Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

  sandwich

With summer in full swing, I’ve been seeing a lot of ice cream recipes circulating around Pinterest. This ice cream sandwich trick has popped up a few times and I decided to give it a try after reading about Lauren Conrad’s successful attempt on her website. I used my sea salt chocolate chip cookie recipe (minus the sea salt) to make the cookies and bought a variety of mini ice cream cartons for the filling. Instead of using pints and large cookies, which other recipes called for, I decided to use the personal-sized cartons and small chocolate chip cookies to create a more manageable serving size. It was a simple, sweet treat and just the right amount!

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How to:

  1. Take the ice cream out of the freezer and use a sharp knife to make an incision at the top of the carton where the cardboard overlaps, dragging it vertically to the bottom. This will make it easier to peel off the wrapping when the ice cream is cut into discs.
  2. Next, cut horizontally to create a one-inch-thick disk of ice cream, then peel off the cardboard.
  3. Place on top of one cookie, then top with another to create the sandwich. To ensure it stays frozen, return to freezer and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  4. Repeat and enjoy :)

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It’s important to keep the ice cream in the freezer until you are ready to begin cutting, working with one carton at a time. The softer the ice cream, the harder it is to cut into disks. Also, the ice cream will naturally melt while you are working with it, so it helps to freeze the assembled sandwiches before eating them in order to keep their shape and not become a sticky mess. Overall, I would agree that this trick works, but it’s not as easy and perfect as Pinterest makes it seem.

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{Pictured above: salted caramel, vanilla bean and chocolate chip cookie dough}

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Brown Butter Bacon Ice Cream

bacon

Bacon and ice cream aren’t normally associated with each other, but just like maple doughnuts topped with bacon bits, this unlikely combination of sweet and salty will definitely please your palate. We were inspired to make this indulgent dessert after devouring the bourbon fudge brownie topped with housemade brown butter bacon ice cream at Carson Kitchen in Downtown Las Vegas.

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The taste and texture of the candied bacon complements the creamy base perfectly. It brings the sweetness while the brown butter brings the salty, nutty flavor. I would advise making a few extra pieces of bacon because most likely they will not all make it to the ice cream. A few slices may or may not have been eaten before mixing the ingredients….

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Brown Butter Ice Cream with Candied Bacon

Ingredients

For the candied bacon:

  • 6 or 7 strips of bacon
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

For the ice cream custard:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 3/4 cups Half & Half
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. rum

Directions

  1. To make the candied bacon, preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Top with a cooling rack and spray with coking spray. Press brown sugar onto both sides of the bacon and lay on prepared rack. Cook for 8 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 8-12 minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the brown sugar is bubbly. Let cool.
  2. For the ice cream custard, melt butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until butter is a dark amber color and has a nutty smell (about 6 minutes). Pour through a fine strainer into a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Bring Half & Half to a simmer in a large saucepan, stirring occasionally.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugars and salt, until thickened and well blended. Whisk in brown butter until combined. Gradually add warm Half & Half to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking. Once tempered, return to saucepan and add the vanilla and rum. Stir over medium heat until mixture reaches 180F and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain into a large bowl. Cover with cling wrap, pressing it down directly on top of the custard to prevent a film from forming. Let cool in refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  5. Once the custard is completely cool, place in ice cream machine and follow manufacturer’s directions. Add candied bacon bits when there are about 5 minutes left.
  6. Let it harden in the freezer or serve immediately. It goes great with fresh brownies!
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Bourbon Brownies

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After indulging in the brown butter bacon ice cream served with a bourbon fudge brownie at Carson Kitchen, Rob and I attempted to recreate this decadent dessert. Step one: the brownie! I’m not much of a bourbon fan, but mixed with chocolate it is delicious! The flavor is subtle and really enhances the cocoa. I like to serve these sweet treats while they are still warm and top them with ice cream (brown butter bacon recipe coming soon). Fresh brownies with melting ice cream—what’s not to love?

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Bourbon Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 large eggs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly coat 9″ x 9″ baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the bourbon to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, stirring until smooth.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine sugar and butter, mixing on medium speed until well combined. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fully incorporated.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, powder and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until combined.
  5. Spread into prepared baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test. Cool in pan on wire rack.

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Watermelon Strawberry Sangria

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Did you know that today is National Watermelon Day? Well, it is and the timing couldn’t be more perfect because this cool, healthy fruit is a summer staple. I’ve used it for several recipes this season, including a watermelon and feta salad, watermelon margaritas and watermelon ice cubes to go with homemade lemonade.

After making a batch of refreshing margaritas, I decided to use the rest of the flavorful fruit to make some thirst-quenching sangria. This simple recipe yields four to six servings and is perfect for a backyard barbecue. Summer and sangria definitely go together like peanut butter and jelly. Enjoy!

