Saltine Crack Ice Cream Sandwiches

UTTER FAIL.

That’s what this was the first time I attempted to assemble it. However, my brain just couldn’t register failure when it came to this.  Each component was just so delicious on its own.  Light and crispy and salty.  Dark and buttery and sweet. Fragrant and nutty and crunchy.  Cold and creamy.  Putting it all together had to happen.  It just had to.

Undeterred, I tried again.  Actually, it didn’t take much to convince myself.  Another failure would merely yield another pile of deliciousness.  Ugly deliciousness.  But deliciousness nonetheless.

Some adjustments this time around:

Thin chocolate layer – This resulted in a lighter, crispier saltine crack layer, and a better balance of the sandwich components.  It also made things much easier to cut.

Cook sugar until nice and dark in color – For a darker, more complex-flavored toffee.

Thin toffee layer – To suit the not-so-sweet sweet tooth.

And after some careful cutting, or rather, sawing… Voila, behold the saltine crack ice cream sandwich.

Perfect for these last days of summer.

Who am I kidding.  I’ll probably eat this year round.

SALTINE CRACK ICE CREAM SANDWICHES
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yields ~15 sandwiches

Ingredients
1 sleeve (~24 crackers) saltines (I actually wanted to try with matzah, but didn’t have any.  I’m thinking it might yield an even thinner, more delicate sandwich.)
1/4 c. unsalted butter, cut into a few large pieces
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c. chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (I like 60% Ghirardelli bittersweet)
2/3 c. nut of choice, toasted and chopped (I used hazelnuts)
flaky sea salt for sprinkling
1 1/2-2 c. ice cream (any flavor)

Directions
Preparation
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Place ice cream in refrigerator to soften.
3.  Toast and chop nuts if needed. Chopping small-medium is better here – sandwiches will be easier to bite into.
4.  Line one 9×13-inch baking dish (or 2 8×8-in.) with parchment paper or tinfoil.
5.  Arrange saltines in a flat, single layer in the baking dish, salt side up.  You may need to trim some of the saltines to ensure saltines lie flat/don’t overlap.  I found that using a gentle sawing motion and applying even pressure with a serrated knife worked well.

 

Make toffee

6.  Melt sugar in a pan over the stove. Stir every so often to help sugar melt.
7.  Cook sugar until it turns a dark amber color (For cooking tips, see this old post).
8.  Remove sugar from heat and whisk in the butter pieces.
9.  Add vanilla extract.
10.  Return sugar to stove and cook, whisking, until butter is fully incorporated and mixture returns to a boil.
11.  Optional, if using matzah/unsalted crackers:  Add generous pinch of salt. Mix.
11.  Spread toffee on crackers as best you can.  Work quickly, before it hardens.

Spread more toffee if you like things sweeter.

Assemble saltine crack
12.  Bake crackers + toffee in oven at 350 degrees F x 10 minutes.
13.  Take crackers out of oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over them while hot.
14.  Let the chocolate sit and melt on crackers.  When softened, spread the chocolate evenly over the crackers.
15.  Sprinkle chopped nuts and sea salt over the chocolate.
16.  Transfer chocolate-covered crackers to the refrigerator or freezer to harden.

*Note:  This is pretty great just like this.  I wouldn’t judge you for eating it as is.

Assemble ice cream sandwich block
17.  Line the same baking dish you used to bake the saltine + toffee with saran wrap.
18.  When chocolate has hardened, cut the sheet of crackers in half with serrated knife (skip this step if you used two 8×8-in pans).


19.  Place one of the chocolate/toffee/cracker halves on the saran wrap so that cracker side is face-up.  Spread softened ice cream over it;  make sure to spread ice cream all the way to the very edge.
20.  Place the other chocolate-cracker half cracker side down on top of the ice cream to complete the sandwich.
21.  Smooth ice cream on sides of the sandwich block so that it looks nice.
22.  Freeze for at least 4 hours so that ice cream is adequately hard for cutting (8 hours or more is best).
23.  Cut block into squares for individual ice cream sandwiches.
24.  Place cut sandwiches in freezer to firm up again if needed.
25.  Eat!

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