Chocolate Earl Grey Ice Cream Sandwiches & The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever


I had the pleasure of meeting Debbie earlier this summer, and she shared with me the best homemade chocolate chip cookies ever.  Now, I don't say that lightly because I've explored the "perfect" chocolate chip cookie before.  Debbie & I agreed that chocolate chip to dough ratio had to be balanced - not having too many chips, which allows one to taste the caramelized goodness of the brown sugar in the cookie.  I know there are probably many of you that would disagree and are wondering how there could be such a thing as "too many chocolate chips"?  

If you've been following my blog for some time, you know that I don't like my sweets too sweet.  I enjoy being able to taste all the different elements of a cookie rather than the overbearing sweetness of all that chocolate.  Debbie shared how she likes to bake with bittersweet chocolate chips rather than semi-sweet, to down play that overall sweet factor.  I don't know why I never thought of that but when I had a hankering for chocolate chip cookies recently, I knew her recipe would be my go-to as I had personally tasted just how good they were.  

Because I had plans to pair these cookies with ice cream, I cut down on the chocolate chips - in fact, I only used 3 ounces of chocolate (unsweetened, at that), chopped finely so the cookie would bake up flatter, and less "bumpy".  The result was a chocolate-speckled cookie - perfect for me.  And with a scoop of chocolate earl grey ice cream in between? Even better.  

{Recipe(s) after the jump}


Chocolate Earl Grey Ice Cream

Ingredients:

2 cups half and half
3 Earl Grey tea bags
¼ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ cup sugar
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
pinch of salt

Directions:
In a medium saucepan, steep tea bags in the half and half on medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes.  Scrape seeds from vanilla bean and place both seeds and bean into pan.  Whisk in cocoa powder, sugar, and salt.  Heat the mixture until it comes to a full boil, stirring occasionally. When the mixture starts to foam remove from heat and allow tea bags to continue steeping while mixture cools.  Once cooled, remove tea bags and vanilla bean.  Refrigerate mixture until completely chilled.

Pour mixture into an ice cream maker to churn for 20-25 minutes, according to manufacturer's instructions.  Transfer to a freeze-safe container and freeze until ready to use for ice cream sandwiches.

Source: adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Chocolate Chip Cookies: See Debbie Koenig's Recipe: "Best Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies in the Entire World"

My tweaks: 

  • I used 3 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped finely.  
  • I did not chill the dough (only in between baking batches because it was a very warm summer day)
  • I used a 1-inch cookie scoop, packed tightly (and neatly, making sure edges are clean before dropping on pan) - to help create nice, round cookies

To assemble ice cream sandwiches*: 
Prepare 6 pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper.  Take one cookie, place bottom-side up on plastic wrap and scoop ice cream into center.  Top with another cookie and press down slightly so that ice cream does not squeeze out the sides.  Seal with plastic wrap/wax paper and place in freezer immediately.  Working quickly, repeat with the remaining cookies and ice cream.  

Allow sandwiches to freeze overnight so that the cookies become softer and "meld" with the ice cream. 

*Make sure the ice cream is frozen solid before attempting to scoop onto cookies.