These gingerbread pumpkin ice cream sandwiches are spectacular. And I can say that without sounding self-congratulatory, because this is not my recipe. It comes from the kitchen of Alanna Taylor-Tobin, author of the new cookbook Alternative Baker, and all around fabulous gal.
I’ve probably experimented with alternative flours much more than the average baker; I just don’t share many recipes on the blog since they don’t always seem to gel with my audience.
What I find fascinating about Alanna’s cookbook is that it has opened my eyes to how much I still don’t know. Gluten-free baking is such a science! I wound up trying two new alternative flours for this recipe: sweet white rice flour and mesquite flour. They both show up frequently in the book, and I really enjoyed using them. Especially the mesquite flour. It’s extremely finely milled, and it adds an incredible yet subtle smokiness to these cookies.
I made a few minor tweaks to the recipe, such as swapping out organic granulated cane sugar for regular granulated sugar. If you don’t want to experiment with alternative flours and gluten-free baking, I get it. The flours can be pricy, and it’s not for everyone. You can certainly swap out the cookies with your favorite chewy ginger molasses cookies for a tasty ice cream sandwich that uses more traditional ingredients. But I highly recommend you give these a try. Jeff and I could not put them down!
- 6 ounces (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ⅔ cup + ½ cup granulated sugar, divided
- ¼ cup blackstrap molasses
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup (155 grams) sweet white rice flour
- 1 cup (125 grams) mesquite flour
- ¼ cup (25 grams) cornstarch
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (note change)
- ½ cup finely chopped crystalized ginger
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 4 cinnamon sticks, crushed
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 cup roasted pumpkin puree (or unsweetened canned puree)
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and ⅔ cup sugar together until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Turn the speed down to medium-low and add the molasses, followed by the egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, all the way to the bottom.
- Place a fine mesh strainer over the bowl and sift in the sweet white rice flour, mesquite flour, cornstarch, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger. Stir in the salt and crystalized ginger. Cover and chill the dough until firm, at least 1 hour. (Note: can be made up to 3 days in advance).
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the remaining ½ cup sugar in a shallow bowl.
- Scoop the dough into 1-inch diameter balls, roll in the sugar, and place on the prepared baking sheet 2-3 inches apart. Bake the sheets one at a time until the centers are soft and cracked and the edges are golden brown, 10-14 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container.
- In a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan, heat the milk, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla pod and seeds, and salt over medium heat until it begins to gently simmer. Remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes.
- Once the mixture has steeped, place the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Reheat the milk until it’s steaming, then slowly whisk it into the egg yolks to prevent scrambling. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture reaches 170 degrees F. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and whisk in the pumpkin puree, brown sugar and nutmeg.
- Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly against the liquid to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until very cold, preferably overnight.
- Prepare the ice cream in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer instructions, then place in the freezer to continue firming up to a scoop-able consistency, approximately 2 hours.
- To prepare the sandwiches, allow the ice cream to soften for several minutes. Place a small baking sheet in the freezer. Working swiftly, scoop approximately ¼ cup of ice cream onto the flat side of one cookie, then top with a second cookie, gently pressing to flatten the ice cream slightly. Transfer to the baking sheet in the freezer, and continue preparing the remaining ice cream sandwiches. For long term storage, place the sandwiches in a large container or wrap individually for up to one month. For best results, let soften at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving.
Ingredients and instructions adapted slightly.
Shared with permission from "Alternative Baker" by Alanna Taylor-Tobin