Friday, January 27, 2012

Oatmeal Vanilla Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich

Who doesn’t love ice cream, cookies and chocolate sauce? A familiar dessert any time of the year, there are endless combinations and fascinations to try. What I love about making ice cream is you can really have fun with flavors and textures and in combination with your favorite cookie and topping, the sky’s the limit.

This particular ice cream “sandwich” was inspired by a delicious treat created in San Francisco in 1928 called IT’S-IT - a very basic but invariably delicious composition of vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two oatmeal cookies and dipped in dark chocolate. Here I keep the presentation simple by just topping one cookie with ice cream and a double pour of bittersweet chocolate. The cookie is made from a basic Quaker Oats recipe. The ice cream is from David Lebovitz.

But be sure to have fun with your choice of flavors and textures. Some of my favorites are:

Oatmeal Cookie + Coffee Ice Cream + Dark Chocolate
Ginger Cookie + Caramel Ice Cream or Orange Sherbet + Dark Chocolate
Peanut Butter Cookie + Banana Caramel Ice Cream + Dark Chocolate or Rum Sauce
Chocolate Cookie + Mint Ice Cream + Dark Chocolate
Chocolate Cookie + Fennel Ice Cream + Fig Sauce
Chocolate Cookie + Oatmeal Ice Cream + balsamic syrup reduction

Anyway, you get the picture.

Bench notes:
- Choose a cookie that is soft and chewy so it’s easier to eat with a spoon.
- I use a large scoop (about 2 1/4" diameter) to portion the cookie dough, which yields about a dozen cookies. For a more polished presentation, I used a sturdy glass with a 3” diameter to press out uniform shapes once the cookies cooled.
- I doubled the salt in the cookie because I like the contrast with the rest of the components. You can also sprinkle a tiny bit of coarse salt on top of the chocolate shell before it hardens for a different salty effect.
- I’ve given the Quaker Oats instructions for the cookies, but I like to chill the cookie dough for several hours so the cookies hold their shape better when baking.
- My ice cream formulations tend to be leaner, using less sugar, less cream and fewer egg yolks. For this vanilla ice cream, I use 1/2 C sugar + 2 T sugar, 1 1/2 cups of milk, 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream and 4 egg yolks. The final product is not quite as rich and creamy as David’s but it’s still very delicious.
- For the hard chocolate shell, I use 1 oz of chocolate + 3/4 teaspoon oil per serving (coconut oil is ideal but canola oil works just fine). This forms a hard shell once poured onto the ice cream. If you prefer a more gooey effect, try a simple Chocolate Sauce.

Oatmeal Vanilla Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich

Oatmeal Cookies
adapted from Quaker Oats
Makes about a dozen 3” cookies

7 oz (14 T) butter @ room temperature
3/4 C brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 C granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground nutmeg
3 C oats

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment or silpats.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg and oats.

Beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add egg one at a time and mix until thoroughly blended. Add vanilla. Add the flour and oat mixture and mix just until blended.

Divide dough into about 12 portions, form into a ball and place 6 on each prepared baking sheet. Press down with your palm of your hand to flatten the tops slightly.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Vanilla Ice Cream
adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
Makes about 1 quart

1 C milk
pinch of salt
3/4 C sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 C heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1 t pure vanilla extract

Heat milk, salt and sugar in a saucepan to a low simmer. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a paring knife, scrape the seeds into the milk and add bean pod. Remove from heat, cover and infuse for one hour.

Pour the cream into a medium bowl and set a strainer over the top.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.
Reheat the milk until warm to the touch. Gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Return the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan with a heat-resistant spatula until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula, leaving a clear track when you run your finger through it. Take off heat immediately and strain the custard into the heavy cream. Whisk the mixture to blend thoroughly and to cool. Add vanilla extract. Refrigerate to chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.

Remove the vanilla bean and freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Pour into clean airtight container, press a piece of plastic into the surface, cover and place in your freezer to firm up.

Chocolate Shell Topping
Makes about 6 servings

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 T + 1 1/2 t canola oil

Set a metal bowl over a pan of slowly simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Place the chopped chocolate in the bowl along with the canola oil. Whisk gently as it melts. Take off the heat and cool to lukewarm. Pour over ice cream. The chocolate will harden into a shell within a minute or so.


Victoria said...

This looks so good it has left me speechless.

The Food Hunter said...

yes please!

Beth said...

This is one of the most beautiful images of an ice cream sandwich ever.

FoodEpix said...

This looks absolutely delicious. Would love for you to share your gorgeous pictures with us at

Simply Tia said...

WOW! This looks uber good and like the perfect treat after a long hard day of work!

Mercedes said...

These look amazing! I am thinking of doing something similar tonight for dinner!

pastry studio said...

Howdy cookie and ice cream lovers! I'm happy that you find this dessert so appealing. It's a fun way to enjoy these three happy elements. Here's hoping you find your favorite combinations in the not too distant future. The main thing is always to have fun. Cheers!

Stephane in Alaska said...

Boy, did you ever revive some memories. It's-its were HUGE in the Bay Area in the late 70's. I need to go make some of these for sure! Thank you. : )

Caitlin said...

Everything about this is perfect. Especially the way the ice cream is melting over the cookie. Wow! Great work.

Suzanne said...

Oh, how I love It's Its. Can't believe I haven't tried to make my own before. Love the look of yours.

Heather said...

Looks lovely!

Lastolita said...

YUM!! thanks for the choc top recipe.
And now for my question!
I'm having a textural issue with my ice cream. After pulling it from the freezer i find it has a grainy mouth feel. if that makes sense? I've tried using cream with less fat content but it still happens.Any idea as to what's going on?

pastry studio said...

Hi, Lastolita. Grainy ice cream is most often the result of ice crystal formation, which can sometimes happen if the water content of your formulation is too high. Cutting back on the fat or using non-fat dairy can contribute to this problem. Ice cream needs a ratio of fat to achieve that nice creamy consistency of really good ice cream.

Egg yolks also act as an emulsifier, although they are not a necessary ingredient for delicious ice cream. It really depends on the sum of the other ingredients in your recipe and the ratios of fat and sugar. Alcohol and sugar lower the freezing temperature of ice cream and can prevent slushiness, so lowering the sugar content will also affect the texture.

In some cases, you can add 1 tablespoon of vodka to your ice cream to help remedy this problem, which shouldn’t affect the taste but will help keep the ice cream soft. Or sometimes a tablespoon of corn syrup is added for the same reason. This kind of ingredient can be especially important to add to watery fruit, like strawberries.

Also, make sure both your ice cream mixture and your ice cream machine base are completely chilled before processing. This will ensure that your ice cream will spin to a nice soft consistency in just about 10 or so minutes. Then you can place it in the freezer to firm up.

I hope this helps. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have more questions!

Lastolita said...

thanks so much. I've been using cream with a 35% fat content so I'll switch that out and hopefully no more grain. It's only just started happening which is weird. Fingers crossed.