This mostly works to my sister’s advantage because she is ridiculously crafty. She knits, she paints, she makes beautiful photo albums and scrapbook-type things, etc., etc., etc. She even custom designs wrapping paper, which is used to wrap the aforementioned creative presents, and then tied with all manner of fancy ribbon and adorned with adorable, calligraphied cards that are probably made from, like, rare plant fibers or something. It’s absurd/awesome.
Honestly, if Olivia started a DIY blog, she’d most likely become an overnight sensation, so I sincerely hope that she doesn’t. I don’t need that kind of competition in the blogosphere, dammit! (Just kidding, O. You can start a crafts blog. If you want…)
Anyhoo, I’m significantly less talented when it comes to the whole homemade present thing. I am many things, but crafty is not one of them. Therefore, Christmas and birthdays tend to royally stress me out. While Olivia calmly knits some sort of masterpiece in her crafts room, I just casually enjoy a prolonged panic attack during the week leading up to gifting.
Thank God there are only two present-giving holidays a year.
I’ve been especially anxious over the past few weeks because my sister turned 30 last Wednesday. Knowing that 30 is a terrifying milestone birthday, I wanted to do something special for her, but I was fresh out of ideas. So I asked myself, “Serena, what are your skills, and how can you gift them?” My first thoughts were obviously: outfit coordination, hairstyling and storytelling.
Sadly, offering to dress my sister and do her hair while telling a story seemed like an awkward/mildly insulting present. Blergh.
But then genius struck. I could cook! I mean, how many times have I told all of you that you should be using fabulous homemade meals to say, “I love you.” Luckily, my sister was very enthusiastic about this idea, and I ran with it. I would prepare a festive three-course dinner, and we would eat, drink and properly celebrate her 30 years.
And that is exactly what we did last night, friends. There was an arugula salad with shaved vegetables to start, followed by sweet corn and bacon risotto with sautéed shrimp and roasted cherry tomatoes. Both were delightful, but they paled in comparison to dessert. In honor of my sister’s sweet tooth, I pulled out all the stops when it came to her “cake,” which this year was a tower of….
Wait for it….
Slutty Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches.
Sorry. You know what I mean though.
I don’t even know where to start when it comes to describing the epic nature of these ice cream sandwiches. Earth-shattering? Life-altering? WORLD CHANGING?!!! (Too much?) I feel like some overly emotional peeps may actually cry sweet, sweet tears of joy over them.
Just to clarify, the sandwiches are Gaby’s fudgy brownie on one side, chocolate chip cookie on the other, with cookies and cream ice cream in the middle. Actually, the chocolate chip cookie side is technically blondie (Thank you Ina, you wonderful genius!), which is all kinds of soft and chewy dankness.
Slutty Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches taste like Marky Mark’s Good Vibrations sounds. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I’m really at a loss here.
Needless to say, they made a very good birthday present. I stacked them up on a cake plate with a festive pink candle on top, and when I brought them out I felt like I was going to explode with pride, and love for my sister, and ice cream happiness. I don’t want to get too sappy, so I won’t, but it was a “moment.”
FYI, It appears that there is some sort of shortage on cookies and cream ice cream, as I searched three different stores for it with no luck. This may be a local tragedy, but I just wanted to give you a heads up and say that if you can’t find any cookies and cream, do not panic. Just buy vanilla ice cream and mix in a sheath of crushed Oreos. It takes 2.5 minutes, and smashing Oreos is oddly cathartic.
Some of you may freak out when you see how many steps this recipe has. Reign it in. I made several batches of these to ensure that the process is as streamlined and painless as possible. You’re going to be fine, I promise. If you organize yourselves properly, there’s only about half an hour of hands-on prep time, and you don’t even need a stand mixer or any other fancy kitchen equipment. Booyah.
