This seems to happen every single year. I don’t plan on baking something specifically for Valentines Day, and then I end up posting something pink, red or chocolatey completely by accident! I had originally made these Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches in the hopes of sharing them before Christmas, but the new blog design wasn’t quite ready yet. After a crazy busy week in which I baked nothing new, here we are with this decadent recipe. For Valentines Day… or not.
As I’ve said before, I dislike the extreme commercial nature of this ‘holiday’ but I can absolutely and whole-heartedly get behind making something homemade and heartfelt for your partner or your friends. Cooking for my friends is my personal favourite way to show them that I care. I invite them over for a home cooked lunch, bake them a little something nice just because, or express-post cookies to my interstate friends. But it definitely doesn’t have to be edible – use your creative skills to make something special.
In early December we took a trip to Orange – an utterly charming town in the country – for a weekend of cherry and berry picking. We picked several varieties of cherries at Hillside Orchards, and then rewarded ourselves with wine tasting across the road and a spontaneous picnic by the lake. It was tremendous fun, and of course I was looking forward to making some amazing things with the cherries!
I took a few cherries, pitted and roasted them slowly with a little sugar, vanilla and a splash of Chambord (although you could use red wine or your favourite booze here). The roasting seems to concentrate their delicious flavour even more. Once they were cooled, I folded them into my favourite no churn ice cream and served it between rich brownie cookies. Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches. A seriously delicious dessert.
We all loved the ice cream and cherries are still in season here for a little longer, so I’d definitely recommend giving this recipe a try. You could also use strawberries if you can’t find cherries. Roasted strawberries are amazing. I really encourage you to make something homemade for your Valentine this year and skip the mass-produced chocolates. It doesn’t have to be elaborate and complicated, and clichés aside, it’s totally the thought that counts.
Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes 1 litre, 15-20 sandwiched cookies
Roasted Cherry Ice Cream
- 500g cherries, pitted
- 2 tablespoons raw sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- Few sprigs of rosemary or thyme (optional)
- Splash of Chambord, wine or your favourite booze
- 2 cups (500ml) pouring cream
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
Brownie Cookies (from Donna Hay)
- 350g dark chocolate, chopped
- 40g salted butter
- 2 eggs
- ⅔ cup (150g) caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (35g) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder, sifted
To make the roasted cherries, line a shallow ceramic baking dish with non-stick baking paper. Stir the sugar, half of the vanilla, herbs if using and splash of booze through the cherries, place in the dish and bake at 180°C for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool.
In the meantime make the ice cream, Whisk together the condensed milk and remaining vanilla seeds in a large bowl. Whip the cream to soft peaks in another medium bowl and then gently fold into the condensed milk until combined. Pour about 1/3 of the mixture into a loaf tin or plastic container. Layer some cherries and syrup on top, and repeat in 2 more layers of ice cream and cherries. Freeze overnight.
To make the brownie cookies, preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Place 200g of the chocolate and the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until melted and smooth. Set aside. Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk for 15 minutes or until pale and creamy. Stir through the flour, baking powder, chocolate mixture and remaining chocolate and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
Spoon tablespoonfuls of the mixture, at a time, onto baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for 8–10 minutes or until puffed and cracked. Allow to cool completely on trays.
Sandwich the cookies with a large scoop of roasted cherry ice cream just before serving and enjoy straight away.