So, we came back from the south of France and walked right into an honest-to-God heatwave. Apparently, Britain’s trying to make up for last year’s summer ‘o’ suck and is overcompensating just a tad. Which isn’t a terrible thing–it’s actually quite pleasant up here in Scotland, and now we can all pull out those sundresses we totally forget we even owned. The one issue is this: no air conditioning. Hardly any building has air con, because why the heck would they? Our office is absolutely boiling. We have to find other ways to keep cool. Delicious ways.

Ever since I discovered our new freezer actually has room for my ice cream freezer bowl, I’ve been going a bit nuts. Last night the office had a leaving party for one of my coworkers, and considering the weather, I thought ice cream sandwiches would be ideal. Dashing them all the way across town in a completely improvised cooler wasn’t the best, but they got there (nearly) all in one piece and everybody loved them. I used the guest of honour’s favourite flavours in these, but the nice thing about ice cream sandwiches is how easy they are to tailor to what you like. Oatmeal raisin with cinnamon or salted caramel ice cream? Go nuts. I’m partial to a raspberry fro-yo with shortbread. The wide world of cookie/ice cream combinations is open before you–go forth and conquor!

Chocolate Cookies with Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Recipes: Sweet Chic by Rachel Schifter Thebault and Cookie Monster Cooking

For the cookies

1 3/4C all-purpose flour
1C unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch salt
170g/6 oz unsalted butter, softened
1C sugar
1 egg, room temperature

Sift the dry ingredients and set aside

Beat the butter until light and fluffy (it’s best to use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment for this, if you have one)

Add sugar and mix until smooth (medium-high for about 1 minute if using a mixer). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure thorough mixing.

Add the egg and mix until combined, again scraping down the bowl.

Add half the flour mixture and mix on low just until the flour is incorporated. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix, scraping down the sides, until completely combined.

Scoop the dough onto a lightly floured counter and push it together. Divide in half, flatten each half lightly into a disk about 1-2 inches thick, wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to 3 days.

When you’re ready to cut the cookies, remove the dough from the fridge and let rest for about 15 minutes. Roll out the dough to about 1/4″ thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut cookies to desired size (for the sandwiches, I used a 1 1/2″ cutter). Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with a silpat, if you have one, or parchment paper. Bake at 180 degrees C/350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes, rotating the sheet(s) halfway through. Cool cookies completely on a wire rack before filling with ice cream.

For the ice cream

1C whole milk
3/4C granulated sugar
2C heavy whipping/double cream
2C lightly packed fresh mint leaves
pinch salt
5 large egg yolks
a few drops food colouring (optional)
1/3 to 1/2C mini chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar bashed into little bits with a rolling pin (excellent therapy after a rough day)

Place milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream and the salt to a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warmed through. Add the mint leaves and mix to combine, making sure that the leaves are immersed in the mixture. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.

Set a fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl. Pour the mint mixture through the sieve, pressing on the leaves to extract as much flavor as possible. Discard the leaves and then return the mixture to the saucepan. Rewarm the mixture over medium heat.

Add the remaining 1 cup heavy cream to a large bowl. Set the fine mesh sieve on top. In another medium bowl, add the egg yolks and whisk until smooth. Slowly pour the warmed mint mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Add this egg yolk mixture back to the saucepan. Set over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and pour through the sieve into the bowl with the cream.

Let the mixture cool slightly then cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Add the food colouring, if using. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. After the mixture is finished churning, gently fold in the chocolate chips. Freeze the ice cream for a couple of hours, until it’s firm.

Assembling the Sandwich

Working quickly (very quickly, if it’s hot), take a cookie, scoop a bit of ice cream onto it, top with another cookie, squish down slightly. Put assembled sandwiches back in the freezer until you’re ready for them.

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Vanilla Ice Cream

Recipes: Antony Worrall Thompson, BBC Food and Savory Sweet Life

For the Cookies

350g/12¼oz unsifted flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
1 tsp salt
225g/8oz butter
175g/6¼oz caster sugar
175g/6¼oz soft brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
350g/12¼oz dark chocolate, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl, combine the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until creamy. Beat in the eggs. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate.

Split the pliable dough into two halves, rolling each out into sausage shapes, approximately 5cm/2in in diameter. Wrap them in cling film and transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, simply cut the log into slices 2cm/¾in thick and lay on a baking tray, widely spaced apart. Bake for 9-11 minutes.

For the ice cream

2 cups double/heavy cream
¾ cup milk
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon salt

Add all the ingredients to a shallow pan.

Heat the cream mixture on medium heat until it starts to slightly bubble.

Turn off the heat and mix the cream until the sugar is dissolved.

Allow the cream mixture to cool to room temperature.

Pour the cream into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions. Freeze for 3 hours before serving.

Assemble the sandwiches as directed above.

Got any favourite ice cream/cookie combos? I’d love to hear about them–feel free to share them in the comments?

Image by Diane C, distributed under Creative Commons license 2.0

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