Dorie said these cookies are great with ice cream. Um, no...sorry Dorie, you're wrong on this one. These cookies are INCREDIBLE with ice cream and make outstanding ice cream sandwiches. These are ice cream sandwiches that could change the course of human history. If everyone in the world could just eat one of these, they would lay down their arms, shed their prejudices and sing kumbaya all day long. Because there's no way you can hate anyone if you've had Dorie's Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters sandwiched with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. And if you eat one once a day, you might be a little chunky yourself but boy, will you be at peace with the world.
After baking, I let the cookies cool thoroughly. In the meantime, I made vanilla bean ice cream, using Melissa Murphy's recipe from my second favorite baking book. Melissa's trick is to incorporate powdered skim milk powder, which absorbs some of the water in the milk and cream (reminiscent of Dorie's preference for lining pie doughs with bread crumbs to absorb fruit juices). Reducing the water in the base means that there will be fewer ice crystals, making the ice cream softer and creamier.
I made the recipe using Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter and Trader Joe's 72% bittersweet chocolate. The cookies came together in a flash. I rested the batter in the refrigerator for 24 hours, which I now regularly do with every cookie dough if I have time, based on my ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe. The cookies on their own are great. I love the oatmeal combined with the peanut butter, and the hint of cinnamon is nice, too. They are perfect for ice cream sandwiches because they are chewy and won't become too hard when frozen.
I also made a batch of chocolate chip-chocolate ice cream sandwiches, using a new cookie recipe that is great, along with my own variation of chocolate ice cream, inspired by David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop recipe and Lori Longbotham's one in Luscious Chocolate Desserts (a very fine book!). I am madly in love with this chocolate ice cream. Tom could barely tear himself away from the ice cream bowl after I made it. It is really, really good.
You certainly don't have to make your own ice cream, but it really makes a difference and it's nice to skip out on all the additives and preservatives in commercial brands. Plus, if you make the sandwiches on the same day that you churn the ice cream and time things properly, you will have ice cream at the perfect consistency for spreading without needing to wait for defrosting.
Most recipes call for wrapping the sandwiches in saran wrap. That sounded messy and unattractive to me (saran is so slimy when wet), so I used squares of parchment paper which struck me as very Martha. The parchment is great because you can just fold it down and use it to keep your fingers dry while you march down the path to world peace, one bite after another.
Ice cream sandwiches are a great dessert for a party. I made mine a full week before our Labor Day BBQ and loved not having to bake something while doing all my other preparations. They are a real crowd pleaser for both kids and adults and your guests will swoon when you tell them what's for dessert. Plus, they don't require plates or forks!
You can get the cookie recipe on Stefany's blog, Proceed with Caution, and my ice cream recipes are below. Thanks Stefany for choosing this recipe, which inspired me to finally try making ice cream sandwiches!
Brown Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream
From The Sweet Melissa Baking Book
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk (whole, skim or 2%)
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup dry skim milk powder
5 large egg yolks
1/2 vanilla bean, split
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Fill a large pot with 3 inches of water and bring to simmer. Set a large bowl over the top, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
Remove the bowl. In this bowl, whisk together the cream, milk, sugar, salt, skim milk powder, yolks, seeds from vanilla bean and bean, and vanilla extract.
Place bowl on top of simmering pot. Cook, stirring, until mixture is thick enough to coat back of wooden spoon or heatproof rubber spatula or approx 180 degrees on candy thermometer. This may take as long as 30 minutes. (Alternatively, you can use same ingredients to make a classic custard).
Cool custard in a larger bowl of ice water. Strain and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
Churn in ice cream maker.
Makes about 1 quart.
Really Rich Chocolate Ice Cream
Inspired by David Lebovitz & Lori Longbotham
2 cups heavy cream
3 Tbs Dutch cocoa powder
5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 egg yolks
2 Tbs light corn syrup
1 cup whole milk
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to blend. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer at very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in remaining 1 cup of cream. Pour into a large bowl, scraping saucepan thoroughly, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.
Warm the milk, brown sugar and salt in same saucepan. In a separate, medium bowl, whisk together the yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed eggs back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through strainer into the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth, then add the vanilla and corn syrup. Put the bowl into a large bowl filled with ice water, and stir until cool.
Chill in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight and then churn in ice cream maker.
(The corn syrup helps keep the ice cream creamy and prevents it from becoming rock hard. I am not generally a fan of corn syrup but a little here & there is not too awful and you're still eating much fewer additives than if you eat commercial ice cream.)