Celebrate National Ice Cream Day on July 19 by setting aside time for a fun weekend project: ice cream sandwiches made with homemade chocolate wafers. It calls for your ice cream of choice, but you can also take this recipe to the next level by sandwiching the cookies with from-scratch vanilla ice cream.
Ice Cream Sandwiches
1 1/4 cups (9 oz./280 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) unsalted butter
3 oz. (90 g) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (6 1/2 oz./200 g) all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (9 oz./280 g) semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 pints (24 fl. oz./750 ml) ice cream of choice, slightly
Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly butter 2 baking sheets.
In a heavy saucepan over low heat, cook the brown sugar, butter, and chopped chocolate, stirring frequently, until the chocolate melts. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to lukewarm.
Add the egg and vanilla to the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and stir until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Drop the dough by generous tablespoonfuls onto the prepared sheets, spacing the cookies at least 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart. You should have 12 cookies. With dampened fingers, smooth the cookies into slightly flattened rounds about 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter. Bake the cookies until the edges darken and the centers are still slightly soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
Lay half of the cookies, flat side up, on a work surface. Spread about 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./ 125 ml) of the ice cream on each cookie. Top each with one of the remaining cookies, flat side down. Smooth the sides and wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap. Lay on a clean, dry baking sheet and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 3 days, before serving. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Dessert of the Day, by Kim Laidlaw.
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) whole milk
2 1/2 cups (20 fl. oz./625 ml) heavy cream
3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) sugar
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
8 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
In a heavy saucepan, combine the milk, cream and 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) of the sugar. With the tip of a paring knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla beans into the pan, then toss the pods into the pan. Place over medium heat and bring just to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and steep for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large heatproof bowl, vigorously whisk together the egg yolks, salt and the remaining 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) sugar until the mixture falls in a thick, wide ribbon when the whisk is lifted, about 2 minutes.
Remove the vanilla bean pods and reheat the milk mixture to a bare simmer. Slowly add the milk mixture to the yolk mixture while whisking constantly. Pour it all back into the saucepan and simmer gently over medium-low heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thickened enough to coat the spoon, about 3 minutes. Draw your finger across the spoon. The custard is ready if it does not immediately run back together.
Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a storage container, let cool to room temperature, and then cover and refrigerate overnight.
Pour the cooled mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. You can eat it right out of the machine, if you like, but the texture will be like soft-serve. For a firmer texture and deeper flavor, transfer the ice cream to a tightly covered container and freeze for about 6 hours. Makes 1 1/2 quarts (1.5 l).
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cook Good Food.