If you feel like getting creative with these naughty sandwiches, I support that. Chocolate lovers, I strongly suggest you consider using Haagen-Dazs Midnight Cookies and Cream or Ben and Jerry’s Half-Baked as your filling. Want to go the extra mile and make your own ice cream? Hallelujah, and I love you. (This recipe looks bomb.) You could also roll these sandwiches in sprinkles, crushed Oreos, or Butterfinger (that’s a good idea). Serve them in a bowl drizzled with hot fudge. Or salted caramel sauce. Eat them in a whipped cream bikini! The weirder the better, people. For real.
Let’s all get a little slutty this summer, yes?
Slutty Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches: (Makes 9 Ice Cream Sandwiches)
For the brownie layer:
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1¼ cups white sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour
For the cookie layer:
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg, at room temperature
½ cup all-purpose-flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
For the ice cream layer:
1 quart cookies and cream ice cream (or ice cream of your choice), softened to spreadable consistency
Preparing your Slutty Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches:
-Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line two square 9×9 inch baking pans with parchment. (I like to overlap the parchment, so there’s ZERO chance of sticking.) If you only have 1 pan, don’t panic, you can cook your layers one at a time.
-Starting with the brownie layer! Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once melted, remove from the heat and whisk in the white sugar and cocoa powder until dissolved. (It will still be a little grainy, which is fine.)
-Now it’s time to make that cookie dough. Place the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a mixing bowl. Use a handmixer to cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. (You can also use an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, but for such a small quantity of dough, it may not be worth breaking out that bad boy.)
-In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
-With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture.
-Transfer both the brownie and cookie layers to the oven. Remove the cookie layer after 12-13 minutes. Continue baking the brownies for another 10 minutes (23 minutes total).
-Let both the brownie and cookie layers cool COMPLETELY. Pop them in the freezer for 15 minutes to speed up the process if you like.
-Now, we’re going to assemble the ice cream sandwiches. Whoop whoooooop. Remove the brownie layer from the parchment, flip it over, and return it to the parchment lined pan. (This is so the nice crackly side of the brownies will face outward.)
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1¼ cups white sugar
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¼ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- ½ cup all-purpose-flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 quart cookies and cream ice cream (or ice cream of your choice), softened to spreadable consistency
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line two square 9x9 inch baking pans with parchment. (I like to overlap the parchment, so there’s ZERO chance of sticking.) If you only have 1 pan, don’t panic, you can cook your layers one at a time.
- Starting with the brownie layer! Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once melted, remove from the heat and whisk in the white sugar and cocoa powder until dissolved. Add the salt, vanilla extract, and eggs, whisking continually until the eggs are well combined. Add the flour and mix until incorporated.
- Pour the brownie batter into one of the prepared pans and use a spatula to make sure that fills the pan in an even layer. Set aside while you prepare the cookie layer.
- Now it’s time to make that cookie dough. Place the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a mixing bowl. Use a handmixer to cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. (You can also use an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, but for such a small quantity of dough, it may not be worth breaking out that bad boy.) Add the vanilla and the egg and mix well, scraping down the bowl regularly. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.
- Place the cookie dough into the other prepared baking pan, and use a spatula to spread it into an even layer.
- Transfer both the brownie and cookie layers to the oven. Remove the cookie layer after 13 minutes. Continue baking the brownie layer for another 10 minutes (23 minutes total).
- Let both the brownie and cookie layers cool COMPLETELY. Pop them in the freezer to speed up the process if you like.
- Now it's time to assemble the ice cream sandwiches. Remove the brownie layer from the parchment, flip it over, and return it to the parchment lined pan. (This is so the nice crackly side of the brownies will face outward.) Use a spatula to spread the softened ice cream in an even layer over the brownies.Carefully remove the cookie layer from its pan and place it on top of the ice cream. Cover with plastic wrap or tin foil and freeze for at least 4 hours.
- When ready to serve, run a clean, sharp knife under hot water and slice the "cake" into 9 3x3 inch sandwiches.
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