Two-Tone Strawberry and Pistachio Ice Cream Sandwiches

Um hey. It’s been a while. Guess I’ve done that thing again where I pretend that life only has meaning if I’m doing so many things I forget to sit back and enjoy it all and ignore stuff that makes me happy like writing and cooking. Whoops. Though when I think about it, making my annual trip to Boston, chillin with my college buds by the lake, spending my 27th birthday at a Rebelution concert, starting another bout of marathon training, and hanging out in Raleigh for a weekend is by no means a poor use of time. But seriously, it’s getting to be less about work/life balance and more about life/life balance here. Sigh.

Having so many aspirations and projects and general things I want to do or things I want in my life made me think of this article that I saw on Cup of Jo recently. It comes up with this formula that “Your Achievement” is “Your Potential” divided by “Your Directions, squared”. It’s a great read if you have a second but the main gist is that truly great achievements aren’t feasible if you’re trying to fit in too many at one time. Instead, your greatest successes (and probably this life/life balance I’m having a hard time finding) come at the cost of cutting things out. And guess what? I don’t like doing that.

I like to think that having this never-ending to-do list means success. But, between my macramé side-hustle, this blog, traveling, running, baking, and spending quality time with friends and family, I feel like my foundations are at last crumbling. At these times a quote from the The Fellowship of the Ring movie comes to mind. Bilbo says, “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” That Bilbo, he gets me.

So, like any logical person who believes in sound science, I asked my tarot cards what I should focus on – yes I really am going crazy – and performed a “Mind, Body, Soul” reading to get some clarity. For Mind I drew the Hierophant card, signifying knowledge, a desire to learn, to expand mental challenges. For Body I drew the Eight of Cups, a card of ill health signifying that my body needs to move on from health stagnation. And for Soul, the Nine of Cups, a welcoming card of bliss and harmony, one that shows peace of mind and happiness, of things just turning out right. I could not think of a better focus for my soul.

So in order to focus on my mind, body and soul in the ways I see fit, maybe things may slow down over here for a bit. Not end, of course not, but arrive at a more leisurely pace because I can’t deny that this is good for my soul as well. And even if it takes me 5 days to make, assemble and photograph some sort of dish (like it did for these here ice cream sandwiches) and another 2 weeks to write about it, so be it. And speaking of ice cream sandwiches… I made these babies for my birthday last Sunday and today is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day so it all seemed very appropriate to show them to you at last.

These came from a very eye-catching post in Bon Appetit magazine because honestly who can really resist brightly colored, two-toned dessert foods these days. They take some time, some patience, and some precision but the results are worth it for sure. You start by making these rich and salty chocolate cookies, cutting them into classic rectangle shapes and baking until crisp. Then, with some chilling time in between, you melt, spread, and re-freeze 2 flavors of ice cream (I used strawberry and pistachio), cut them into blocks, and sandwich them perfectly between two cookies. They are best after sitting in the freezer for a day or two as well so the cookies soften a bit because who really wants to bite into an ice cream sandwich and watch the ice cream squeeze out the sides. In the end, I guess I could’ve just bought some cookies and saved myself a ton of trouble here, but I gotta maintain some level of insanity over here, right? Wouldn’t feel normal without it.

Two-Tone Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes 20 sandwiches
From Bon Appetit

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks of unsalted room temperature butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
2 room temperature eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. instant espresso powder

2 pints of 1 ice cream flavor, your choice
2 pints of another ice cream flavor, your choice

Whisk together the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and flour in a bowl. In a stand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and sugar on medium high speed for 4-5 minutes until fluffy. Reduce to medium and add in the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla and espresso powder. Reduce the speed to low and add in the dry ingredients. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Take out half of the dough and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Lightly dust your surface with flour and roll out your dough into a 12x16 inch rectangle at 1/8 inch thick. Cut it in half lengthwise and then make cuts crosswise to divide each half into 10 pieces, making 20 total. Transfer them to the baking sheet, prick the cookies with a fork, and bake for 12 minutes. Soften, roll and cut the other half of the dough while these bake. When the cookies are done, transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in a sealed plastic bag until ready to use them.

To prepare the ice cream, take 2 pints of one flavor and scoop it all out into a medium bowl to soften for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, line a 13x9 inch baking pan or casserole dish with plastic wrap. When soft use a spoon to mix up the ice cream into a spreadable, even consistency. Pour into the pan and spread across the bottom with an offset spatula. Place in the freezer to resolidify, 30 minutes to an hour.  Repeat this process with the next flavor, spreading it overtop the first one. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze for 12 hours.

To assemble the sandwiches, overturn the pan of ice cream onto a cutting board and remove the plastic wrap. Trim off the edges to make them neat and cut into 20 pieces with a sharp knife in the same way you did the cookies. Use an offset spatula to lift up each piece onto an upside-down cookie and top it with a right-side up cookie. Transfer the cookies to a lined baking sheet and freeze for 2 hours until hard. At this point you can cover them and let them soften for 24 hours before eating.