The most common question I get from all the aunties and uncles who are aware that I blog about recipes: ‘When are you opening a bakeshop?’
It’s not that I’ve never asked myself the same. Believe me when I say I pondered this question at great length especially when my blog began hitting its groove last year. At the time, I was certain I wasn’t equipped for such a venture. Not even for the homebaker/small batch kind of business. I was still learning things in my own way, trying to get a feel of how to make whatever crosses my mind.
But the longer I blog the more I became sure that my goal in starting The Tummy Train was not to train myself into becoming known as a self-taught kitchen whiz who managed to open a successful business. Of course this could change, but right now I can say for sure that I don’t want to open a bakery. Not even after all that I’ve learned so far.
What I want is to just keep sharing food-related things that delight me and that I feel others will enjoy; to keep encouraging others to pick up that spatula and cook or bake. To me, sharing my experiences in kitchen successes and failures is a way to help others attain the same level of self-confidence that I now have.
And another thing, I feel that it would be a worthy cause to expose people of the different cuisines around the world, because if there’s one thing that connects us I think it’s food. It makes me giddy to think that friendship and camaraderie can be formed through food. I guess maybe it’s why I don’t get tired of all this, and why I’ve decided to work hard on that aspect from now on. More international recipes and more features about restaurants all around the globe. How does that sound?
But going back to the question, if I ever did open some sort of sweet shop, I don’t want to sell random breads and pastries. I think it would be rather nice to open an ice cream sandwich store. I’d fill my menu with some of the most interesting ice cream and sandwich combinations known to man, and I’m certain I’d have a blast coming up with all the flavours. Writing about it already sets my mind ablaze.
And while I didn’t come up with this particular combo, I found it so interesting that I knew I had to make it to see what it was like. I’ve made a bunch of ice cream sandwiches that lean towards the classics, so this is an exciting and more unique ice cream sandwich recipe for me!
So how does that joke go again? A cob of corn, some bacon, and a cup of cream enter the kitchen…
…And out comes a sandwich that has sweet corn ice cream inside and bacon sugar cookies as its shell.
I admit this pairing wouldn’t have been something that I’d thought of in a random brainstorming session. But then I came across this Molly YehXTwo Red Bowls collaboration, and the idea of it is as great as I expected from these two wonderful bloggers. They released a recipe for sweet corn ice cream smushed between two bacon sugar cookies. Such geniuses!
As I set out to prepare for this recipe, my brother Jason kept complaining when I told him I was making sweet corn ice cream.
‘But I don’t like corn,’ He said with a small pout.
I told him I’ll make him another flavour soon. Something he likes, which seems to be anything other than corn. I love sweet corn. A favourite of mine are corns from Laguna, a province in the Philippines that is south of the capital. They’re juicy and sweet and crunchy and fresh, and I just looooove taking bite after popping bite of that beautiful yellow cob. And hey, yellow is my favourite colour too! Might be why I’m even more drawn to corn than others in my family…? It’s both sad and ridiculous how I am the only one who feels remotely excited about corn.
I did change some things from the original recipe especially when it came to the cookies, but the ice cream formula is more or less the same as the original. I didn’t think to tweak it because it’s adapted from Jeni Britton Bauer’s tried-and-tested formula. A formula I myself love and find so clever. It’s an eggless ice cream base recipe that seems pretty foolproof.
The sweet corn ice cream could use a little more sweet corn flavour, so I would probably either use two ears of corn for next time, or leave it to steep in the ice cream base overnight in the fridge before churning. I found that the flavour of the corn intensifies after being frozen overnight even though it was already in ice cream form. I don’t know about you but I found the ice cream to be quite pretty, what with the yellow kernels popping up everywhere against the white ice cream base.
The bacon cookies were easy-peasy. They aren’t the same colour as the original, probably because I discarded some of the liquid that cooked the bacon through. And really, I didn’t get much bacon fat after cooking, which is odd I guess. Nonetheless the cookies are really good!
