It has been quite a while since I made any ice cream, which has very little to do the Chicago weather being too cold for ice cream – let’s face it, it’s never too cold for ice cream – and everything to do with me trying to find time to make these ice cream sandwiches with my current work and school schedule. I’ve been thinking about these for a while, and I didn’t want to spoil my next ice cream fix on some lesser venture.

Midway through the toasting process - make sure to rotate them often!

Midway through the toasting process – make sure to rotate them often!

I don’t mean to imply that these are hard to make. Still, there are a few layers to the recipe, so the time investment is more than usual, and ice cream sandwiches are more of an indulgence than, say, steak salad. But the recent Easter weekend gave me three days of relative free time, and I decided to spend it having a little fun in the kitchen with this recipe. If you’ve never had a fluffernutter, it’s a peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwich. If you think you’d never eat a combination of peanut and marshmallow, I want you to hold that thought. Now, check out this loveliness:

Fluffernutter Ice Cream Sandwiches

I need to describe this, because it’s so delicious I can’t even stand it: First there’s the ice cream, which starts with a toasted marshmallow ice cream base, and then has salty-sweet candied peanuts and sticky marshmallow fluff folded in. Toasting the marshmallows before they go into the base gives the ice cream a slightly burnt, caramelized undertone that’s akin to eating toasted marshmallows right off the stick, only without the danger of burning your tongue. You could stop there, but sandwiching it between soft peanut butter cookies is just a logical next step. Also, it acts sort of like portion control. A very lenient, easily breakable portion control.

Fluffernutter Ice Cream Sandwiches

I used smooth peanut butter since the ice cream already has whole peanuts in it, but you can use a chunky peanut butter if that’s what you have. The dough for the cookies is ready to go as soon as it’s mixed, but my kitchen was a bit warm, and my cookies spread a little more than I was expecting. If you’re working in a warm kitchen, I’d recommend refrigerating your dough before shaping the cookies, about an hour.

Fluffernutter Ice Cream Sandwiches
Serves 8
Creamy toasted marshmallow ice cream with candied peanuts and a ribbon of marshmallow fluff, sandwiched between soft peanut butter cookies.
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Candied peanuts
  1. 1/4 cup sugar
  2. 1 large egg white
  3. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  4. 1 cup roasted peanuts, shelled
Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream
  1. 2 cups lowfat milk
  2. 1 cup heavy cream
  3. 2 dozen (24) large marshmallows
  4. 1/4 cup sugar
  5. 3 egg yolks
  6. 1/2 cup candied peanuts
  7. 1 7-1/2oz jar marshmallow fluff
Peanut Butter Cookies
  1. 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  2. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  3. 1/2 cup white sugar
  4. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  8. 1/2 tsp salt
  9. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  10. 6.25 oz all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
For the candied peanuts
  1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or use foil sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Whisk together the sugar, egg white, and salt in a medium bowl just until bubbles form, and then fold in the nuts.
  2. Spread the mixture out on the prepared baking sheet and bake, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes, until the sugar coating has caramelized to a glaze on the nuts, approximately 50 minutes total. If the glaze still seems slightly gooey at that point, don't worry - it will harden further as it cools. Cool and store in an airtight container.
For the ice cream
  1. Set the oven to broil, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the marshmallows on the baking sheet and toast them under the broiler until deep golden brown (this will take maybe 30 seconds or so). Flip the marshmallows and repeat the toasting process on each side, including tops and bottoms. Watch them carefully to be sure they don't burn! You want them toasted, not blackened.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, cream, and toasted marshmallows, and heat together, stirring often, until the marshmallows have melted into the liquid.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the egg yolks and sugar until well combined, and then very gradually drizzle in the hot marshmallow mixture, whisking the eggs constantly while you drizzle in the hot liquid until they are fully incorporated together. Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan, and continue to heat, stirring often, until the custard has thickened a bit, and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and pour into a large bowl. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap lightly into the top of the liquid, and refrigerate until completely cooled (preferably overnight).
  4. Pour the cooled marshmallow mixture into your ice cream freezer (you may need to give it a good whisking first), and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. When the ice cream is at soft-serve consistency and ready to be removed from the machine, add the candied nuts and let the machine run until they are incorporated throughout. Next, scoop the marshmallow fluff in and let the machine run until the fluff is swirled throughout, about 30 seconds. Pack the finished ice cream into an air-tight container, and freeze until solid.
For the cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl, and then blend in the peanut butter. Add the egg and then the vanilla, mixing until fully incorporated. Scrape down the bowl after each addition.
  4. Stir the flour mixture into the peanut butter mixture until well blended.
  5. Portion out a cookie in a heaping tablespoon, and roll it lightly between your hands to form a ball. Flatten the cookie with a fork, using a cross-hatch pattern (dip the fork in cold water to keep it from sticking to the dough). Repeat with the remaining cookies (about 16 cookies).
  6. Bake the cookies until barely golden brown around the edges, about 8 to 10 minutes. The time may vary by oven, so watch them carefully to avoid overcooking. Allow the cookies to rest on the cookie sheet for 3 or 4 minutes until set, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. To assemble: Turn a cookie over so that the flat side is facing up. Top with a scoop of the ice cream, about 1/2 cup, and then top with another cookie. I like to place the scoop of ice cream between two sheets of parchment or wax paper, and flatten it slightly with the bottom of a water glass so there's a flat surface on each side for the cookies.
  8. Nom at will.
Notes
  1. Store your ice cream sandwiches in the freezer, wrapped individually with plastic wrap, or in a large freezer bag with a square of parchment or wax paper between each sandwich.
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