Luxurious Lemon Verbena Ice Cream Sandwiches

My aunt and uncle have a giant lemon verbena plant. It’s so exuberant, it’s taller than me. It practically qualifies as a tree! I had my eye on it for a few weeks, bringing home sprigs to make fresh tea.

Lemon Verbena Plant

Lemon verbena has a distinctly lemon fragrance, but mingled with a very herbal, green scent as well. I tend to think lemon verbena would be best going in a sweet or neutral direction. I don’t know how well it would hold up in a savory dish. Would love any suggestions you might have for tasty savory lemon verbena dishes you’ve experienced.

The lemon verbena was just begging to be reincarnated as ice cream. Last month, Anita over at Dessert First posted this lemon verbena ice cream recipe, so it was the kick-in-the-butt I needed to make it. I didn’t have an eggless recipe to go on (since half the household doesn’t eat eggs), so I used a few things for inspiration including Bruce Weinstein’s The Ultimate Ice Cream Book, my experience with using cream cheese in my Decadent Guava Lime Cheesecake Ice Cream, and a basil ice cream recipe.

The result was superb. The lemon verbena is fragrant, herbal, lemony, and the texture is spectacularly creamy and rich – eggs or no eggs. I was really happy with how it turned out. I didn’t have very much cream cheese, but I loved what it did to the texture of the guava cheesecake ice cream, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. The amount in this recipe is just enough to improve the consistency, without overpowering the lemon verbena with cream cheese flavor. I used light whipped cream cheese and it was very easy to whisk with the sugar. I would totally make it again.

Butter Almond Thins

For a little whimsy, we decided to make ice cream sandwiches. Trader Joe’s Butter Almond Thins are perfect for the job. Buttery and crisp, they make an excellent contrast to the ice cream without distracting you from the unique taste of the lemon verbena.

Lemon Verbena Ice Cream Sandwiches
All ingredients are organic, because it’s just how I operate.

Recipe for Lemon Verbena Ice Cream

1 C. half and half

1 C. loose lemon verbena leaves

2/3 C. sugar

2 ounces whipped cream cheese (1/4 of an 8 ounce package)

1 1/2 C. cream

Remember to put the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer for at least 12 to 24 hours so it’s frozen solid.

Whisk together cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl, then set aside.

Put half and half in sauce pan over medium heat to bring it up to temperature slowly. When little bubbles appear around the edges of the pan, turn off the heat. While half and half is still hot, add in the lemon verbena leaves, cover and steep for 20 minutes.

Bring the heat up again, then strain out the lemon verbena leaves, carefully adding the hot half and half to the cream cheese and sugar mixture. Whisk well to dissolve sugar. When everything is incorporated well, whisk in the cream.

Put your soon-to-be-ice cream in an air tight container and chill in the fridge for at least four hours. When it is fridge-cold, pour it into the bowl of your ice cream maker and make it according to manufacturer’s instructions. At that point it will be the consistency of soft serve and is ready to eat, but if you want firm ice cream, freeze it for a few hours before serving. Scoop a little onto Butter Almond Thins, and you’ve got yourself a sophisticated but kid-friendly treat.

Lemon Verbena Ice Cream Sandwiches Close-up

8 thoughts on “Luxurious Lemon Verbena Ice Cream Sandwiches”

  1. Brie – I just love that your name is Brie. Thanks. As for a replacement for lemon verbena, there isn’t anything exactly like it, but maybe lemon zest and steeping green tea might achieve a similar effect. I’m happy to share more about me, as soon as I research what tag/you’re it means in the blogosphere, I’m there! (I’m new to this whole blogging thing.)

  2. Hi, just a little suggestion on culinary uses for lemon verbina – a neighbour of mine took some leaves from my plant and wrapped some chicken breasts in lemon verbina leaves. then he wrapped it in tin foiled and cooked them on his barbeque , i dint remember , but he said it was absolutley gorgeous and highly recommnded it – lemon chicken , with the nicest lemony tang he ever tried ! enjoy people :>)

  3. For a Wales (UK) resident, please, what is the British equivalent of half and half? Your ice cream recipe sounds amazing. Our B&B guests love summer berries tossed in a small amount of sugar/water syrup infused with lemon verbena served with l/v-flavoured whipped cream.

  4. Hi! Gaye ~ ‘Half and half’ in the USA is 50% whole milk PLUS 50% heavy cream (unwhipped) blended together. I think the British Isles equivalent of ‘heavy cream’ is double cream or something similar? Since all the ingredients will be put into the ice cream maker, you don’t have to blend the two. We find with egg-less ice creams, getting the proportion of heavy cream ‘right’ is key to keeping the ice cream smooth when frozen. Otherwise it gets too icy and hard. If you use straight cream, than the ice cream can leave an unpleasant coated texture on the tongue. I’m sure this is an individual preference….so those milk / cream proportions can be adjusted.

  5. Yummm! Your summer berries dessert sounds wonderful!

    BTW, what’s the name of your B&B? I’d love to visit Wales one day. What is the best season to come? I have some distant Welsh heritage on my maternal Grandmother’s side.

  6. I’ve been making this Lemon Verbena Ice Cream recipe for years, always reverently learning that Bri had passed before the first time I discovered the recipe. I pull it out for the most special of occasions, and always, always, it is a magnificent treat. Bri is now an angel whose memory lives on even with those who never met her.

  7. Ruth ~ Such a sweet comment. SO heartwarming! And true. I’m sure Bri’s hubby (my oldest son) will appreciate it, too. Thanks very much for taking the time to let us know how much you enjoy this recipe…and for remembering Bri, when you make it even though you never knew her.

    Marc and I were just talking a few days ago about a new ice cream he made with a gourmet black tea and sweet cream. Said it was over-the-top delicious and a smashing hit with the friend, whose birthday it was. Will have to give it a try myself and get it posted to the blog for others to enjoy.


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