As a person who has never successfully drank more than one sip of coffee (promptly followed by a face similar to this) I was shocked by how much I LOVED this ice cream sandwich. Each element was infused with a different version of coffee - three in total - forming a trifecta of frozen caffeinated tastiness..
A good sandwich begins with a solid cookie foundation. I ended up doing a chocolate sable cookie, otherwise known as a French sugar cookie. They baked up with excellent thickness and perfect texture for ice cream sandwiches. Cookie mishaps include being too chewy to the point where the ice cream seeps in causing a mushy mess that dissolves the cookie and leaves ice cream running down your hands (ain't cute). Alternatively, cookies can be too crisp and break with the first bite leaving you scrambling to inhale the sandwich as fast as possible before anything falls to the ground (also ain't cute). Luckily, these chocolate sables were sturdy enough for ice cream but still had enough give to allow the sandwich to be enjoyed at a normal pace. These required both cocoa powder AND grated dark chocolate for which I used a Taza coffee chocolate disk from their Chocolate Mexicano Disc series. Yes, a double chocolate coffee infused cookie was a great way to begin this ice cream sandwich.
Next comes the ice cream, a place where sandwiches can easily be ruined by people that only like boring ol' vanilla. I took to the streets of Cambridge to an ice cream parlor called Toscanini's - arguably one of the best in the Boston area - and picked up a pint of their White Coffee ice cream. It was explained to me that the beans were steamed to make the ice cream rather than brewed into coffee? I'm not really sure how coffee works to be honest. But regardless, there were no bean bits disrupting the ultra smooth consistency and the color was just barely off white.
Although an ice cream sandwich up to this point would have been delicious, I wanted one last caffeinated kick. I grabbed a box of Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans from my job (Trader Joe's, Cambridge) and crushed and mixed them into the white coffee ice cream. Oh yeah, I got REAL Coldstone up in my kitchen.
I'm not sure if it was the awesomeness of the idea or the caffeine but after making these sandwiches I was amped up and ready for the day. Coffee Overload Ice Cream Sandwiches are interchangeably acceptable in the morning for a cup o' joe right? If so, I'll take two please.
Coffee Overload Ice Cream Sandwiches
Original Recipe - Makes six 3" sandwiches
For the Chocolate Sable Cookies:
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
-2/3 cup sugar
-1/4 teaspoon sea salt
-3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
-3 1/2 ounces 70% cacao chocolate, grated
**Note: I tried chopping finely and found grating it is the only way to get the right consistency.
1. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda into a bowl and set aside.
2. In another bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla until lightened, about 4 minutes.
3. Add the dry ingredients and grated chocolate and mix just to combine.
4. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
5. Roll out the dough 1/2 inch thick on a lightly floured work surface. I found it's best to do this in small pieces. Cut out sandwich cookies with a 3" biscuit cutter. Place them at least 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the cookies until they are firm, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool COMPLETELY.
Ice Cream Sandwich Assembly:
-12 coffee-chocolate sable cookies
-1 pint coffee ice cream
-1/2 cup dark chocolate covered espresso beans, coarsely chopped.
1. Mix chopped dark chocolate covered espresso beans into coffee ice cream
2. Line an 8x8 inch baking dish with plastic wrap and spread the ice cream into it in an even layer. Cover with another layer of plastic wrap and let freeze for minimum of three hours but best to freeze overnight.
3. *You will need to do this part quickly* When ice cream is frozen solid, remove top layer of plastic wrap and cut out ice cream circles with your 3" biscuit cutter. Use your fingers underneath the first layer of plastic wrap to help push them out.
4.. Sandwich the ice cream cut outs between two cookies, pushing down slightly. Return to freezer for 30 more minutes before enjoying.
photos by: Zac Wolf Photography