Thursday, June 10, 2010

In a Vermont state of Mind—maple walnut/ginger ice cream sandwiches

It’s incredible how one can be the same person and yet be so different.  Returning from my five-year college reunion last weekend has really given me a lot to think about.  It was truly an incredible weekend; people are the same fun they were before, but calmer and more self-assured.

It was amazing to re-encounter people who have continued life with equal passion to how they had approached school.  They still love books, ideas and the world.  They continue to write and travel, and continue to make me feel like a whole person, complimenting my scientific life.  I miss days when my less scientifically inclined friends would turn to me and say “oh Liz would know, she’s in science,” whether the discussion was about physics, genetics, or something I probably had no real data about.  For whatever fraction of evidence I could muster, they broadened my horizons about much more—literature, history, art, politics and music.  

I returned to a venerable Utopia, a liberal arts college trapped in the hills and cornfields of Vermont, where professors share their beers, their offices and their families, the food in the dining hall is better than many restaurants, the mountains sing each time you walk outside, and there is endless amount of stimulus and encouragement for self-expression and personal cultivation.  I was reminded of what my dreams and hopes were by many that remember a snapshot of my former self from five years ago. 

I was also reminded by many how consumed I was with music—many were sad to hear that I was playing piano at an extreme fraction to my previous dedication, and composing really not at all.  As hard as it is to leave my musical passions hibernating, I am really proud of who I am and what I’ve done in the past five years.  I feel centered, balanced, and in love.  Medicine, for as abusive as it is, has made me a more whole person.  I have found writing and cooking, which are much more pleasurable companions than the tormenting angst of composing.  I feel safe in my friendships, and family life has stabilized just a little bit.

As much as I’d like to give in and go back, I need all the friends I’ve made in the five years since graduation.  Because in the end, as fun as it is to talk about books, ideas, and the New Yorker, I also have the compulsive need to talk about diarrhea, pus, blood and amniotic fluid freely, which only perverts such as med students and doctors can tolerate.  Alas, life keeps going, but it is fun to reflect—and dance, drink and sing, together.

To celebrate Middlebury College, I recreated my favorite cookies back in the day—maple walnut.  Even though when I brought them up to my friends, none of them remembered them.  Well I do, and those devilish cookies stole my slender figure!  I paired the cookies, which are brown and buttery with a cool ginger ice cream and piled them into luscious ice cream sandwiches.  I learned after I bought an ice cream maker (which is documented here) that frozen treats are great bribes for boyfriend’s roommates to let you hang out at their house and they are really just plain good.  The great thing about homemade ice cream sandwiches is that the ice cream is very soft when coming out of the ice cream maker which makes it very easy to stuff the sandwiches. 

Maple Walnut Cookies with Ginger Vanilla Ice Cream

2 sticks softened butter (unsalted)
½ cup maple syrup
¾ cup brown sugar packed
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 ¼ tsp salt
1 ½ cups chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 375.  Beat sugar, butter and syrup until fluffy.  In separate bowl, combine flour, soda and salt.  Add egg to butter mixture, stir to combine, and add flour mixture.  Add walnuts, drop spoonful sized cookies and bake 8-10 minutes or until set and golden brown.  Allow to cool on sheet and transfer to cooling rack.

Ginger Ice cream

Scant cup sugar
1 cup milk
3 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp grated ginger (grates very easily frozen—freeze the night before with ice cream maker)
1 tsp vanilla

Combine sugar, milk, vanilla and ginger and whisk until sugar dissolved.  Add cream.  Add to ice cream maker and follow directions. 

To assemble cookies add soft ice cream (if it is too melt-y then freeze for one to two hours before applying), freeze on cookie sheet until ice cream is firm and wrap individually in foil.


  1. oh dear god those look good

  2. these look freaking amazing! want to make an 18th century english dessert one of these days? i'll send you some 'cookery receipts' that look particularly enticing :-)

  3. mmmm... I Love Ginger & I Love Anything with Real Maple Syrup! Way to Go Liz! Im going to make these for my family and friends.
    I found these when looking up the phrase "Vermont State Of Mind"