Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Everyone has guilty pleasures. Mine range from a higher-brow perusing of the Sunday Styles with a cup of hazelnut coffee on a leisurely weekend morning to snuggling Lola on the couch on a night home alone, while watching HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” alongside a glass (or three) of wine and sour patch kids, simultaneously “pinning” decor and desserts to my hearts content. My frozen yogurt covered in chocolate sprinkles and gummy candies is probably more habit than the occasional guilty pleasure at this point, as putting off work deadlines to crawl into bed early with a pile of freshly delivered shelter magazines is a luxurious procrastination worth the consequences. I won’t get into tuna sandwiches stuffed with potato chips, but when it comes to drink, I’m a happy gal with a decidedly low-brow frozen margarita, no salt, right out of the whirly machine.

For the nine years we lived in LA, despite an early job there as the Style Writer for Los Angeles Magazine, designating me in the know of foodie trends and dining destinations, my guilty pleasure was an economical ice cream sandwich shop delineated by long lines of wallet-over-weight conscious college students near the campus of UCLA in Westwood Village. You will not find de rigueur gourmand flavors here, like bacon infused avocado with sea salt on a farm to table cone. At Diddy Reese one can simply choose any two basic, freshly baked cookies with a “premium” scoop of good ‘ol fashioned ice cream in the middle - for $2. Because the price has gone up. While plenty of artisanal ice cream locales have opened in Los Angeles, many of which I am all to fond of (Salt and Straw!), the simplicity of this standby is what makes it so good. 

When we first moved to LA, we also lived in this neighborhood along “the corridor,” the city’s main strip of high-rise apartments, a housing model which you can find in few other places in Los Angeles. We were coming from my beloved New York City and, despite moving to Los Angeles with and for Mike, I was still lonely and confused about my bright, new, palm-tree filled world. I saw that short crop of Wilshire Boulevard and figured, “tall, over-crowded buildings and no space — that’s the place for me!” I had no friends, a freelance writing career telecomuting with New York, and not even a car (by choice) to remove me from my new life in Los Angeles that I was clearly refusing to accept. But location, location, location! I could walk to Diddy Reese and eat my feelings. And that I did. Often. When we moved to Brentwood, happy and settled at this point with my own mode of transportation, I still went halfsies after a late night out and then, years later, insisted I was standing on that long line for the kids.

My go-to has — and always will be — two chocolate chip cookies with strawberry cheesecake chunk ice cream. I can’t quite figure out the psychology, but I flew back to New York from our trip to Spain and Portugal craving them. Perhaps eating one’s weight in savory manchego, huevos and chorizo induces a need for something on the sweeter side and traveling can make you long for a taste of home. 

Since I’ll have to wait a few weeks to discreetly get my fix in LA, I went on a mad search for a Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream recipe that I could pair with my brown butter chocolate chip cookies. I should have known I’d finally find the ice cream on What’s Gaby Cooking. So here it is - my homage to one of my many, but delicious, guilty pleasures. 

 

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

(Here below with STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE ICE CREAM adapted (only slightly) from What's Gaby Cooking)

 

BROWN BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

(Continuously adapted from I don't know what because I have been making them for that long)

Ingredients:

2 1/2 Cups flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter

1 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt

1/2 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk chocolate)

1/2 cup chocolate chunks 

 

1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside. 

2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat whisking somewhat continuously until the butter begins to brown.  Once the butter has begun to brown and gives off a nutty aroma, remove from heat.

3. With an electric standing mixer or a hand mixer, blend butter and both sugars. Add the egg, vanilla and yogurt and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips and chunks.

4. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll into approximately 1.5 inch balls. Place two inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten the tops just a tad.

6. Bake for about 12-14 or just until the edges begin to turn golden. The center should not appear browned, as we want the cookies to remain nice and soft for the ice cream sandwiches. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

 

 

STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE ICE CREAM 

via What's Gaby Cooking

For the strawberries:

For the strawberries:

1 cup fresh strawberries

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

2-3 tablespoons water

 

For the cheesecake ice cream base:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup heavy cream 

1 cup sour cream (*Note: I used Nonfat Greek Yogurt...to make this diet ice cream. Ahem)

2/3 cup light brown sugar

Zest of 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

For the strawberries:

For the cheesecake ice cream base:

1. In a saucepan heat all ingredients over low heat. Stir frequently until it boils. Reduce for a minute or two and remove from the heat. Transfer to a shallow container, mash berries with a fork or spoon and refrigerate.

2. In a bowl, beat cream cheese, heavy cream, sour cream and sugar just until smooth. Add zest, vanilla and salt. Combine, transfer to a container with a lid, or bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until very cold, 6 to 8 hours or overnight.

3. Place the mixture in your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer´s directions.

4. Transfer to a freezer-proof container, add strawberry mixture, swirl a few times, cover and freeze until solid.