I’m a fan of adding bacon to cookies because the savoury contrasts well with sweet, even though the bacon has been caramelized beforehand. The recommended type of bacon to use is applewood smoked bacon, and I’m guessing that also has a darker colouring than the regular bacon I used. The original recipe has the dough rolled into chopped bacon, but I preferred adding the bacon right into the cookies for a bacon-y surprise inside.
Bacon and Sweet Corn Ice Cream Sandwich
Makes 16 to 18 sandwiches
For the Sweet corn ice cream
- 2 cups milk
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 ear of sweet corn, or 2 for a stronger corn flavour
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons 43 grams cream cheese, softened
For the Caramelized bacon
- 227 grams bacon, applewood smoked is recommended
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
For the Bacon sugar cookies
- 2½ cups flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ cups sugar
- ⅓ cup 85 grams cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup reserved bacon fat, or whatever is left over after cooking
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Before beginning the recipe, don't forget to freeze your ice cream bowl according to manufacturer's instructions.
Make the ice cream
- 1. To make the slurry, in a small bowl stir together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of the milk, and set aside. Cut the kernels off the corn cob and cut the cob into large chunks.
- 2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the remaining milk, cream, sugar, syrup, and salt. Add in the corn kernels and cob, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring continuously. If the mixture becomes too frothy and threatens to boil over, partially move the saucepan halfway off the heat and continuing to cook. (If it still threatens to boil over remove from heat until the mixture calms.)
- 3. After 4 minutes, add in the prepared slurry. Return to a boil and cook for about 2 minutes more, stirring continuously until thickened. Remove the cob, then pour the hot mixture into a large bowl.
- 4. Place cream cheese in a bowl over an ice bath. Pour in a small amount of the just-cooked hot milk mixture. Whisk until smooth, and then pour in and combine the remaining milk mixture. Allow mixture to cool over the ice bath and then transfer to an airtight container to cool in the fridge for 4 hours to overnight. (Alternatively, you can pour the mixture into a plastic bag, seal, and submerge in a bowl of ice water until chilled.)
- 5. Once cold, pour mixture into an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's instructions. After churning, freeze in a storage container while you make the cookies -- at least 2 to 3 hours.
Caramelize the bacon
- 6. Cook bacon until crispy and reserve the fat, then chop bacon into small pieces. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set it aside.
- 7. Combine 1/2 cup of chopped bacon (extra can be snacked on or saved for garnish), sugar, and water in a non-stick pan. Cook over medium-high heat until caramel brown, stirring often to prevent burning. Remove from heat and add the baking soda. Pour the mixture onto the parchment-lined baking pan and let cool.
- 8. Once cool, chop into tiny chunks. Set aside while you make the cookies.
Make the cookies
- 9. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a pan with parchment or a silpat.
- 10. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- 11. In a large bowl, combine sugar, cream cheese, bacon fat, and melted butter. Whisk until mixture forms a smooth paste. Whisk in the oil, egg, milk, and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth.
- 12. Using a spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Fold in the caramelized bacon just until combined. The dough will be soft but still thick enough to scoop. (If not, refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes.)
- 13. Portion out about 1 tablespoon of dough and place on prepared baking sheet a few inches apart.
- 14. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are just set. Since the cookies will be used for ice cream sandwiches, it's best that they are soft so they won't turn too crunchy or hard once frozen. Cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- 15. Once cookies have cooled completely, remove ice cream from freezer and let soften slightly. Meanwhile, pair similar-sized cookies together.
- 16. Place a scoop of ice cream on the bottom side of one cookie and cover with its partner. Squeeze the ice cream sandwich gently to press them together. Repeat with remaining cookies and ice cream.
- 16. Place assembled ice cream sandwiches on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, then replace in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours, or until ice cream has hardened. Wrap individually in plastic wrap or parchment and enjoy!
This is like a bejewelled ice cream sandwich isn’t it? Red rubies embedded in the cookies, yellow stones in the ice cream.