Ice Cream Sandies
All this week on Macheesmo I’m making cookies! Be sure to check out the full list of cookie recipes on Macheesmo for even more cookie ideas.
As you’ll learn if you stick around for this full week, my definition of “cookie” is pretty broad. I should’ve probably called it “Dessert-that-you-can-eat-with-your-hands week”, but that doesn’t have the same flair.
Some might be shocked to see an ice cream based recipe in December, but I’m just not one of those guys that only likes to eat ice cream when it’s warm outside.
In fact, I’m up for eating ice cream pretty much any time. I could have hypothermia and be lost in the Canadian wilderness and probably still be up for a double scoop.
1) For ice cream, slip vanilla bean in half and scrape out seeds into a medium saucepan with milk, sugar, and salt. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat immediately, cover, and let sit for one hour.
2) Whisk together yolks in a bowl. Bring milk mixture back up to heat (not simmering, just hot). Once hot, whisk in about 1/2 cup of the milk mixture slowly into the yolks to temper them. THen whisk yolks back into milk mixture.
3) Cook over low heat, scraping regularly and stirring with a heat-resistant spatula. Cook until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula, about 5-6 minutes.
4) In a separate bowl, add cream and set bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice (ice bath). Once custard is thick, strain into cream. Stir well to combine and cool, then stir in vanilla extract.
5) Chill custard overnight or until thoroughly chilled. Then add to ice cream maker and churn according to instructions for your machine. Freeze ice cream until it's solid. I like to stir mine a few times while it is freezing solid to remove ice crystals.
1) Mix together dry ingredients (flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda). Set aside.
2) Cream together butter and sugars. Then mix in one egg at a time, slowly. Once all the eggs are incorporated, stir in vanilla.
3) Slowly stir in dry ingredients. Once dry ingredients are mixed in add chocolate chips and stir just until they are evenly distributed. Try not to overmix.
4) At this point you can chill the dough for up to 2 days if you want.
5) To bake, scoop tablespoon sized balls onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. You should get about 48 cookies out of the batch. Bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes until they are lightly browned, but still somewhat soft.
6) Let cookies cool completely (preferably on a wire rack).
Making the sandwiches:
1) Once your cookies are made, transfer them to a large container and freeze them for about an hour.
2) Scoop a few tablespoon of ice cream and sandwich it between two cookies. Eat immediately or transfer to a freezer safe dish and freeze for up to 2 months.
The Ice Cream
The most obvious shortcut that you could take for this recipe is just to buy ice cream from the store. You could sandwich almost any ice cream between these cookies and be in good shape. Since I figured I’d be snacking on these for a long time, I thought it would be worth it to make a really rich and delicious vanilla ice cream.
Any good vanilla ice cream recipe has to start with real vanilla beans. They are expensive, but the flavor is hard to beat.
Anytime you’re working with vanilla remember to split the bean and scrape out all those tiny vanilla seeds. Lots of flavor there!
If you’ve never made homemade ice cream before, it isn’t really that hard. You basically just make a custard and then chill it.
So start by combining your vanilla, sugar, salt, and milk in a saucepan. Bring this to a simmer and then let it sit, covered, for about an hour. This will infuse the milk with all that vanilla flavor (top left).
In a separate bowl, whisk together your egg yolks. Then heat up your milk mixture again (not simmering but hot). Then slowly whisk in about 1/2 cup of the milk mixture into the whisked yolks. This will bring them up to temperature and then you can whisk the warm yolks back into the hot milk mixture without worry that they will cook.
Cook this mixture over low heat until it thickens enough to coat a spatula. Be sure to stir this constantly and scrape the bottom of the pan to make sure it isn’t sticking. After 5-6 minutes, it should start to get very thick (bottom left).
Then strain this mixture and whisk it into your heavy cream. Add the vanilla and cool this as quickly as possible. I like to do this by putting the bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice (bottom right).
This might seem like a drawn out process, but minus the hour that you have to wait for the milk to infuse, it’s really only about 10 minutes of work.
Let this custard mixture chill thoroughly before making the ice cream. I recommend chilling it in the fridge for at least a few hours.
A good vanilla bean will probably cost you $3-4. So don’t throw it away after you’re done with it in the custard mixture. There’s still tons of flavor in that bean actually. I like to cut my bean into a few pieces and add it to a dish with a few cups of sugar. Seal this and shake it up and after a week or so you’ll have some delicious vanilla sugar that you can use for a ton of things.
Making the Ice Cream
Depending on your ice cream maker, there will be different instructions for actually churning the ice cream.
Once your ice cream is churned to a nice soft serve consistency, you can scoop it into a dish and let it freeze solid in your freezer.
I actually like to take my ice cream out and stir it every hour or so just to make sure large ice crystals aren’t forming in the ice cream.
I’m not going to go into a huge amount of detail on the chocolate chip cookies that I made for this. I used the same recipe that I used for my pretzel chocolate chip cookies. You can also check out the printed version of this recipe for thorough instructions.
Instead of making 18 huge cookies though, I made about 48 smaller cookies.
The cookies are pretty straightforward. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Cream together butter and sugars. Stir in eggs and extracts. Then slowly mix in flour followed by chocolate chips.
At this point you can chill the dough for a few days, but I just baked them immediately on this day. For the cookies you want to shoot for large tablespoon-sized cookies and should get 12 per baking sheet.
I recommend using parchment paper to make sure they don’t stick to the baking sheets.
Bake these cookies for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. They should be lightly browned around the edges and still a bit soft in the middle.
Let them cool completely.
Building the Sandwiches
The only trick to making these sandwiches is that I would recommend freezing the cookies quickly before actually making them. I just stacked all of my cookies in a large casserole dish and then froze them for about an hour. That will make them more firm and easier to work with.
A few tablespoons of ice cream smashed between two cookies is all you need for a really delicious dessert.
These are a bit of work, I won’t lie, but they make a bunch and keep perfectly so your work will pay dividends. You could also take some shortcuts if you want like using store-bought ice cream.
There’s a couple of things that I love about this treat. First, it combines my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and my favorite vanilla ice cream recipe. So yea. These are good.
Second, I love that since you freeze these, they keep for a really long time! This recipe makes about two dozen ice cream sandwiches and eating more than one at a time is a feat. So they keep for a while and you’ll have easy access to a quick frozen dessert should the urge strike you.
Even though I made these about a month ago, I’m still snacking on them and they are basically as good as they were on day one!