Chocolate chip cookies are a favorite of kids, adults and me. These old-fashioned cookies were the cooking-for-fun plan this week, until I got the idea to include creamy ice cream with a cool twist. Enter the ice cream sandwich. It is a creation of ice cream, like vanilla, sandwiched in between two dark chocolate wafers or sometimes cookies, like chocolate chip. And cool layered cookies with good-for-you ingredients seem spot-on during our chilly mornings/nights and warmer days.
Back in the day when I was 20-something and carefree, for several days I often visited the South Shore. It was me and my black lab Stonefox. One late spring afternoon, we went pool hopping. My pooch with dark brown soulful eyes and a smile to melt my heart, surprisingly jumped into the cold water and joined me. I was amused and swam with my canine companion — like we did in rivers and oceans across America during our hitchhiking escapades. But onlookers and an upset motel manager were not laughing. After we got kicked out, I stopped at a store and bought an ice cream sandwich. Sitting down in the parking lot with my fur friend I shared a lick (or two) of vanilla ice cream. It’s sweet memories such as these that I cherish, especially these days when the daily grind makes me feel like a gerbil on a wheel in a cage.
So, I dedicate this easy homespun recipe to my beloved pooch in dog heaven and my present-day dog friend duo, who remind me that I need to take a break every day to remember all work and no play is not living life.
Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches
1 stick European-style butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large brown egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
1-1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour (blame it on the altitude)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2-3/4 cup 60 percent cacao bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 hazelnuts, chopped
Premium all natural ice cream (chocolate or vanilla)
In a mixing bowl, combine softened butter and sugars. Add egg, beaten. Add flour, soda, and spice. Fold in chocolate and nuts. Place medium-size spoonfuls of dough on parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 12 minutes or till golden brown. Do not remove from cookies sheets until cool. Chill cookies in fridge. Top half of cookies with ice cream and place cookie on each one. Keep in freezer. Makes about a dozen ice cream cookies sandwiches.
On Wednesday, I received a 4:30 a.m. wake-up call from the host of a national radio show. At 5 a.m., I was ready to dish on my latest book, “The Healing Powers of Coffee.” And yes, I woke up to the perks of a cup of joe, banana, and a chocolate chip ice cream sandwich. Its creamy ice cream, dark chocolate chips, and nutty crunch in a chewy cookie are better than the pre-packaged kind like I enjoyed years ago. After the interview, by 8 a.m., with energy to spare, I visited our town’s resort swimming pools and hot tub. And I came home to a fun-loving puppy and devoted adult dog, who I walked on a leash, that reminded me that I’m still a child at heart.
Motto: Mini vacations are worth the time and effort. Feeding the spirit is essential to inner peace.
— Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers” series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. (The Healing Powers of Honey and Coffee are offered by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is www.calorey.com .