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Do you ever think that you have a great idea, and then Google it to find out that your idea has been done repeatedly already? Well, ice cream and macarons are both things that leave me with the same problem. I made ice cream and am stuck with leftover egg whites after using the yolks for the custard base. I make macarons, and now I’m stuck with egg yolks that I need to find a use for. For a while, macarons were the direct result of having recently made ice cream, and vice versa. Then, it occurs to me “Hey, why not combine the macarons and ice cream TOGETHER!?” After all, it’s no secret that macaron shells are very freezer-friendly, so being part of a frozen dessert would not diminish the quality of this cookie. Lo and behold, it had already been done, and there was plenty of online research material to prepare me for my own efforts. And, after reading up on it, and a few YouTube videos, I finally decided to try it out. The results were so spectacular that these quickly became one of my most requested desserts. Chocolate macaron shells are still the only macaron shells that I can get to turn out well a reliably. So, all of my flavor combinations were always based around a chocolate macaron shell. To date, one of the favorite combinations among my friends is the chocolate macaron shells with coffee ice cream. So, mocha!
I have had many requests for the recipe, and it’s been sitting on the shelf for a while. Truth be told, I kept making the macaron ice cream sandwiches with the intention of photographing the process for the blog post. But, I somehow always end up forgetting to take pictures. Macarons and ice cream are both fairly time-sensitive recipes that require use of both hands, which makes photographing difficult.
Be warned, these aren’t really something that you can make on a whim or spur of the moment. This requires some planning, since the ice cream has to be sufficiently set before you can begin. The good thing is that, since it’s ice cream, you can make it way in advance and plan to make the macarons up to a few days afterwards. Or, you can use store-bought ice cream, like a chump. But, you’re not a chump. You are all about doing everything from scratch, or you wouldn’t even be here, right!?
So, here we go! You start by making the ice cream, preferably at least a day in advance.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk some egg yolks and sugar until light in color. Set aside.
Heat the milk and coffee granules in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the milk starts to simmer, remove from the heat and slowly add the hot milk mixture to the egg yolk and sugar mixture, about ¼ cup at a time, whisking constantly. Once about half of the hot liquid had been added to the egg yolks, pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture, whisking the entire time.
Return to the stove and continue cooking, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Pour through a fine mesh strainer (this ensures a perfectly smooth mixture) into a medium bowl with the heavy cream. Add the vanilla extract and stir until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled. You can help the ice cream along by putting the bowl into another bowl filled with ice water and stirring the mixture every 30 minutes or so.
Once the custard has chilled, freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Pour the frozen ice cream into a 13″ x 9″ lined with aluminum foil (heavy-duty if you have it), cover, then freeze until the ice cream hardens.
You can make any chocolate macaron batter that you like, but Chowhound’s recipe has given me great results. The important thing here is the size of your macaron shells. Take whatever cookie/biscuit cutter that you are going to use for your ice cream sandwiches and trace out circles on a piece of parchment big enough to fit your baking pan. I went one step further and made a template sized for my baking pan, then took it to Kinkos to have it printed and laminated to use over and over again. Considering how often I have been making these, it was definitely a worthwhile investment. A 2 ¼” circle is a pretty good size for an ice cream sandwich, but you can choose whatever size you wish. I find that the baking time is the same for ice cream sandwich sized macaron shells as it is for standard sized macaron shells, but do check them for doneness and adjust baking time as needed.
When the macaron shells are baked and cooled, you can start assembling your ice cream sandwiches. Pair up your macaron shells and place them on a tray. Take your cookie or biscuit cutter and cut a circle of ice cream out of the pan, then place it over a flat side of a macaron shell and top with another macaron shell to form a sandwich. Repeat the process until you run out of macaron shells, working quickly so that the ice cream doesn’t get too soft to work with. Scoop the leftover ice cream into an airtight container and store in the freezer. Or, just eat it right out of the pan. Your choice.
Store them in an airtight container and freeze until ready to consume. I normally let them sit at least overnight, but a few hours should be enough. I also rarely have any left more than a week or so.
Next stop: heaven.
It seems like a lot of work, but the hardest part is getting your macarons to come out properly. If you’ve already mastered macaron-making, then this should be no problem. Don’t be afraid. If I can do it, anyone can!
Mocha Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches
- 1 batch of chocolate macaron batter (recommended recipe here)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 heaping tablespoons instant coffee granules
- 6 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is light in color. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat the milk and coffee granules over medium heat until the coffee has dissolved and the mixture is about to come to a boil. Remove from heat and slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, whisking constantly. Once about 1/3 of the mixture has been added, pour the egg yolk mixture into the remaining hot milk mixture in the saucepan. Make sure you keep stirring!
Pour the heavy cream into a medium-sized bowl, then return the milk mixture to the heat. Continue cooking the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl that contains the cream. Add the vanilla extract and stir gently until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is cold.
Remove the bowl with the custard mixture from the refrigerator and freeze the custard according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Pour the soft ice cream into a foil lined 13″ x 9″ pan and spread evenly. Cover and freeze for 4 hours or until the ice cream is firm.
While the ice cream is freezing, take the macaron batter and transfer it to a piping bag. Pipe the macaron batter into circles of the size that you wish your ice cream sandwiches to be (I recommend 2 ¼”), then rest and bake according to the recipe’s directions. Allow to cool completely before beginning the assembly process.
To assemble the ice cream sandwiches, pair up the macaron shells, then remove the pan of ice cream from the freezer. Place one macaron per pair flat side up. Using a biscuit cutter that is the same size as the macaron shells, cut out a round of ice cream. Place a round of ice cream on the flat side of the macaron shell, then top with the other macaron shell. Repeat the process until you are either out of macaron shells or out of ice cream, working quickly to keep the ice cream from getting too soft (if this happens, put the pan back in the freezer until the ice cream firms up again). Transfer the ice cream sandwiches to an airtight container and freeze for 4 hours or until ready to serve.