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Few kids make it to kindergarten without having tried a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
A staple of kids' lunches for decades, peanut butter and jelly is more versatile than many might know. In fact, peanut butter and jelly can even be incorporated into dessert. Such is the case with the following recipe for "Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream Sandwiches" from Jill Lightner's "Edible Seattle: The Cookbook" (Sterling Epicure).
Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes 24 treats
For the peanut butter bread:
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (natural)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
11/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the apricot semifreddo:
2 cups chopped pitted apricots
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split
6 large egg yolks
11/2 cups heavy cream
2 9 x 13-inch baking pans
To make the peanut butter bread:
1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
2. In a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon, stir together the butter, both sugars, and the peanut butter and vanilla until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add this to the butter mixture all at once and stir until it is combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool completely in the pan.
To make the apricot semifreddo:
3. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with plastic wrap.
4. In a heavy stainless steel pot over medium-high heat, bring 1 cup of the chopped apricots, 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract, the lemon juice, and 1 cup water to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer until the mixture is reduced by half. Remove from the heat. Using an immersion blender or very carefully transferring the mixture to a standing blender, blend until smooth.
5. Return the puree to the pot and add the milk. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean halves into the mixture and add the egg yolks and the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Use a large whisk or silicone spatula to stir thoroughly. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick. Remove from the heat and pour into a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Use a spatula to push it through the strainer to remove any lumps. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to keep a skin from forming. Chill completely.
6. When the custard is cold, whip the heavy cream to medium peaks in a chilled medium bowl using an electric mixer. Fold the whipped cream and remaining 1 cup chopped apricots into the custard. Pour into the prepared baking pan and freeze for 8 hours.
7. When ready to assemble the sandwiches, remove the peanut butter bread from its pan and cut into 12 squares. Slice the squares in half horizontally, so you have a top and a bottom. Cut the semifreddo into 12 squares the same size as the squares of peanut butter bread. For each sandwich, place a square of semifreddo on the bottom of the bread, then put the top on. Cut the ice cream sandwich in half, just like Mom did with your peanut butter sandwich. Eat immediately, or tuck the sandwiches into large freezer bags.
They can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.