Double Chocolate Cookies

I love to celebrate, even if it’s something simple.  Today I’m celebrating that it’s finally November, which means it’s almost December, which means it’s ALMOST Christmas!  YAY!  Ice cream for everyone! 😀

My mother-in-law gave me an ice cream maker last year, and since then I’ve fallen in love with homemade ice cream.  The flavor combinations and mix-ins are endless (pistachios, pecans, chocolate chips, Oreo cookies or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, anyone?), and the creamy texture is OUT OF THIS WORLD.  It’s really not that difficult to make, the hardest part is waiting for the freshly churned ice cream to firm up overnight!

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I’ve been making a lot of pumpkin recipes lately…..pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread, and Pumpkin Mousse Phyllo Cups with Cinnamon Cream + Candied Pecans.  I know, that’s whole lotta pumpkin goin’ on, but I’m crazy for it.  I made some caramel pumpkin ice cream last week, and even though it tastes fantastic with just a crumble of cinnamon sugar graham crackers (or my personal fave, Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips, drooling, drooling….), I really wanted to satisfy my chocolate craving as well.  Have you ever mixed chocolate with pumpkin?  If not, you should, and this ice cream sandwich could be the perfect opportunity!  If you have an ice cream maker, you should definitely check out the recipe for caramel pumpkin ice cream here.

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Of course the options for ice cream sandwich cookies are endless:  chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, even graham crackers can work in a pinch.  I’ve been meaning to try this recipe for dark chocolate cookies from Bi-Rite Creamery, an amazing ice cream shop in San Francisco.  My husband and I went to San Francisco for our honeymoon in 2005.  This ice cream shop didn’t open until 2006, but I have every intention of making a trip back to SF someday!  I would love to try their ice cream, AND stop by my favorite breakfast/brunch restaurant Sears Fine Food for some silver dollar pancakes and one of their scrumptious omelets.  In the meantime, I’ll just drool over the recipes in their cookbook, and even make a few at home!

Me on a trolley in 2005.  San Francisco suits me, don't you think?  if I ever win the lotto, I'm moving there!!!
Me on a trolley in 2005. San Francisco suits me, don’t you think? if I ever win the lotto, I’m moving there!!!

This recipe is inspired by Bi-Rite Creamery’s original recipe, but I bumped up the chocolate factor by adding some semi-sweet chocolate chips.  While they fill the bill nicely for ice cream sandwich cookies, they also make a great snack with a cold glass of milk or a latte.  Enjoy! 🙂

Double Chocolate Cookies

Makes approx. 4 dozen cookies, but I often freeze the dough and bake some later (see details in recipe for how to do this)

2 2/3 cups all purpose flour

2 cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder, measured then sifted

4 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 3/4 cup plus 2 TBSP unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

3 eggs

1 – 12 oz. bag of Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

*  You can use any brand chocolate chips, but I use Ghirardelli almost exclusively

Directions

Whisk together flour, sifted cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.  Using a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment on a stand mixer, cream butter, sugar and brown sugar.  Mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl and add eggs one at a time, mixing in each egg before adding the next.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the flour mixture, and mix on low speed until the dough comes together, about 30 seconds.  Don’t overmix!  Add chocolate chips and mix on low speed for 5 seconds.

This next step is very important!  The original recipe says to cover and chill the dough until firm, at least 2 hours to overnight.  HERE’S THE PROBLEM:  The dough is so firm, it cannot be scooped without a ton of elbow grease.  TRY THIS INSTEAD:  Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.  Using a tablespoon, scoop out 2 tablespoons of dough and form into a ball with your hands.  Place on the baking sheet, 4 in a row, 6 rows total.  Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand to make a small disk.  THEN pop in the freezer for an hour.  Transfer cookie dough disks to a zip top freezer bag.  Repeat with remaining dough, you will yield about 48 cookies in all.  I typically don’t need to bake off 48 cookies at once, but having some ready to bake in the freezer at a moment’s notice is wonderfully convienient, I highly recommend you do this!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Defrost cookie dough disks on the counter while you preheat the oven.    I bake six at a time on a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 5 minutes, rotate cookie sheet, then bake for an additional 5-7 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet for one minute, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Ice Cream Sandwich Assembly

IF you are using storebought ice cream, place ice cream in the refrigerator to soften for 20 minutes.  IF you are using homemade ice cream, there is no need to soften at room temperature.

 

Arrange half of the cookies upside down on a baking sheet.
Arrange half of the cookies upside down on a baking sheet.

 

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop a large scoop of ice cream onto a cookie and sandwich it with a second cookie.
Using an ice cream scoop, scoop a large scoop of ice cream onto a cookie and sandwich it with a second cookie.

NOW SMUSH IT, SMUSH IT GOOD! 😀

In more refined terms, press on the cookies slightly to encourage the ice cream to come all the way to the edges.
In more refined terms, press on the cookies slightly to encourage the ice cream to come all the way to the edges.

 

Place cookies on a baking sheet and allow to harden for at least two hours.  For the best ice cream sandwiches, assemble the same day.  If you plan to store them, transfer each sandwich to a zip top freezer bag.