Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Double Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies {gluten-free}

Fudgy, gluten-free brownie cookies envelope homemade ice cream swirled with bourbon roasted cherries. Adapted from Alternative Baker: Reinventing Dessert with Gluten-Free Grains and Flours.

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Double Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies {gluten-free}

My cookbook Alternative Baker hits the shops in less than two months! To celebrate, I’m sharing a favorite recipe from the book today: fudgy brownie-like cookies threaded with chopped chocolate and buckwheat flour and topped with flaky salt. A few small tweaks make these the ultimate vessel for roasted cherry ice cream – we can’t keep our hands off ’em.

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Double Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies {gluten-free}

Long-time readers may recognize these as the Über Chocolate Cookies I posted what seems like ages ago, long before Über meant “sketchy car app” and just meant “super” in German. Simpler times. The base recipe hails from Cook’s Country, the sister publication to Cook’s Illustrated, a.k.a America’s test kitchen, and relies on whole eggs whipped with sugar to create an airy base loaded with chocolate and butter, with crackly tops and molten middles.

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Double Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies {gluten-free}

I’ve made hundreds, if not thousands, of these cookies over the years, not only in my home but at a bakery where I used to work, and at a summer music camp where Jay and I bake every summer. They have a cult following among the gluten-free chocophiles in my life (of which there are more than you might expect…)

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Double Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies {gluten-free}

I updated and streamlined the recipe when testing these for Alternative Baker and added a few of my own twists. First, the original called for both unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate. But sometimes when I made them, the batter would become too firm, breaking a bit from poor emulsion. I blamed too much chocolate and not enough liquids to create a stable network. Out went the unsweetened chocolate, which also had the happy effect of simplifying the recipe and enabling me to make these anytime; I don’t always have unsweetened chocolate at hand. I nixed the espresso powder and swapped the rice flour for buckwheat, whose roasty flavor is perfectly pitched with chocolate, and I added a pinch of flaky salt to the tops. And just for fun, I added fresh bergamot zest to the cookies in the book.

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Double Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies {gluten-free}Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Double Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies {gluten-free}

When my agent, Danielle, and I initially pitched the book to our publisher, we had a working title of Buckwheat & Bergamot which embodied the book’s theme of alternative grains paired with seasonal fruit desserts. Bergamots, the flavoring in Earl Grey, are a citrus fruit that come into season mid-winter. Their zest has the complex flavors of floral citrus notes tinged with bitterness, similar to grapefruit but more musky. It pairs beautifully with chocolate (like in these truffles) The title eventually changed, but the buckwheat bergamot cookies stayed; the combination of buckwheat, bergamot, and chocolate is pretty out of this world.

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Double Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies {gluten-free}

During summer when bergamots are long gone, chocolate and buckwheat team up with bourbon-roasted cherries in these killer ice cream sandwiches. Sarah helped brainstorm the way to thinner, softer cookies that stay chewy when frozen: more sugar and less chocolate.

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Double Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies {gluten-free}

The ice cream is a simplified version of this recipe, a favorite of my friend Lea who messaged me one night, “A friend asked me what I would choose as my last meal, and this ice cream made the cut.” Lea is one of the most particular eaters I know, and a highly talented cook and baker herself, so this came as the highest praise.

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Double Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies {gluten-free}

To make the ice cream, fresh cherries are roasted in sugar and bourbon, pitted and chopped, and mixed with more bourbon. This process releases water and condenses flavor, making a chunky compote that stays soft when frozen into a vanilla ice cream base. When sandwiched between these super-chocolatey cookies, the effect is downright addictive.

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Double Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies {gluten-free}

Fudgy cookies give way to crisp chunks of chocolate contrasting rich ice cream, tangy cherries, and crisp flakes of salt. The buckwheat is more prominent in freshly baked cookies; here, it takes a backseat, adding subtle depth to these icy treats.

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Double Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies {gluten-free}

Ice cream sandwiches are always a process when you’re making everything from scratch, but everything including the assembled sandwiches can be made up to several days ahead. Additionally, you can totally cheat and use store-bought ice cream; just about any flavor is good with chocolate cookies. Or if fresh cherries elude you, roast frozen ones, or skip the roasting and use drained, jarred cherries.

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Double Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies {gluten-free}

These cookies could take on an army of ice creams, for instance:

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Double Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies {gluten-free}

More sneak peaks of Alternative Baker coming soon; for now, feel free to check out AlternativeBaker.com for more info or to preorder a copy. Happy baking!

