There’s something about imperfection that is just so beautiful.
Store bought food is perfect. Perfectly round. Perfectly square. Perfectly boring.
Give me something oddly shaped, homemade and exploding with flavor, and I’m a happy woman.
Give me something perfectly shaped, store-bought and completely lacking in flavor and I’m sad that I subjected my taste buds to it.
I’m all about finding beauty in imperfection.
For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I found a simply beautiful recipe, even if it’s a bit messy. Even if it’s oddly shaped.
Scratch that. Not even if. Especially because it’s oddly shaped.
I was assigned the hard working host of my group, Jane from The Heritage Cook. She is the one responsible for making sure everyone has their assignment, answering our questions and checking to make sure that everyone posted. And when problems arrise, she’s the one to straighten them out.
It’s a big job, but she does it with grace and ease. Just like she writes her blog.
You know what I like best about Jane? It’s not that she hosts Chocolate Mondays, although that is reason enough to love her. It’s not her technical, informative and creative recipes and posts, even though I learn something new from each post.
It’s this quote, where she talks about why she cooks, that I like best:
Because that’s me. That’s why I bake.
Well, that and my insanely sweet tooth.
The recipe I finally decided on, after much thought and obsession, are these sweet chocolatey cookies that, when sandwiched between ice cream, turn heavenly.
It takes a certain type of cookie to pull off an ice cream sandwich. It has to be solid. It has to stand up to the freezer without turning rock hard. It has to hold it’s own against melting ice cream without turning into mush.
It has to have flavor that complements, not overpowers, the ice cream.
And, it has to be beautifully imperfect, a little messy, and totally decadent.
I did very little tweaking with Jane’s recipe. I always use fine sea salt when I’m baking, I just love the flavor and it allows me to cut the amount in half without sacrificing any flavor. I also lightly sprinkled coarse sea salt on top of the cookies just before baking, because I’m a sucker for that sweet and salty combination. Then I went and doubled the recipe just so I could try it with two of my favorite kinds of ice cream, Cookie Dough and Rocky Road (Rocky Road was totally the best choice). Now, I really, really wanted to make my own ice cream, but life just didn’t allow for it this time. But I do think that dark chocolate and sea salt caramel swirl ice cream or blueberry cheesecake ice cream would be just divine in between two of these cookies.
Homemade ice cream sandwiches with chocolate cookies lightly sprinkled with sea salt.
- 3/4 cup Hershey's Dark cocoa powder
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Course sea salt, optional
- 3 quarts of your favorite ice cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla, mixing until combined.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients until throughly mixed.
- Chill the dough for 1 hour in the fridge - optional, but I found this helps when forming the balls.
- Form the dough into 32 balls by dividing the dough in half, then each half into two, the four…and so on until there are 32 equally-sized balls.
- Place 6 balls on each prepared baking sheet. Using a lightly floured glass, flatten each ball to a 3-inch circle.
- Sprinkle lightly with coarse sea salt (optional) for a nice burst of flavor and contrast to the sweet cookie.
- Return remaining dough to the fridge to chill while cookies bake.
- Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through.
- Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
- When completely cool, place in the freezer for at least 1 hour.
- When the cookies are frozen, place one rounded scoop of your favorite ice cream (let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes to soften) on top of one cookie. Place another cookie on top, lightly pressing until the ice cream spreads to the edges of the cookies.
- Place ice cream sandwiches on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Freeze until the ice cream has hardened, then transfer to a freezer bag or container.
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