I'm not sure why, but heart-shaped versions of just about any food are so much more fun to eat than the plain old round or square or rectangular originals. They're just so cuuuute! In fact, it's this abundance of heart-shaped treats that's always made Valentine's Day one of my favorite holidays. Even when I was young and cynical and liking Valentine's Day was hopelessly uncool, I stocked up on red and pink foil-wrapped chocolate hearts to eat in secret (yum!). Anyway, now that I'm older and still cynical but don't care about being thought of as uncool, these Valentine's Day Ice Cream Sandwiches are the perfect heart-shaped dessert to make. Yes, I love them! Because they are shaped like hearts! Whether or not you like Valentine's Day, I promise you'll love them, too.
• 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup cocoa powder
• 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 tablespoon whole milk
• 1 pint strawberry ice cream or frozen yogurt (or just choose your favorite flavor -- Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia works well)
1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, vanilla, and sugar. Add eggs and milk, and mix until combined. Add reserved flour mixture, and mix on low speed until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula at least once. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a flat disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and chill until firm, about 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface; use an offset spatula to unstick the dough every few turns of the rolling pin. Roll dough to an 1/8-inch thickness. Cut dough using a variety of heart-shaped cookie cutters from 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter, making sure there is a top and bottom cookie for each sandwich. Place hearts on a parchment-lined baking sheet; chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator; use a fork to prick holes all over the surface of the cookies. Bake until firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
3. Using half the cookies, spoon softened strawberry ice cream about 1/2 inch thick on each underside. Place matching cookie on top of ice cream, top-side facing out. Transfer immediately to freezer to harden; repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve directly from the freezer. Sandwiches can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for 3 to 4 days.
Image via wearenotmartha.com
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