Happy day after the 4th of July!
For those of you who live in the U.S.A. I hope you had a great holiday. I am a huge fan of birthdays and the 4th of July is like a birthday that everyone celebrates (well, every American that is). My 4th was filled with food, family, friends and of course, Independence Day the movie. I am actually cheating a little because I am watching the sequel instead of the original. I don’t hate it. I love alien movies so, this movie could have the worst acting and I would still sit down and watch it. The other night I refused to turn off Men in Black II even though we own it and I have seen it a million times. I am just a sucker for those aliens I guess.
Anyway, this post is not about aliens or the 4th of July except that this would have been a great recipe to make for the fourth but I am horrible at planning ahead, sorry! I bring you this recipe because one, it is delicious, and two, it represents something that means a lot to me.
I live in Pittsburgh, uh duh, and I am lucky enough to live in a neighborhood where I have access to fresh food and in fact, I have several choices for grocery stores and markets well within a reasonable distance of where I live. That is not the case for many people in my city or around the world. There are some amazing organizations out there that are making it their mission to solve hunger issues and access to fresh food that are far too prevalent in our society. One of those organizations is called 412 Food Rescue. The amazing folks at 412 deal primarily with the issue of food waste; by collecting perfectly edible food that would normally go to waste and delivering to communities in need; they are addressing two major issues at once. They are total rockstars!
The reason I have gotten involved with 412 is because of their Hidden Harvest program. Through HH we rescue or glean fruit from trees around the city and the edible fruit goes to neighborhoods in need, the inedible fruit gets turned into value-added products that help further the mission of 412 (learn more here). Last year, we organized a team through work and harvested apples and crab apples from around the city. It was such a blast that the minute we wrapped up and weighed our apples we knew we had to do it again. So we signed on to do a whole season of harvesting this year and our inaugural outing was harvesting mulberries.
I grew up eating mulberries from the trees in my neighborhood, didn’t you? I already knew how delicious they are and to think that they are just growing everywhere meant there would be no shortage of berries ripe for the picking (ha!). After a few hours and a few dedicated volunteers we picked over 50 pounds of mulberries. Sweet! The best part of picking the fruit is meeting people on the street who were curious about what we were doing picking fruit in the middle of the day wearing matching shirts and looking nothing like your typical fruit harvesters (if there is such a thing). Every person that stopped by learned something about 412, their mission, and a very hands on way that they could get involved. I love how easy it is to get people excited just by showing them how excited you are. This is definitely the best way I have every helped promote the mission of an organization by doing something that I also happen to think is extremely fun. 412 had arranged for our mulberries to go to a local ice cream maker called Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream where they were turned in to a lemon ice cream with a mulberry swirl. I love Millie’s and love how close they are to me so I can visit as frequently as I like. As an added bonus, a portion of the proceeds from the ice cream sale went back to 412.
So, I am not going to lie, I was basically the most excited that the mulberries I picked with my own two hands were going to be made in to an ice cream by one of my favorite ice cream spots. Um, dream come true!
When I got my hands on “my ice cream” I knew I had to do something special with it. I devised these ice cream sandwiches as a result. I love lavender and had a suspicion it would go well with our lemon mulberry ice cream. I was right!
At first I was a bit nervous about making a shortbread cookie since I had always gotten the feeling that they were somewhat difficult as cookies go. I am not really sure where I got that idea from but these turned out to be super easy and I am kind of kicking myself for not making these sooner. I should do my best to not assume that everything related to baking is hard. My friends and family need to encourage me to bake more so I can get over my unfounded anxiety.
These sandwiches turned out great and were a special way to enjoy the fruit of our labor…see what I did there?! If you want to make these with your own ice cream I would suggest some sort of blueberry or lemon ice cream, or both?
- 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Cup Cornstarch
- 1/4 Tsp. Salt
- 1 Cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter at room temp
- 1/2 Cup Superfine Sugar
- 2 Tbsp. Dried Lavender finely chopped
- 1 Pint Mulberry Ice Cream or Other
Cookie recipe adapted from Cookies, Brownies & Bars cookbook by Elinor Klivans.