place on the prepared baking sheets. Using the flat bottom of a drinking glass, or the palm of your hand, press the dough into flat disks about 2½-inches in diameter.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden around the edges. Rotate the baking sheets, top to bottom, halfway through baking time for even baking. Or bake the sheets one at a time. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheets.
- To assemble ice cream sandwiches - turn half of the cookies over and scoop a little bit of sorbet or ice cream onto the cookie. (You probably have some leftover.) Place another one on top and gently press. Eat immediately or wrap and store in freezer until ready to eat.
About eggs: gluten-free egg substitutes can be used in place of eggs. Use the appropriate amount to equal 1 large egg. If using ground flax seed, you may need to add a little more water. The cookies will have a slightly different texture.
Triple Ginger Spice
Add 4 Tbsp. unsulphured molasses, ¼ cup crystallized ginger, 1 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger, 2 tsp. ground ginger, and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon to the dough. Chill until firm enough to roll into balls. The molasses makes this dough quite a bit stickier, but also very soft and chewy. Fill with mango ice cream or sorbet.
Add 6 Tbsp. cocoa powder and ¼ cup cacao nibs to dough, plus a few tablespoons of water so the dough is soft and pliable, and not crumbly. Fill with cherry-vanilla ice cream.
Add ½ cup toasted, unsweetened shredded coconut to the dough. Fill with pineapple-coconut ice cream or sorbet. Roll in toasted shredded coconut or finely chopped macadamia nuts.
Matcha Vanilla Bean
Add 2 tsp. matcha powder (or more to taste), 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped, to the dough. Fill with vanilla bean ice cream.
How To Photos + Tips:
My first tip is to cream the lemon zest and poppy seeds with the butter or butter alternative. It’s gives that extra bit of mixing time to make sure they are properly distributed, particularly the lemon zest. It can clump together.
Second tip – combine the egg with the extracts and mix well. This also helps make sure the flavorings are evenly distributed. Because the sugar cookie mix contains the gluten-free flours AND the sugar, don’t add the eggs to the creamed mixture. Add the egg mixture after you mix in the dry ingredients.
So, the dry ingredients to into the mixing bowl. Mix until it looks crumbly. This is kind of like making pie crust and biscuits, and other quick breads.
As I said, then the egg mixture goes into the bowl. It’s kind of like reverse creaming.
Then mix it all up. Because there isn’t any gluten (duh) in these cookies, there’s no danger of over-mixing and having the cookies become tough. You want to make sure the ingredients are completely mixed. No dry, crumbly areas! If the dough doesn’t come together as nicely as this, then add a little water – a tablespoon at a time – until it’s the right consistency. If you go overboard and add too much, pop the bowl in the fridge until the dough is stiff enough to form into balls.
My favorite tool in the kitchen has go to be my mini-ice cream scoop. It’s the perfect size to portion out cookie dough and myriad other things. These are largish scoops. Sixteen balls yielded the perfect size and thickness of cookie I was going for. The other variations, because of the different add-ins, will have slightly different consistencies. For example, the cacao nib cookies end up being a little drier. I didn’t press them out quite as flat because I wanted to keep them on the softer side. The cacao powder is the cause of the drier texture. The triple ginger cookies have molasses and these have lemon juice. There’s extra moisture in there, but the molasses is quite a bit stickier, so they do need to be refrigerated. I tried several different times to add extra eggs for more moisture, but found that it actually made the cookies so soft they fell apart when I pressed the sandwiches together. If in doubt, bake one or two test cookies to see how they spread out.
I flattened the cookies to the size I wanted them to be after they were baked. These cookies don’t spread much. The dough is very forgiving too. Press away, and if you go too far, form it back into a ball and start over. :)
Don’t over-bake the cookies. They should be baked through and golden on the edges, but not much more brown than that. They will be come too brittle for the sandwiches. (We had a few test batches that we let get nice and toasty. Not good for sandwiches, but crispy and delicious!)
For obvious reasons, you’ll want to let the cookies cool completely. I also left them out overnight. It didn’t dry them out all the way, but it did make them firm enough, without becoming dry and crumbly, when assembling the sandwiches. (I assume you won’t be as crazy as were were and bake dozens up on dozens of cookies. Ha!)
Biggest tip: let the ice cream or sorbet soften, but not too much. I had some (hello cacao nib cookies) that slid this way and the other because I let the ice cream soften too much. It should be scoop-able, but not spreadable.
We laid them all out in an assembly line, assembled them, and stuck them right into the freezer to set up for a few hours. I highly recommend doing that if you’re making them for a crowd or kids. Otherwise, they melt so fast. It’s kind of comical trying to keep up with the fruity drips.
And that’s it! Easy, semi-homemade ice cream sandwiches that are perfect for end of summer, or anytime. :)