7 years ago, at the tender age of 23, I fell in love with an Irishman.
(Or at least, someone whom I thought was an Irishman).
All the telltale signs were there: red hair, red beard, very Irish-sounding last name, above-average ability to recall Irish proverbs, and most importantly, could drink me under the table any night of the week.
(Dear people who are actually from Ireland: I realize these are all very generalized statements that are mildly to moderately offensive and culturally insensitive, so apologies in advance for my indiscretions).
So, I married said man, and we’ve had a wonderful, beautiful life together. Happily ever after, some would say.
Except…it was all a lie.
Turns out, I didn’t marry an Irishman at all. Rather, I married your typical, run of the mill, little-bit-Irish-but-really-mostly-British-and-Eastern-European midwestern white guy.
In my husband’s defense, he had no idea. In fact, no one in his family had any idea. Until one day, when his brother purchased one of those mail-order DNA kits, and the truth was revealed: my super Irish family turned out to be…well, just kinda Irish.
Since word of this earth-shattering realization, it’s been a rough few months – but we’re all working through it together, just like families do! (These delicious, booze-filled ice cream sandwiches are certainly helping us start the healing).
Another silver lining? St. Patty’s Day is just around the corner, and whether your biological make-up supports it or not, everyone is Irish on St. Patty’s Day!
I can’t think of a better way to pay homage to my family’s imagined heritage than 1) booze and 2) dark fudgy cookies. These sandwiches are absolutely incredible, and miles better than those store bought ones they used to give us in elementary school (no shade thrown here – those are amazing in their own right, but don’t hold a handle to these babies).
I’ll be upfront with you: making ice cream sandwiches from scratch is no joke, but don’t worry – it’s nothing we can’t do together! My humble advice is to focus on the ice cream first, since we know that really needs about 24 hours from start to finish.
(Side note: once I make my custard base, I like to refrigerate it overnight or for somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 to 8 hours to make sure it’s nice and cold before churning. Then, once you churn the ice cream and transfer to your storage container, I recommend storing the ice cream overnight or for a full 8 hours to give it some much needed beauty rest; aka, give it time to freeze fully. This is especially important with this ice cream – due to the high alcohol content, the ice cream will take longer to become solid).
For the ice cream, I used extra stout, but you can use any variety of guinness (or really, any dark beer). This super dark version lended a nice, almost coffee-like bitterness that stood up confidently against the cream and eggs, but was also a lovely complement to our chocolate cookies.
The trick to beer-infused ice cream is to use an entire bottle, but cook half of it until it reduces and turns slightly syrupy. Because of all the liquid we’re using, the texture of the finished product is a bit icier than my normal custard-based ice creams, but it’s perfect against the backdrop of the chewy fudgy cookies.
Speaking of cookies, you can use whatever cookie recipe you like, but this one is pretty special – because the recipe contains more sugar than chocolate, these cookies stay nice and chewy (as opposed to crumbly or rock hard) when frozen – resulting in the perfect ice cream sandwich bite: chocolate chunks that snap delightfully, chewy cookie that fights back but won’t break your tooth, and a slightly bitter-but-in-a-good-way Guinness ice cream refreshment. A touch of sea salt adds a savory complexity and perfectly rounds out the whole experience.
If you’re planning a get-together, you can make all the components a day or so in advance, which is very helpful in reducing any prep-related stress the day that you plan to serve these (St. Patty’s Day Party, perhaps?).
Regarding ice cream sandwich best practices, I wish I had more advice to give! But a few general rules of thumb:
- Freeze your cookies for an hour or two in advance of assembly, so they develop a bit of a backbone and you can manhandle them without worrying you’ll break them
- When scooping the ice cream, make sure you create nice rounded scoops with a lot of volume in the center of the scoop. This ensures that when you close the sandwich, you get rounded edges that are both visually appealing and guarantee a bit of ice cream in every single bite.
