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Make the ice cream sandwich of your summertime dreams with this infinitely customizable recipe

When we decided to make a homemade version of ice cream sandwiches, we thought it would be as easy as smooshing some ice cream between two chocolate chip cookies. But all that gave us were rock-solid cookies that we struggled to bite through while we squished the ice cream out the sides. The takeaway: Cookies that are best eaten with a glass of milk are not perfect in an ice cream sandwich.

To make cookies that were easy to bite through, we focused on an ingredient rarely considered in cookie composition: water. Our recipe includes almost twice as much water than most chocolate chip cookie recipes. That may sound counterintuitive — you’d think frozen water would make cookies harder — but it works because the sugar in the dough lowers the temperature at which water freezes, keeping it fluid. By increasing the amount of sugary water in the dough, we were able to make cookies that were sturdy enough to sandwich the ice cream but tender enough to bite through with just a hint of snap.

We also wanted a thinner, flatter cookie so we could still use a good amount of ice cream without making the sandwich the frozen-dessert equivalent of a New York deli sandwich. To do that, we dropped the baking temperature to a relatively low 325 degrees so that the dough had more time to spread before it set. And to compensate for the freezer’s flavor-dulling effect, we packed the cookie with deep toffee notes that came through even when frozen.

The result? An infinitely customizable, perfectly engineered version of this summertime dessert. Fill them with the ice cream flavor of your choice or press mini chips around the rim of each sandwich for a dose of Chipwich nostalgia.

Recipe by America’s Test Kitchen
Servings

12

servings

An infinitely customizable, perfectly engineered version of this summertime dessert. Fill them with the ice cream flavor of your choice or press mini chips around the rim of each sandwich for a dose of Chipwich nostalgia.

Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) packed dark brown sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (52/3 ounces) all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup (3 ounces) mini semisweet chocolate chips, plus 1 cup for optional garnish

  • 3 pints ice cream

Directions

  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 F. Melt butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring and scraping skillet constantly with a rubber spatula, until milk solids are dark golden brown and butter has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Immediately transfer to a heatproof large bowl. Whisk in sugar and salt until fully incorporated and let mixture cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Stir flour and baking soda together in a second bowl; set aside.
  • Add egg, water and vanilla to the browned butter mixture and whisk until smooth, about 30 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, stir in flour mixture until combined. Stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips. (The dough will be very soft.)
    Using a #60 scoop or 1-tablespoon measure, evenly space 12 mounds of dough on each prepared sheet. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until puffed and golden brown, 9 to 12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 45 minutes. Place one sheet, still lined with parchment, in freezer.
  • Place 4 cookies upside down on the counter. Quickly deposit 2-inch-tall, 2-inch-wide scoop of ice cream in center of each cookie. Place 1 cookie from the wire rack right side up on top of each scoop. Gently press and twist each sandwich between your hands until the ice cream spreads to edges of the cookies (this doesn’t have to be perfect; ice cream can be neatened after chilling). Transfer sandwiches to the sheet in freezer. Repeat with remaining cookies and remaining ice cream. Place 1 cup chocolate chips, if using, in a shallow bowl or pie plate.
  • Remove first 4 sandwiches from freezer. Working with 1 sandwich at a time, hold sandwiches over bowl of chocolate chips and gently press chocolate chips into sides of sandwiches with your other hand, neatening ice cream if necessary. Return garnished sandwiches to the freezer and repeat with the remaining 8 sandwiches in two batches. Freeze sandwiches for at least 8 hours before serving. (Sandwiches can be individually wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, transferred to zipper-lock bag, and frozen for up to two months.)

Notes

  • These sandwiches should be made at least 8 hours before serving. For the best results, weigh the flour and sugar for the cookies. We prefer the deeper flavor of dark brown sugar here, but light brown sugar will also work. Use your favorite ice cream. If using a premium ice cream such as Ben & Jerry’s or Haagen-Dazs, which is likely to be harder than a less-premium brand when frozen, let the ice cream soften slightly in the refrigerator before scooping. We like these sandwiches with chocolate chips pressed into the sides, but the garnish is optional.
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