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Carson Kitchen

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For Rob’s birthday in March, I told him I would buy tickets for a concert at Brooklyn Bowl because I think he would really enjoy this new venue at The LINQ complete with food, drinks and bowling. The concert space reminds me of the Showbox in Seattle, which we saw some fun shows at, so I thought it was a great gift! However, we haven’t been able to see any of the bands we like because of his weird shift work schedule, so we did a little birthday redo. He wanted to see the Book of Mormon, so I bought him tickets to that and surprised him with dinner before the show. Carson Kitchen is a new restaurant in Downtown Las Vegas and had only been open for a day or two when we dined. Everything was on point and is now one of our favorite Vegas restaurants.

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We started with the baked brie and bacon jam, which is served alongside a toasted baguette. The flavor was amazing and definitely unique! We also shared the veal meatballs in a sherry foie gras cream sauce. These sharable plates were delicious and something you can’t find anywhere else.

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I ordered the cocoa-espresso NY strip steak with red wine demi  since I can’t say no to chocolate or espresso. Rob and I always play the “who ordered best” game and I definitely won this round. His swordfish was good, too, but it’s hard to beat this indulgent steak.

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Throughout the meal I couldn’t stop thinking about the bourbon brownie I had seen on the dessert menu. It is served with brown butter bacon ice cream, which was similar to a salted caramel flavor. The candied bacon added a little crunch and created that sweet and salty flavor that I love! We will definitely try making this with our own ice cream machine soon!

Since this first visit, I have been back for a girls’ night where we enjoyed the tempura green beans with pepper jelly cream cheese and baked truffle mac & cheese. Of course I also had to try the glazed donut bread pudding, which is made with doughnuts from the neighboring O Face Doughnuts. It was also amazing. The restaurant itself has a casual, neighborhood vibe that is enhanced with a rooftop deck adorned with festive strings of lights making it a great Downtown destination.

 

Flavorful Friday Fiesta

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TGIF! What better way to start the weekend than with a flavorful fiesta – and watermelon margarita?! Last weekend we grilled up some of our favorite eats and meats to have a fun, festive dinner. The meal was an afterthought to the watermelon margaritas I was excited to try. I wanted the cuisine to complement the refreshing concoction, so we grilled some summer staples and added a Mexican twist.

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We grilled a seasoned skirt steak, which was then topped with an avocado salsa. For a side, I spiced up classic corn on the cob by seasoning it with chili powder and sprinkling it with cotija cheese. I had tasted this traditional Mexican street corn at a restaurant here in Vegas and decided to recreate the deliciousness. The buttery, flavorful corn made for a sensational side.

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Mexican Corn on the Cob

Ingredients

  • 2 ears of corn, shucked
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated cotija cheese
  • 2 wedges of lime
  • 1 tsp. chili powder

Directions

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Grill corn until hot and lightly charred, 7 to 10 minutes. Use a basting brush to coat corn with melted butter and mayonnaise. Sprinkle with cotija cheese, lime juice and chili powder.

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Skirt Steak with Avocado Salsa

Ingredients

For the steak:

  • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak or sirloin steak
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

For the salsa:

  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 sprigs of cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Mix all of the steak seasonings together and rub on the steaks about 1 hour before grilling, covering well and storing in refrigerator. Grill for about 4 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 4-6 minutes, until steak reaches desired doneness.
  2. To make the salsa, mix the salsa ingredients together in a bowl and serve on top of the steak.

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National Hot Dog Day

hot dog 2 CollageI think it’s fitting that National Hot Dog Day falls in July. Whether they are enjoyed at the ball park or around a camp fire, these popular eats seem like the epitome of summer (in addition to ice cream and s’mores, of course). Even though hot dogs seem like a seasonal dish, when I was little they were a year-round staple. I remember Thanksgiving dinners as a kid when my mom would bring hot dogs for my sister and I because we were such picky eaters. I don’t know what happened because now I am very adventurous and enjoy trying new cuisines. Who would have thought that the kid chowing down on microwaved hot dogs would have tried (and liked!) calamari and carpaccio?!

Back then I stuck to ketchup (not even mustard!) as a classic condiment, but now these unique creations make my mouth water! I can’t wait to spice up our next backyard barbecue with these tasty treats.

hot dog 7{Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper Hot Dog from Shared Appetite}

hot dog 5
{Corn Dog Mini Muffins from Damn Delicious}

hot dog 1{Tex Mex Hot Dogs from Country Cleaver}

hot dog 6
{BLT Hot Dogs with Caraway Remoulade from Food & Wine}

hot dog 2
{Sweet Pork & Tomatillo Ranch Hot Dogs from Creme de la Crumb}