American Traditions – SF

Posted on November 23, 2010


About a week ago, some warm weather blasted San Francisco making for perhaps the nicest weekend I’ve spent here.  We hiked around Mount Tam in shorts and a t-shirt.  In November.  And, it was hot.  Take that, NYC.

Nothing was accomplished that weekend, and it was amazing.  I spent an indulgent amount of time outdoors milling about the neighborhood and reading in Buena Vista Park.  Warm weather begets cold desserts, and I had to try Three Twins in the Lower Haight.  Ahh-mazing California Sundae (sea salt, olive oil and pistachios) on top of peanut butter and toasted almond ice cream.  The weather, the mood, everything was just right.  I had to go home immediately and get reacquainted with my ice cream machine.

Needless to say, I did not make ice cream right after gorging at Three Twins.  I do have some (very little!) self-restraint.  Fast forward to this past weekend.  Polar opposite weather.  There was a freakin’ monsoon outside followed by sun.  Followed my more rain, then thunder followed by again, more sun.  What kind of wacky winter weather is this?  Time to curl up in your snuggie by the fire with a… hot cocoa?  No… nice refreshing ice cream sandwich?  YES!  I guess manic weather begets manic desserts.

Lemon Gingersnap Ice Cream Sandwiches

Adapted from Emily Luchetti’s book, A Passion for Ice Cream

Lemon Ice Cream

Equipment: ice cream machine

¾ cup whole milk

1 ½ cup of heavy cream

Zest from 1 lemon

½ cup of sugar

4 large egg yolks

¼ tspn of kosher salt

juice from 1 lemon

Makes about 2 ½ cups of ice cream (serves about 4-6 depending on the size of your cookies)

1. Separate the yolks into a separate bowl.  Set nearby with whisk.  Save those egg whites for breakfast.

2. Combine milk, cream, lemon zest, salt and sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat.  Stir frequently until almost simmering (don’t boil).   Look, N is a lemon zesting machine.

3. Slowly pour warm milk/cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking them so that everything is homogeneous.

4. Return the combined mixture to the saucepan over medium-low heat, constantly stirring with a heatproof spatula.  My stove is really hot, so I always do this on low with a wooden spoon making sure that the eggs don’t curdle/cook.

5. Stir until the mixture lightly coats your spatula or reads 175 degrees.

6. Remove from heat and cool your saucepan in an ice bath.  Add the lemon juice.

7. Refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight.

8. Strain the mixture as you pour it into the ice cream machine.

9. Follow your ice cream machine’s instructions.

Ugly Duckling Gingersnaps

They ain’t pretty, but they are all things sugar and spice and everything nice.  For the baker who needs gingersnaps in a jiffy and can’t wait a minute longer.  WARNING!  The cookie dough is highly addictive.   You may not want to even bake any cookies.  But you should.  Because this ice cream sandwich combo is legendary.

1 cup flour

1 tspn baking soda

1 tspn each of the following: cinnamon, chili powder, allspice and cardamom

2 ½ tspn ginger

½ tspn of kosher salt

½ cup of melted or softened butter

¼ cup of white sugar

½ cup of brown sugar

2 tbspn of blackstrap molasses

1 large egg

Makes about 20 cookies

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line baking pans with parchment paper.

3. Mix all the dry goods together with a whisk (flour, baking soda, spics, salt, brown and white sugars).

4. Mix in the butter, egg and molasses.  Try really hard not to eat it all with a spoon.

5. Drop spoonfuls of the batter at least 2 inches apart from each other since the cookie will spread out in the oven.  Since this is the lazy gal’s version of gingersnaps, they will not be perfectly circular or uniform.  A little rustic.  Very special.  But I’d try to get them to be about equal in size so that you can make an ice cream sandwich.

6. Bake for about 10 minutes (if you like them a little chewier) and about 12-14 minutes (for a little crispier).

7. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.  When cooled, assemble ice cream sandwiches.


Nom, nom, nom.  Fun way to spice up an iconic dessert.  This would be fun to make in advance and bust out on a warm day.  Or on a monsoon-like day.  Whatever floats your boat.