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Double Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies {gluten-free}

All the ice cream sandwiches:

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Double Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies from Alternative Baker {gluten-free}
Yields: 12 (2.5-inch) ice cream sandwiches
 
Fudgy, gluten-free brownie cookies envelope homemade ice cream swirled with bourbon roasted cherries. Cookies adapted from Alternative Baker: Reinventing Dessert with Gluten-Free Grains and Flours.
Ingredients
Cherries:
  • 3 cups (430 g / 1 scant pound) sweet red cherries, stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons (25 g) organic granulated cane sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) bourbon, divided use
Ice Cream:
  • 1¼ cups (295 ml) whole milk
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
  • ½ cup (100 g) organic granulated cane sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1½ cups (350 ml) cold heavy cream
Cookies:
  • 6 tbsp (85 g) unsalted butter
  • 10 ounces (345 g) bittersweet chocolate (60–70% cacao mass), chopped (1¾ cups), plus several chunks for the tops of the cookies (divided use)
  • 1⁄2 cup + 2 tablespoons (75 g) buckwheat flour
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup (150 g) organic granulated cane sugar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Flaky salt such as Maldon, for the tops
Instructions
Cherries:
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400ºF. Spread the cherries in a single layer in a small, rimmed baking dish or pan. Sprinkle with the sugar and 2 tablespoons of the bourbon. Roast the cherries in the oven, giving the pan a shuffle every 5 or 10 minutes, until they are oozing juice and beginning to collapse and look like prunes, 20-30 minutes. Watch them closely so that the juices don’t burn. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  2. When the cherries are cool enough to handle, pit them (I do this with my fingers, breaking each cherry in half and removing the pit). Be sure to save all the precious juice. Chop the cherries coarsely – you want them in roughly quarters or eighths. (This can be messy, so wear an apron!) Combine the chopped cherries, their juice, and the remaining tablespoon of bourbon in a jar and chill.
Ice Cream:
  1. In a medium saucepan, warm the milk with the vanilla bean pod and scrapings, sugar, and salt over medium heat until it steams and small bubbles form on the bottom of the pan, swirling occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat, cover the pot, and let steep 10-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place the egg yolks in a medium bowl, and set the bowl on a damp towel. Place the heavy cream in another heatproof medium bowl and set a fine mesh strainer over the top.
  3. Re-warm the milk until steamy hot. Whisking constantly, dribble the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks. Pour the mixture back into the pot and set it over a low flame. Stir the custard constantly with a heat-proof silicone spatula, scraping the bottom and corners of the pot well, until the custard thickens slightly and/or registers 170º on an instant-read thermometer. This will only take a few minutes.
  4. Immediately strain the custard into the cold cream. Return the vanilla pod to the custard, and chill until very cold, at least 4 hours and (preferably) overnight or up to 2 days.
  5. Remove the vanilla pod from the ice cream base (you can rinse it, let it air-dry, and stick it in a bottle of booze or a jar of sugar). Place the ice cream base in the freezer for 30 minutes to get it really cold, stirring once halfway through. Place the cherries in the freezer, too.
  6. Churn the ice cream base in your ice cream maker until it is the texture of a thick milkshake. Gently swirl in the chilled bourbon cherries and their liquid. I like to do this by hand with a spoon, so that the ice cream retains a marbled look of burgundy streaks on white, rather than becoming uniformly pink. Scrape the ice cream into a storage container and freeze until firm, 2-3 hours. For longer storage, press a piece of parchment paper directly to the surface of the ice cream.
Cookies:
  1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Line 2 rimless cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place the butter in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan set over the lowest possible heat. Add 6 ounces (170 g / 1 cup) of the chopped chocolate and melt together, stirring frequently to prevent the chocolate from scorching. Continue cooking until the mixture is pleasantly warm, but not super hot, to the touch. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Whisk together the buckwheat flour and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, place the eggs, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip on medium-high speed until the mixture triples in volume and is very light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and stir in the vanilla until just combined, then the warm (bot not too hot!) chocolate/butter mixture. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a flexible silicone spatula to fold in the remaining 4 ounces (115 g / ¾ cup) chopped chocolate.
  4. If the batter is very runny, let it cool for a few minutes until it firms to the consistency of a thick brownie batter. Use a #40 spring-loaded ice cream scoop or 2 spoons to drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them at least 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Top each cookie with a few chunks of chocolate and a few flecks of flaky salt.
  5. Bake the cookies until puffed and cracked and the edges are set, 7–10 minutes, rotating the pans front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. Let cool completely on the pans, then transfer to a smaller baking sheet lined with parchment paper, placing the cookies in a single layer to as not to mar their crackly tops, and freeze until ready to assemble.
Sandwiches:
  1. Let the ice cream soften until scoopable, 5 minutes, then use a spring-loaded #24 ice cream scoop to form rounded scoops (about ⅓ cup each) of ice cream, placing each one on a chilled baking sheet lined with parchment in the freezer as you go. Chill the scoops until firm, 20 minutes.
  2. Remove the cookies from the freezer and divide into pairs of similarly-sized cookies, Then form sandwiches with the scoops of ice cream, gently pressing down on the cookies to squish the ice cream scoops (you may need to let the scoops soften so the cookies don't break when you press them down). Return each sandwich to the freezer when shaped.
  3. Store the sandwiches in an airtight container in the freezer, or wrap each in plastic wrap and store in a zip-top bag. They should keep for at least 1 month.

