If you’re a regular reader of food blogs then you’ve likely noticed that the whole world seems mad for Nutella™. For those of you who’ve been living in a cave or otherwise missed this trend, let me explain. Nutella™ is an alluring, proprietary spread that combines ground roasted hazelnuts, skim milk, and cocoa. Available almost everywhere, it has a comfort food appeal similar to that of peanut butter and is eaten in much the same way: on bread, in desserts of virtually every type, and (best of all for some) spooned directly from the jar into one’s mouth.
The weather is heating up where I live, and it occurred to me that Nutella™ would be a perfect flavor for ice cream sandwiches, one of my favorite childhood desserts. I’ve added both Nutella™ and extra chocolate to the shortbread layers in these sandwiches. And both ingredients are also included in the ice cream filling used here for even more deliciousness. ‘Nuff said, I think.
For the ice cream filling:
1 1/2 pints (3 cups) chocolate ice cream
1/4 cup Nutella™
For the shortbread:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or unbleached, all-purpose white flour
1/2 cup brown or white sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup Nutella™
1/4 cup chilled butter, cubed
- Prepare the ice cream filling: The day before serving, soften the ice cream for five minutes at room temperature. Spoon the ice cream and 1/4 cup Nutella™ into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until well blended. Quickly transfer the ice cream mixture to a straight-sided, rectangular pan lined with a large sheet of plastic wrap. Fold the plastic over the top of the ice cream, press the mixture into a level 6-inch by 9-inch rectangle, and freeze until it is very firm and you are ready to assemble the ice cream sandwiches.
- Combine the flour, sugar, and cocoa in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until well blended. Add 1/2 cup Nutella™ and the cubed butter. Process the dough until it is well blended, smooth, and begins to form a ball. Transfer the dough to a large sheet of plastic wrap, shape the dough into a thick rectangle, fold the plastic wrap over the dough, and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. with the rack in the middle position. Line one large or two small baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll the shortbread dough out on a sheet of parchment paper to a level 1/4-inch thickness. Press a 3-inch round or square cookie cutter into the dough to make 12 cookies (any excess dough scraps can be assembled and re-rolled to make more shortbread cookies). Transfer these to the prepared baking sheet(s) and refrigerate for 10 minutes or until the oven is preheated. Bake for 10-12 minutes, remove from the oven, and cool the shortbread to room temperature on cake racks.
- When the shortbread has fully cooled, remove the ice cream from the freezer and, using the same cookie cutter, quickly press six rounds or squares.
- Quickly assemble the sandwiches by layering the ice cream between two shortbread cookies to make six ice cream sandwiches. Makes 6 servings.