- When assembling, make sure the ice cream is soft and scoopable. When closing the sandwich together, don’t press too terribly hard or else the cookie may break in the middle (but freezing the cookies in advance will help reduce this risk).
- For storage, I always wrap my ice cream sandwiches in multiple layers of plastic wrap individually, and then freeze them in a storage container all together. The plastic wrap should keep the sandwiches fresh for up to a week, but the added barrier of the Tupperware keeps any unwanted frostiness from creeping inside and degrading our flavor.
Irish or not, I think you’ll love these super awesome, incredibly tasty, undeniably festive ice cream sandwiches that are perfect for your St. Patty’s Day gathering (whether that’s an actual gathering, or just eating pizza and watching on Nextflix).
Happy scooping 🙂
Dark Chocolate Chunk Guinness Ice Cream Sandwiches
Yield: About 12 Sandwiches
12 ounces (1 bottle) of Guinness (I used Foreign Extra Stout)
1 tsp of vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
2 cups of heavy cream
3/4 cup of white sugar
1/2 tsp of salt
(cookie recipe adapted from the Bojon Gourmet)
6 tbsp unsalted butter
10 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (1 and 3/4 cups) plus extra chunks for the tops of the cookies
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs (at room temp)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Flaky sea salt to finish
- Preheat oven to 350 and line rimless cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter gently until completely liquid. Then add in 1 cup of the chocolate, and stir constantly until completely melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside.
- Place eggs, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium-high until the batter triples in volume and is very light and airy, almost mousse-y (about 5 minutes).
- Turn the mixer to low and stir in the vanilla and melted chocolate (taking care the chocolate is only lukewarm, not hot). Stir until just combined, then add in the flour and beat on low speed until just combined. The batter should look like brownie batter.
- Fold in the remaining 3/4 cup chopped chocolate.
- Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto your prepared pan, allowing at least 2 inches in between each cookie. Top each cookie with sea salt and extra chocolate chunks, if desired.
- Bake until the tops are puffed and cracked, around 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes on the hot pans and then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Once completely cooled, place cookies in a storage container and freeze for one to two hours (if time allows) before you start assembling your sandwiches.
- In a medium skillet, heat half of the beer over medium heat. Cook until reduced by half (about 15 minutes) or until the beer becomes syrupy. Once reduced, combine with the rest of the beer in a large glass or liquid measuring cup. Add the vanilla extract, stir, and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, lightly break up egg yolks with a whisk. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine heavy cream, sugar, and salt. Heat until the granules of sugar are melted and the mixture just begins to steam (but don’t allow it to boil).
- Add the heated cream mixture to the egg yolks, a little at a time, whisking the egg yolks constantly (you don’t want scrambled eggs!).
- Once all of the heated cream has been added to the yolks, add the mixture back to the pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat proof spatula or wooden spoon. After about ten minutes, the mixture will thicken (you will feel it start to “push back” against your spoon). Once the mixture covers the spoon, but leaves a clear path when you wipe your finger across, your custard is done!
- Pour the custard through the sieve and into the bowl. This is where you will add your remaining beer! Stir to combine, and refridgerate mixture for 4 hours or preferably, overight.
- Freeze ice cream in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight storage container overnight, or for about 8 hours, ensuring it has enough time to freeze completely before you attempt to build your sandwiches.
- Remove ice cream from freezer and allow to soften for 5 to 10 minutes, or until easily scoopable. In the meantime, line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Line your cookies up on baking sheets in pairs, attempting to keep similarly-sized cookies together.
- Scoop ice cream on top of one side of each cookie, then gently press them together, taking care not to crush or smoosh your cookie.
- Once assembled, place sandwiches in the freezer and allow to harden for 20 minutes before serving.
- If not serving immediately, place uncovered sandwiches in the freezer for about an hour to harden. Then, wrap each individual sandwich in plastic wrap (I like to double wrap). Place ice cream sandwiches in an airtight storage container all together. Should keep for about 2 to 3 weeks.
- Enjoy 🙂