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Double Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies {gluten-free}

34 thoughts on “Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Double Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies {gluten-free}”

  1. your photos. seriously, seriously stunning Alanna – I especially love the one of the ice cream sandwiches sitting propped up in the loaf pan, tucked in by the odd cherry, just waiting for someone to come in and grab it! Could so do one of those right now, even though it is winter here. Love the sound of the rich chocolate cookie outer too <3

  2. Thank you so much my husband’s birthday is fast approaching & this is his special treat. I really appreciate GF recipes without Xanthan Gum , carageenan or guar gum as his doc advised him to steer clear of these additives. This looks amazing!!

  3. Dear Alanna, these photos are absolutely beautiful and these cookies ice cream sandwiches pure perfection, craving them so much now! :-) Looking forward to your book that will for sure find the place on my shelf and in my kitchen!

  4. I love those glossy cookies. Now I am dying to try the combination of buckwheat and bergamot. I love the heady aroma of earl grey and I can picture it all together here in these sandwiches! Yum!! Glad you shared this sneak peak with us during cherry season.

  5. I’m super excited for your book because I just know every recipe is going to be something I’d never think to do… especially as someone who doesn’t make desserts very often, I’m psyched to think outside the box a bit when it comes to baked goods. These ice cream sandwiches… well… I’m so into the cherries and the chocolate, but it’s the buckwheat that has piqued my interest! Bet it adds a lovely flavor and texture to the cookies.

  6. You have no idea how excited I am to have a copy of this cookbook! I will bake my way through it.

    And folks, I know firsthand just how delicious these ice cream sandos are – I ate three in one day. Oops;)

  7. OMG! How exciting!!! I cant wait to get your book in my hands! And this ice cream sandwich looks so good! I cant wait to try these cookies !! I am a huge fan of buckwheat flour. Never used this flour to make cookies! yaya!

  8. I’ve been dying over photos of these since you posted this one, so gorgeous Alanna! All the cherries in my house have been getting eaten up by the handful, but this may cause me to actually do something with them (: I am SO looking forward to getting my copy of your book, it will be a baking fest over here once I do! xo

  9. buckwheat and bergamont… yes! i would have loved that title too. i’m falling for these ice cream sandwiches like mad, and i appreciate all your info on how you slightly tweaked the recipe for the cookies after many sheets of them coming out of your oven. in the perfect world, these would be sitting in my freezer right now. xo

  10. I’m not sure how you stop eating these – I can’t stop looking at them!! Love all the tweaks you made to make these ice cream ready. Chocolate + buckwheat, cherries + bourbon, just love it, lady! xo.

  11. Congratulations on the pre-release of your book, Alanna and sharing this sublime recipe with us. Bourbon and cherries are a favorite combination of mine in ice cream. I love how you’ve roasted the cherries here, creating a luscious swirl throughout the cream. The idea of adding more sugar and less chocolate so that the cookies don’t turn into rocks in the freezer is so smart.. I’ve run into the freezing cookie issue, when all I really wanted was a soft one, to minimize squeeze-out! These look so delicious Alanna! Looking forward to your book!

  12. We’re loving cherries in our house at the moment! Even the cat starts pawing for them! It’s such a shame that the British cherry season is so short. Definitely want to try this recipe before the season ends! :)

  13. I made the cookies today, and the buckwheat flour really let’s the chocolate sing! I reduced to one egg in hopes of a crunchy rather than brownie-like texture, but they were still soft and cakey – perfect in my book, but my boyfriend prefers crunchy cookies. Do you think it’s possible to achieve in a gluten-free cookie such as this? Thanks for any thoughts and tips you might have to share.

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