I told you I did something fantastic with that ice cream recipe from earlier this week.
The cookies are straight from my book. While I always hesitate to pick favorites, if I HAD to choose, the Old-Fashioned Cookie Dough Ice Cream Sandwiches (seen on the cover) would probably be it. Something about the salty chocolate cookies and the rich homemade ice cream are just perfect together.
And while I’d argue that there are few things better than Cookie Dough Ice Cream, the recipe is ripe for adaptation. Indeed, you could sandwich just about any flavor of ice cream between these cookies and your tastebuds would be mighty pleased.
Making ice cream sandwiches is easier than you’d think. The key? Parchment paper and cookie cutters. Line your baking pan with parchment paper before you add the ice cream. You’ll then be able to pull out the entire frozen block. Use the same cutter for your cookies as you do for the ice cream, and they’ll fit perfectly together. You can also simply cut the cookies and ice cream into squares if you so desire.
I was feeling round this time.
Use a skewer or a smooth chopstick to poke the holes. They have no purpose other than pure decoration so leave them off if you must, but I think they really give the sandwiches that classic look.
The cookie itself is the most important part of the recipe. It’s somewhere between a chocolate sable and a sugar cookie: slightly crisp on the edges but soft and chewy on the inside, just soft enough so you can bite into them right out of the freezer. The hit of espresso powder is not necessarily discernible in the final product, it just helps to deepen the chocolate flavor. Don’t skip it. And be sure to use a good, dark cocoa powder (might I suggest Cocao Barry Extra Brute?) and ample salt: otherwise it’d just be a bland cookie. And no one wants a bland cookie.
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There is mint, and then there is creme de menthe. Do not confuse the two, for other than a lingering freshness and tongue-tingling sensation, they are as different as two different mints can be.
What is creme de menthe? Think Andes mints. It’s a much creamier mint flavor, not nearly as sharp or spicy, that pretty much requires a pairing with dark chocolate.
This ice cream makes creme de menthe even cooler. Literally. The pale green ice cream is speckled with Andes mint baking chips for a double dose of minty sweetness.
Taylor found these Andes mint baking chips at Walmart. I don’t know about you but Andes mints have always been one of my favorite treats. I could easily eat an entire box in one sitting. Restaurants that delivered Andes mints with your check instead of the stupid little starlight mints always got extra points in my book. So it was no surprise that these chips made me very excited. I enjoyed the first bag so much that I sent Taylor back to get more. On a Saturday afternoon. Cruel, I know. I don’t know if there’s such thing as a good time to go to Walmart, but Saturday afternoon has got to be the worst. Sorry, dear, but I hope the ice cream was worth it!
If you can’t find the baking chips, make your own by chopping up some Andes mints yourself.
To further flavor the ice cream I used a few drops of creme de menthe flavoring oil, but you could use straight up creme de menthe (available in liquor stores) as well. Go easy on it, the last thing you want is ice cream that tastes like mouthwash.
Such is life.
If you think this ice cream is pretty fantastic as is, just wait until you see what I did with it (you know, other than stuffing my face). It’s worth the wait, I promise.
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We’re slowly getting back into the swing of things. Cooking like normal people again (you know, instead of eating dinner for brunch and dessert for dinner and the like). It feels like ages since I’ve been able to flip through a mouth-watering glossy and know I actually have time to try some of the recipes. At the same time, we’re so burnt out on dishes and more dishes that we’re not in the mood for anything fussy or complicated.
Regardless, we have no more excuses for not using up all our CSA squash. It’s been abundant, yet still reasonable this year, and we’ve been doing pretty darn good at not wasting it despite everything else on our plate.
This recipe is a quick and flavorful way to use up an otherwise unassuming gourd. Simply baked with a slathering of marinara sauce, a sprinkling of cheese, and topped with crispy toasted garlic breadcrumbs (perhaps the best part of the entire thing). It’s like a deconstructed eggplant parmesan… but with squash (although you could very well use eggplant, or even zucchini or any other squash for that matter).
So much of what we cook is out of pure necessity, and this recipe is no exception. From a drawer full of squash, a half jar of unused marinara sauce, and a wedge of forgotten cheese, and suddenly we had a delicious and satisfying dinner. A dinner we enjoyed so much, in fact, that we’ve made it two more times since.
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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There are few things that can compare to the Tennessee tomato. It’s one of the few things that makes the heat and humidity of summer bearable.
So much of our lives are spent waiting. Waiting for the weekend. Waiting for the next paycheck. Waiting for the fall and cooler weather.
But what if you just took a breath, forced yourself to slow down, to appreciate what you have in this very moment.
It’s not hard to do when you’re savoring the perfect simplicity of this tomato sandwich. No amount of heat can ruin the fact that this moment is pretty darn spectacular.
I’d argue that there is no more perfect lunch. Lightly toasted bread spread with tangy goat cheese, topped with slices of juicy heirloom tomatoes, and dotted with slices of briny kalamata olives and ribbons of fresh basil.
You could use mozzarella cheese. You could add garlic and capers or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. The only critical element is the tomato: it must be one of those tomatoes that makes your eyes roll back in your head. The kind you’d bite in to like an apple if no one was watching. Homegrown. Perfectly ripe. Gnarly and wrinkly and ugly in its beauty. Red, green, yellow, purple, or orange or any shade in between. Maybe you grow them in your backyard (color me green with envy) or maybe you buy them at your local farmer’s market. Either way, this sandwich can only be as extraordinary as the tomato it showcases.
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