Wanna make a crowd of people happy? Serve them ice cream sandwiches, particularly homemade ones with a blondie crust and a center of blueberry swirled lemon ice cream. If that doesn't bring a smile to your eaters, you seriously need to start hanging out with a new crowd, 'cause life shouldn't be that hard!!
A chewy, buttery thin crust, topped with vanilla ice cream that you spike with both lemon zest and juice and swirl with an easy homemade blueberry compote--how can you go wrong?!! These just scream summer to me and I speak from experience that you will have a hard time stopping at just one square!!
And they're easy to make and can be done ahead which is the perfect combo for easy, breezy summertime entertaining. You start by mixing vanilla ice cream with lemon zest and lemon juice and spreading it in a pan to refreeze.
Next you make an easy fresh blueberry compote (which would also be divine on pancakes or in yogurt) and tune in to your inner artist, swirling it into the lemon ice cream a la Van Gogh.
Meanwhile, you make a very simple thin sheet of blondies--
Which you cut in half and eventually top with the swirled ice cream and cover with the other half so that you essentially have a giant ice cream sandwich. After everything chills out in the freezer again, you cut the whole thing up into squares and serve. Easy as pie, well, um...ice cream sandwiches, right?
The lemon and blueberry combo just can't be beat and the brown sugar chewiness of the crust balances out the creaminess of the ice cream. And you won't find these little works of art on any ice cream truck either--so make 'em yourself 'cause this is what summertime's all about!!
Blueberry Lemon Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes about 16 generous squares
Prep Time for the Blondie Layer: 10 minutes; Bake Time: 10-12 minutes; Prep Time for Ice Cream: 5 minutes; Prep Time for Blueberry Compote: 10 minutes, plus several hours of chilling
For the Ice Cream
1 quart of good vanilla ice cream; store bought or this homemade one
1 lemon zested
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
For the Blueberry Compote
2 cups or 10 ounces of fresh blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
A few strips of lemon zest (use a vegetable peeler to peel off wide strips)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
For the Blondie Layers
1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. To make the Lemon Ice Cream: Let the ice cream sit out for a while so that it softens up enough so that you can stir it. Then stir in the lemon zest and juice. Spread the ice cream into a 9x13-inch baking pan (it'll be a fairly thin layer) and place it back in the freezer to harden while you make the blueberry compote and the blondies.
2. To make the blueberry compote: Place the berries, sugar and lemon strips into a medium heavyweight saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir together and then use a potato masher to thoroughly crush the berries, releasing their juices. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved.
3. In a separate small bowl, stir together the lemon juice and cornstarch and add to the blueberry mixture. Turn the heat up and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring, for about 1 minute. Mixture will be much thicker. Remove from the heat and transfer the mixture to a bowl or jar and let cool for a bit. Then transfer to the refrigerator and chill for a few hours. You can definitely make this a day or two ahead if it makes life easier.
4. To make the blondies: Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Spray a jelly roll pan (10 1/2 x 15 1/2 x 1) with nonstick cooking spray. Line with parchment paper and then spray the paper as well. Set aside.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda and salt. Set aside. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and brown sugar together at medium-high speed for a few minutes, until the batter looks light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary and add the egg and vanilla. Beat well until thoroughly incorporated. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the flour gradually, mixing only until just combined.
6. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. It will be a very thin layer and may seem like it's not enough batter to cover the pan, but just be patient and spread--it may help to use an offset spatula if you have one, and make a nice, even, thin layer of batter. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until golden and set. The blondies will harden as they cool. Transfer to a wire rack and let them cool completely in the pan.
7. When ready to assemble everything, remove the ice cream in the pan from the freezer and let it soften for a few minutes. Meanwhile, line a rimmed baking sheet with a sheet of plastic wrap. Invert the blondies onto the baking sheet and remove the parchment paper. Use a sharp knife to cut the cake in half vertically down the center.
8. Remove the blueberry compote from the refrigerator and place large spoonfuls of the mixture all over the the ice cream in the pan. Use a knife or spoon to swirl the blueberry mixture through the lemon ice cream, to create a marbled effect. Don't over swirl or you'll wind up with entirely blue ice cream when what you want is a visible swirl. Scoop all of the ice cream onto one of the halves of the blondies sitting atop the plastic wrap and smooth it out evenly over the surface. Take the other blondie half, turn it over so that the top is facing up now and place it on top of the half that's covered with the ice cream. Cover the cake with the plastic wrap and return the cake on the pan to the freezer for several hours or even up to a week. Before you're ready to serve, remove from the freezer, unwrap and cut the cake into squares.
Note: Recipe adapted from The Epicurious Cookbook by Tanya Wenman Steel. I changed the cooking method of the blondies because I thought it was easier to cook in one pan.