Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Gluten-free chocolate (or carob) peppermint ice cream sandwiches for Valentine's Day

We still have snow on the ground but Valentine's Day is coming. But today is cold and blustery again. I'm sure hoping spring is almost here especially after the long winter we've had in Idaho with nearly double our normal snowfall. I'm looking forward to Valentine's Day more than usual this year as a great way to celebrate friends and loved ones, and the coming of spring.

Here's what pumpkin does on a cold winter day.

Today I'm craving chocolate and mint. Give me anything with chocolate and mint, and I'll be your valentine. Actually give me mint chocolate any day of the week. Carob will do the trick too. I modified a recipe from a cookbook, called Eating for IBS, by Heather Von Vorous, for peppermint ice cream sandwiches to make them gluten-free and egg-free. They are absolutely delicious, easy to make, and safe if you have digestive issues. I have to hide them from the non-allergic folks in my household because they would disappear faster than you can say, "Yummy!"

Gluten-free Chocolate (or Carob)Peppermint Ice Cream Sandwiches

(makes about 4-6 sandwiches, depending on how large you make them)

For the "ice cream:"

1/2 cup granulated organic sugar
1 T. tapioca starch (or corn starch)
2 1/3 cups vanilla or plain rice milk (or soy milk)
egg replacer for 2 eggs (or egg whites from two eggs)
1 tsp. peppermint extract

Prepare the egg replacer, whisking until foamy. Set aside. In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar and tapioca starch. Then whisk in the rice milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently, and boil whisking constantly for one minute. Remove from heat. Whisk several spoonfuls of hot rice milk mixture into the egg replacer. Then whisk the egg mixture back into the saucepan of hot rice milk. Return the pan to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture returns to a boil. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Place in the refrigerator to chill until freezing in an ice cream maker. Or as an alternative, freeze the mixture in the freezer and remove to let it thaw slightly just before assembling the sandwiches. Either procedure yields a tasty treat. Note: You also can mix in some "safe " chocolate shavings or mini-carob or chocolate chips to the ice cream mixture just before it freezes.

For the chocolate (or carob) mint sandwiches:

1 cup brown rice flour
2/3 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (or use carob powder)
1 tsp. g/f baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil (your choice)
1 tsp. mint (I really love mint but if you don't use slightly less)
egg replacer for 4 eggs (or egg whites from 4 eggs), nice and foamy

Sift first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, and whisk together until thoroughly combined. In a small bowl, whisk together oil and egg replacer. Then add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and stir until well combined. The original recipe recommended covering and refrigerating the mixture until firm. I skipped this step and it works fine.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray the parchment paper with cooking spray. Drop the dough by tablespoons, evenly spaced on the cookie sheets. Dampen your hands with cold water and flatten the balls into nice round cookies about 1/4-inch thick. You can make them bigger if you want "large" sandwiches. Bake 8-9 minutes until set but not hard. If cookies are large, they may take longer to bake. Keep an eye on them as they are baking. Remove the cookies from the pan to cool.

To assemble the ice cream sandwiches:

Soften the peppermint ice cream slightly. Spread some between two cookies. The filling should be at least twice as thick as the cookies. But I won't tell if you make it thicker. Press the cookies together gently. Put the sandwiches in a container and freeze until firm. When hard, wrap them individually in plastic wrap for storage. To serve, remove from the freezer a few minutes early to allow them to soften a bit.

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