As tough as it was for me to find a name for these astonishingly delicious treats (that title is almost more of a mouthful than the actual cookie sandwich), the path from idea to reality was a surprisingly simple one. As often as I have ideas about dishes and flavor combinations I think would be great, only to have them never really work out in the end, no matter my efforts (there might be an entire article I can write about this phenomenon, which I may dub “Foods that Never Were”), it is always a great boon to my cooking inclinations when I can manage to make something work itself out on the first go around. These frozen yogurt sandwiches came into being at just the right time.
It doesn’t take much to make the people of Portland move from cold weather doldrums to sheer, unadulterated excitement over the promise of a warm, sunny day. All I have to do is hear someone casually mention that it might not rain for a few days and my brain wanders over to thoughts of picnics, hammocks, and tall, ice-filled glasses, their sides mottled by drops of condensation. If it seems the warm weather might take a trip north of 70 degrees, I start to hover around the cabinet where I keep the ice cream maker, waiting in earnest for a cue—any cue—that will allow me to unearth my old friend and start welcoming the cold treats we so crave on warm days.
Striking the perfect balance of cool and creamy against chewy and crunchy, I can’t think of a better invitation to celebrate summer than having a batch of these ice cream sandwiches sitting in your freezer, waiting for the perfect moment to accompany you in a lounge chair or on a picnic blanket. The tropical notes of the lime and coconut yogurt make fast friends with the wonderful ginger bite of the cookies that envelop it, making this an ice cream sandwich for the ages. As an added bonus, and as any fellow fan of the frozen sandwich will hear and, no doubt, applaud, the wonderfully chewy ginger cookies that hold this sandwich together are sturdy enough to keep their shape throughout the entire life of the sandwich, but never do they impede one’s efforts to bite through the sandwich. Crisp, yet with gentle give, they are the perfect bookends to an equally perfect treat.
Coconut Lime Frozen Yogurt and Chewy Ginger Cookie Sandwiches Recipe
Some of you may remember these ginger cookies from a post a few months ago. That’s how I remembered them, and that’s how I came to conclude that, with their fantastic chewiness and great ginger flavor, they’d be the perfect match for this ice cream treat. The recipe for the cookies is the same here, only the size of each cookie is obviously larger, and the baking time adjusted accordingly.
A note on the yogurt choice: you’ve got to go Greek yogurt on this one. The creaminess and texture of Greek yogurt are unparalleled here, and really make the frozen yogurt that much more luxurious. If you’re afraid of the fat content in Greek yogurt (which is fine, it’s a perfectly reasonable concern), I’ll have you know that I accidentally ended up with non-fat Greek yogurt when I was making this (did you even know that there was such a thing as non-fat Greek yogurt? I had no idea), and I never even suspected it was fat-free until I was pitching the yogurt cups in the recycling bin later on in the day and noticed the designation on the label. The taste gave nothing away. So, Greek yogurt is a must, and full or non-fat are both fine.
Coconut Lime Frozen Yogurt
18 ounces (just a tad north of 2 cups) plain Greek yogurt
1 heaping tablespoon finely grated fresh lime zest
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
In a large bowl, or in a large measuring cup, combine all ingredients. Whisk vigorously together for 1 minute, thoroughly combining. Allow the mixture to rest for about 5 minutes to really let the sugar dissolve, then vigorously whisk once more for at least a minute, making sure that everything is fully incorporated.
Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. When yogurt has frozen, remove from ice cream maker and pack into a freezer-safe tub. Place frozen yogurt in freezer for at least an hour to allow it to firm up just a bit more before assembling ice cream sandwiches.
Chewy Ginger Thin Cookies
¾ cup unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 beaten egg
¼ cup molasses (dark or light are both fine)
1 ½ cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground powdered ginger
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg, and molasses. Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, powdered ginger, and nutmeg, and sift together directly onto the butter mixture. Stir until smooth. Add the fresh ginger, then mix to combine.
Using a pastry bag or a Ziploc bag with a bottom corner cut off (the dough is extremely sticky, so trying to portion it out with a spoon won’t work well at all), pipe or squeeze out cookies into circles roughly 3 inches across onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place each cookie about 1 inch apart, lest they stick together as they spread during baking.
Bake cookies on the center rack of the oven for 8 to 9 minutes, until the edges of the cookies have just begun to appear slightly darkened and dry. While the cookies are baking, pipe another batch of cookies onto your second prepared baking sheet.
Cool baked cookies on their parchment sheet placed on a wire rack. When cookies have cooled on a rack for about 5 minutes are and no longer gooey, you can slip the cookies right off of the parchment and reuse the parchment for another batch of cookies.
The desired consistency for these cookies is super chewy but ever-so-slightly firm (they will be very bendy when they come out of the oven, and will become soft-firm when cooled). If you find your cookies are persistently floppy even after having sufficiently cooled, increase the baking time of subsequent batches by 1 minute.
To Assemble and Wrap Frozen Yogurt Sandwiches:
Allow cookies to cool completely. Place a cookie on a piece of plastic wrap. Scoop desired amount of frozen yogurt on top of cookie, leaving a bit of open space around the edges of each cookie to allow for settling. Place another cookie on top of the frozen yogurt, and gently press down until the frozen yogurt settles a bit and the top cookie starts to adhere. Wrap the plastic wrap around the sandwich and place in the freezer to allow to firm up a bit, ideally for a couple of hours. There is, of course, nothing stopping you from eating a frozen yogurt sandwich as soon as you assemble it, but allowing the sandwiches to rest in the freezer for a bit really does help them keep their shape while you eat them.
Assemble all sandwiches until yogurt is gone. You will have cookies left over, but this is a good thing.
Makes 12-15 sandwiches, depending on how much yogurt you desire to put in between the cookies.