I won't deny that Christmas held a certain cache as a kid, with the oft-unbearable anticipation of Santa's arrival and gift-delivery service. But none of it held a candle to Mother Nature's gift of summertime. Not then or now.
Visions of sugar-plum fairies? Not for this kid. Instead, my thoughts turned to midsummer night's dreams and the fairies of the enchanted forest, where no one was wearing a winter coat and all things seemed possible.
Mother Nature was there not just in spirit but behind the scenes making sure everything went to plan, donating firefly night lights and perfuming the air with honeysuckle and jasmine. She made the grass soft and the trees shady, so I could sit and plunge head-first into a hunk of watermelon and slurp on peaches.
She made everything beautiful and bright, a parade of colors and a dance of sultry breezes and late sunsets that allowed for more time on my bicycle.
Everything was like magic; we even played with our food! Who needed a fork for a hot dog off the grill or an ear of boiled corn, a BLT with a tomato the color of Mom's lipstick -- or best of all, freezer treats in some kind of handheld package.
I loved them all -- Kool Pops, Fudgesicles, those Neapolitan combos on a stick, and of course, the sandwich. When else but summer could a sandwich of ice cream be possible? How I loved the race against time imposed by the sun poring down on my ice cream middle, forcing me to lick around the edges to keep it from melting onto my bathing suit.
Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies
From The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (note: I substituted equal amounts of Earth Balance brand shortening.)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Beat together butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, or by hand, until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt. Stir dry ingredients gradually into creamed butter mixture until completely incorporated and there are no streaks of butter.
Form dough into 16 1 1/2--inch rounds. On the baking sheets, flatten rounds so they're 3 inches across, spacing them evenly. You can fit 8 on a normal 11-by-17 baking sheet, with 3 going lengthwise down the sides and 2 in the center in between.
Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets midway during baking, then remove from oven.
Once cool, sandwich ice cream of your choice between 2 cookies, then wrap each ice cream sandwich in plastic wrap and store in freezer. Makes 16 cookies, for 8 ice cream sandwiches.