ice cream sandwiches √

Makes 9 (3-inch) sandwiches.

Note: Ice cream needs to be prepared a day in advance. The espresso powder is optional, but deepens the chocolate flavor. This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart Living. Best tip for eating: Cut the corner from a clean envelope and voilà! You have a handy sandwich holder.

1.5 quarts (1 carton) premium ice cream, your choice of flavor

• 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter

• 2 tbsp. canola oil

• 1 c. all-purpose flour

• 1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

• 1 tsp. instant espresso powder, optional

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 2/3 c. granulated sugar

• 1 egg, beaten

• 1 tsp.vanilla

Directions

For the ice cream: A day before you plan to bake, line a 9- by 9-inch pan with a 9-inch wide strip of parchment paper, leaving ends long enough to grab onto. Using slightly softened ice cream (or cut off the carton and slice into slices), spread the ice cream in an even layer, making sure to get into the corners. Cover and freeze for 24 hours or until firm.

For the wafers: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven.

On 2 sheets of parchment paper, using a pencil and ruler, draw a 9-inch square.

In a saucepan, warm the butter and oil over medium heat until just melted, then set aside to cool a bit. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder (if using) and salt.

Into the butter mixture, whisk the sugar, then the beaten egg, combining thoroughly. Using a spatula, stir in the flour mixture, then the vanilla, mixing until smooth.

Divide the batter between the parchment paper squares; there will be slightly more than 3/4 cup of batter for each. With a rolling pin, roll the batter to fill the penciled outline, taking care to reach the corners. It will be quite thin. (You can also pat out the batter with your fingers.) Use the ruler to square off the edges. (Batter will not spread while baking.)

Slide 1 parchment onto a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes, or until just firm. When first wafer is done, slide the wafer, paper and all, onto a counter, then repeat with the second wafer. If necessary, trim the edges along the pencil line with a pizza cutter or sharp knife. (The slim shards are the cook’s treat.) Repeat this with the second wafer, then let both cool completely, still on the parchment paper.

To assemble the sandwiches: Carefully turn one wafer upside-down on a cutting surface and peel off the parchment. Lift the ice cream slab from the pan using the paper “handles,” invert onto the wafer, then peel off the paper. Carefully remove the remaining wafer from its paper, then place right-side up on the ice cream, pressing gently.

Using a serrated knife, immediately cut into the desired shapes and wrap each in plastic wrap. Return to the freezer for several hours or overnight before serving.

Variations: Embellish the edges of the ice cream sandwiches with mini-chocolate chips, sprinkles, candied ginger, chopped peanuts, toasted coconut or ground toasted nuts (toasting always makes the nuts more flavorful). Or even spread a layer of melted chocolate or caramel atop the inside of the top layer of the wafer.