The chocolate dip takes this playful riff on a classic Italian dessert to the next level. Want more texture? Roll the edge of the ice cream sandwich in chopped pistachios. Or gild the lily and do half-chocolate, half-pistachio -- it's up to you. You will need an ice cream maker.
Active time: 1 hour; Total time: 1 hour, 30 mins (plus at least 9 hours' chilling time)
Make Ahead: The ice cream base needs to be refrigerated until thoroughly chilled, which takes about 1 hour. The ice cream needs to be frozen for at least 4 hours before it is used to make the sandwiches. The cookie dough needs to be refrigerated for several hours or up to overnight. The baked cookies need to be frozen for at least 1 hour before they are used to make the sandwiches, or they can be frozen for up to 1 month. The ice cream sandwiches need to be frozen for at least 2 hours before the chocolate dip is applied. (The chopped pistachios can be applied right after filling the cookies.) The dipped sandwiches need to be frozen for at least 1 hour and up to 4 days before serving.
Storage Notes: The filled cookies can be wrapped tightly and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. The dip can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks; bring to room temperature before using.
Servings: 12 ice cream sandwiches
- For the ice cream
- One (15-ounce) container high-quality whole-milk ricotta
- 3/4 cup (177 milliliters) whole milk
- 3/4 cup (180 milliliters) heavy cream
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- For the cookies
- 1 1/2 cups (185 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (55 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For assembly
- 8 ounces (226 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Chopped pistachios (optional)
Make the ice cream: In the bowl of a food processor or pitcher of a blender, combine the ricotta, milk, heavy cream, sugar and orange zest. Pulse until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy with tiny flecks of zest, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour.
Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer's directions, usually 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and press parchment paper against the surface of the ice cream; freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. You should get about 1 quart.
Make the cookies: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until combined.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl (if using a handheld mixer), combine the butter and sugars and beat on medium-high speed, until smooth and well incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Stop the mixer to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add the egg and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until well incorporated, about 45 seconds. Stop the mixer to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to form a very soft dough. Shape it into a 6-inch long log, wrap in parchment paper and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
Using a small, sharp knife, slice the log into about twenty-four 1/4-inch thick rounds. Place them on the baking sheets, leaving at least 1 inch of space between the rounds.
Bake, one sheet at a time, 10 to 12 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes before transferring the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Place the cookies on a baking sheet and freeze the cookies for at least 1 hour before using them to make sandwiches.
About 15 minutes before you're ready to assemble, line another baking sheet with parchment paper, then place it in the freezer.
Invert half of the cookies on a clean work surface; top each with a small scoop of the ricotta ice cream, then top with another cookie (bottom sides down), gently pressing to form a sandwich and making sure the ice cream filling goes all the way to the edges. Place the sandwiches on the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze until firm, about 2 hours.
While the ice cream sandwiches are firming up, cut 12 squares of parchment paper big enough to wrap each ice cream sandwich.
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate and oil and heat on LOW in 20-second increments, stirring between each one, until melted and smooth. Cool until just warm.
Working with one frozen sandwich at a time, dip half of the sandwich into the melted chocolate, letting any excess drip back into the bowl. Return to the same baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches and chocolate. Return the sheet of ice cream sandwiches to the freezer and chill until the chocolate has set, about 1 hour.
Serve, or wrap the sandwiches individually and return to the freezer until needed.
Adapted from "Cookies & Cream: Hundreds of Ways to Make the Perfect Ice Cream Sandwich," by Tessa Arias (Running Press, 2013).
Tested by Ann Maloney, Becky Krystal and Bonnie S. Benwick.
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