It wasn't until a few years ago, that I sunk my teeth into a real ice cream cookie sandwich. Bigger than the palm of my hand, enough calories to keep me going for the day. Soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies held together with the creamiest ice cream you could imagine. It was a tradition - these ice cream sandwiches.
In a land, far far north, amongst Ontario's Crown Forest,lies a tiny island. To reach it, you must drive a lengthy distance down a dirt road, or if you're feeling adventurous, you can make a running jump onto a boxcar, and ride it past. You will need to jump back off though, which probably takes a bit more practice. From the dirt road, lies a smaller dirt driveway leading to a small cottage owned by a family friend. From there, there is a small boat tied to a dock. You must untie the boat, place your belongings in, and ride it across the water to the island. Brent's father spends a few months there each summer. It belongs to his side of the family, shared amongst an aunt and uncle, and 2 cousins. They live much closer, a few hours, so they get to enjoy it often. For Brent's dad, after and 9 hour drive, I can see why he remains there for much of the summer. Trying to soak in as much outdoor bliss as possible.
I have been there once, three years ago. I remember the island, the small cute cottage where Brent spent most of his summers as a kid. The hand painted pictures strung up on the walls made by a smaller and much younger Brent. The tiny black stove, the same stove that Brent's grandmother used to bake fresh blueberry and lemon pies. I remember swimming in the lake, riding the boat at sunset, listening to the loons, watching the water ripple like a soft silky sheet. Taking the boat across the lake to a small general store, jumping out and running like a small child, opening the big freezer door and grabbing a chocolate chip ice cream sandwich. I ate it in the boat as we cruised around the lake, not a person for miles. Aside from tasting incredible, it's the memories associated with this occasion that keep the fondness alive. I am so thankful that I got to experience a bit of Brent's youth. Seeing what he did, the cottage and all of its belongings still intact, like they were 20 years ago. After hearing so many stories on what a great place it is, having it all come to life was something special. Brent's dad and sister are up at the cottage now. Fishing and enjoying the fresh air. Sometimes I wish we lived a bit closer to home.
Longing for cottage life and tranquil water, I devised a plan to recreate a bit of it at home. What I should have done was filled a kiddie pool with water on the balcony, but of course, I turned to the option that resulted in food. I thought about being super fancy and creative, and making some sort of wild and crazy ice cream sandwich involving elderflower and cherries etc. And then Brent said something to me that really resonated. He said "people like simple classics, done right. There is no need to overcomplicate things. I completely agreed 100 percent.
I have been contemplating the purchase of an ice cream machine for about 4 years now. Each time the idea crosses my mind, I quickly become terrified at how little self control I have, and then I put it off for a few more months. My friend Andi, who has been a religious follower of my blog from the beginning, generously lent me her ice cream machine a few weeks ago, accompanied with the book - Jenis Splendid Ice Creams At Home. I wouldn't call myself an expert. I've been making ice cream for about 2 weeks, therefore I don't think that I could start experimenting, or trouble shooting. I am however an ice cream connoisseur, and have basically travelled the world in search of the best ice cream.
I chose to use Jenis vanilla ice cream recipe because the result is soft, smooth, and silky. Perfect really, for squishing between two sandwiches. If you want to delve into the world of ice cream, I suggest picking up a copy of her book. She has great tips and tricks and explains things on a scientific level, which is super fun and interesting. As for the cookie recipe, I turned to the Brown Eyed Baker, because her recipes are always amazing, and I was drawn to her photo representing this recipe. I wanted a chocolate chip cookie that was soft and chewy, subtly sweet with a touch of salt. I wanted to used dark brown sugar for sweetness and color, and add chopped chunks of dark chocolate - I love they way they look. I experimented with a few batches, trying to perfect a perfect ratio of cookie to ice cream, a perfect size sandwich, and ultimate chewiness. What I have learned is that personally, I enjoy a smaller sandwich, each cookie weighing 1 oz before baking. A half inch thickness of ice cream. And a slightly under cooked cookie will result in the best texture. These little sandwiches are the perfect sweet treat, and wont leave you feeling regret after you eat the whole thing.
DARK CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIE ICE CREAM SANDWICHES
notes: making ice cream sandwiches is a little finicky. You will need to work quickly when you are adding the ice cream to the sandwich - it tends to melt fast, especially on a hot day. If the ice cream melts too much before placing the sandwich back into the freezer, the weight of the cookies will squish the ice cream out of the sides.
Remove the cookies and the ice cream from the freezer. Let the ice cream melt for a few minutes so that you can easily mold it between the cookies. Place a scoop of ice cream on one of the cookies. Place the other one on top and press down. With a knife, smooth the sides. Wrap the cookies in wax paper and place into the fridge. Can be stored for up to a month.
ICE CREAM RECIPE
makes one pint
adapted lightly from
1 tbsp + 1 tsp corn starch
2 cups whole milk
3 tbsp (1.5 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp light corn syrup
2/3 cups white sugar
In a small bowl, dissolve the corn starch with 2 tbsp of the milk. Stir to break down any lumps with a wire whisk.
In a medium size bowl, combine the cream cheese and salt with a whisk.
In a large pot, bring the rest of the milk, cream, vanilla, corn syrup, and sugar to a rolling boil on medium heat. Boil for 4 minutes, constantly stirring with a spatula. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cornstarch slurry. Place the pot back on the stove and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute, stirring, until it starts to thicken.
Remove from the stove and gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a large Ziploc bag. Seal the bag, and then place it into an ice bath - a large bowl filled with ice and cold water - for 30 minutes or until cold.
With the ice cream machine running, pour the chilled base into the ice cream canister. Let it churn for 10 - 20 minutes, until the ice cream freezes and begins to pull away from the sides. Scoop the ice cream into a container with a seal and place into the freezer for at least 4 hours before serving.
DARK CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIE RECIPE
makes 38 small cookies
adapted lightly from
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups + 2 tbsp (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (7 oz) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3.5 oz) white sugar
1 egg + 1 yolk
1 tsp pure vanilla
150 g (5 1/4 oz) dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Rearrange the oven racks so that one of them is in the middle.
Melt the butter in a small microwave safe dish for 20 seconds or in a small saucepan on low. Then let the butter cool to warm.
In a medium size bowl, add the flour, baking soda, salt and combine. Set to the side.
In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, add the melted butter, brown and white sugar. With the paddle attachment, beat on low-med until combined.
Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.
Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and mix until it is just combined and no longer visible. Add the chopped chocolate and stir with a spatula.
Divide the cookie dough into 38 small dough balls, each weighing 1 ounce, resulting in a cookie 2 inches wide. If this is your first time making ice cream sandwich cookies, try experimenting. You can try making small cookies, medium, or large, as long as you have two same sized cookies to make a sandwich.
To shape the cookies, roll into a ball. Break the ball in half, and then stick the tow pieces back together with the rough side facing up. This gives the cookies a nice appearance on the top.
Space the cookies on a baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake anywhere from 10 - 15 minutes depending on the cookie size (a shorter baking time for smaller cookies). If you are making small 1 ounce cookies, keep and eye on them starting at 8 minutes. Mine took around 10 minutes to bake. You want to remove them from the oven when they have puffed up in the middle but still look a bit raw. They will sink once you remove them from the oven, this is normal.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 - 10 minutes, cool enough to touch, and then place them into the freezer. Do not over bake or they will become to crispy once frozen. You want them to be soft enough to melt in your mouth with the ice cream. The cookies will harden slightly in the freezer.