Summer is fleeting, guys!
I have, and always will be, a fall fanatic. Yes, I know. Basic biotch. But seriously. This time of year is my FAVORITE. Summer evenings get a little chillier (we have been sleeping with our windows open every night! It’s lovely), and the days get a touch milder. You can feel the subtle changes increase each day. Boots and sweater weather is almost here!
So, while I’ll totally miss the sunny days by the pool and grilling everything in sight, I’ll definitely be happy cozying up under a warm blanket on the couch with a glass of red wine and a small cheese plate on my lap. I’ll definitely be drinking all the pumpkin coffee (Dunkin Donuts wins by a landslide over Starbucks for me). I’ll definitely be slow-braising all the meats and making all the soups. I’ll probably eat my weight in buffalo chicken dip on Sundays. And I’ll love every second of it.
For now, though, let’s not rush summer away too quickly. For now, let’s eat ice cream sandwiches.
These aren’t just any old ice cream sandwich. Oh, no, no, no. These are something special.
First (and yes, this is a very bold statement), the mascarpone ice cream used here is absolutely, hands down, the most delicious ice cream I have ever made in my life. Oh my gosh. You guys. It is DREAMY. Not only is it the silkiest and creamiest of them all, but the flavor is sooo, sooo good. It’s simple and clean but oh-so-decadent at the same time. I am IN LOVE.
I fed these to several people, and when I first told them they were about to eat mascarpone ice cream, I always got a little bit of a “huh?” reaction. Needless to say, they all totally get it now and will forever be in mascarpone’s corner. As they well should be. It’s a great place to hang.
And as if the ice cream by itself wasn’t enough (which, by the way, it totally is. I would happily eat it plain. Out of a vat. With a shovel.), I went ahead and sandwiched it between two sea salted chocolate chunk cookies!
I know, you probably want to kill me right now. But I AM NOT sorry about this!
I love it when I brainstorm a recipe and then execute it better than I was expecting. Especially when all the individual components are just as delicious on their own as they are when they’re combined. These cookies are right up there with the ice cream as some of the best I’ve ever made.
Here’s why: I always make cookies with chocolate chips. Not chunks. My only explanation is that it’s way easier to dump a bag of chocolate chips into something than to cut up a chocolate bar. BUT! I think I am forever changed. The chocolate chunks are the way to go, for sure. They hold their shape after baking, but get super soft and almost creamy in the cookies. H.E.A.V.E.N.
And because I always love a little salt with my sweet, I sprinkled the cookies with a touch of flaky sea salt just before baking them. They add the perfect balance to the otherwise very sweet treat. I love when I take a bite and get that telltale crackle of salt flake in my teeth.
When that happens, everything in my mouth tastes better. The chocolate tastes more chocolatey. The vanilla in the ice cream comes through more. The caramelized taste of butter and sugar mingle on the tongue just a little longer. Salt is amazing that way.
So don’t skip it if you plan to make these! They are a special little touch that take these to a whole new level.
I don’t know about you, but I think summer can stay as long as it wants, keeping my beloved autumn at bay, so long as ice cream sandwiches like these are here.
Yeah, I think we can make that work.
For the Ice Cream:
- 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- Pinch of fine salt
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
- Juice of half a lemon (roughly 1 tablespoon)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cookies:
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ cups chopped semisweet chocolate
- Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling on the cookies
For the Ice Cream:
- Combine the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl. Using a whisk or a handheld mixer, beat the yolks and sugar for a few minutes or until fluffy and lightened in color.
- Meanwhile, heat the milk and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer.
- Slowly stream the warm milk into the egg yolks while constantly whisking/beating at low speed.
- Once all the milk has been incorporated, pour the entire mixture back into the same saucepan and place over low heat.
- Stirring constantly, cook the custard until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Be careful to not let the custard come up to a boil.
- Place a fine-mesh strainer over the same bowl used to beat the egg yolks and sugar together. Pour the hot custard through the strainer and into the bowl. Remove the strainer and whisk in the mascarpone, lemon juice, and vanilla. Let stand until cooled to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
- Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.
For the Cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add in the vanilla extract and the eggs and beat to thoroughly combine.
- Slowly add in the dry ingredients, beating until the ingredients are combined.
- Stir in the chocolate chunks by hand.
- Scoop out the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving a couple inches between them. Sprinkle each cookie dough ball with some flaky sea salt.
- Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until golden and crisp around the edges. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a couple minutes and then transfer them to cooling racks to finish cooling completely.
- Once the cookies are completely cool and the ice cream has set in the freezer, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and take the ice cream out of the freezer to soften slightly for a few minutes.
- Scoop roughly ¼ cup of ice cream onto the flat side of one cookie and then top with a second cookie, gently sandwiching the softened ice cream between the two cookies. Set the formed ice cream cookie sandwich on the baking sheet. Continue with the remaining ingredients.
- Once all the sandwiches have been formed, place the baking sheet in the freeze to allow the ice cream to set again. Freeze for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Ice cream recipe adapted from here.