I'm having major anxiety about summer ending. And it’s only mid-July.
Because this is my season, the time of year that brings me to my knees and I'd be perfectly happy if it went on forever. It’s not just the warm days and hazy summer light that gets me, it’s fingers stained red from pitting cherries. It’s frizzy hair and wearing a cloak made of heat and humidity. It’s going on hikes after dinner and reading in hammocks over the creek. It’s falling asleep to a chorus of crickets and waking up in a sun-filled room.
It’s all just so perfect. And I’m determined to soak up every last moment of it.
And what celebrates summer more than ice cream? Growing up, my sister and I would save our money for the chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches at the swim club. We’d peel back the wrapper and devour them with soggy, wet hands, while our bathing suits dripped around our feet. Perhaps the best part was the thick coat of cookie crumbs and chocolate that stuck to our fingertips and required the sharp edge of our teeth to come clean.
This memory came to me the other day and it wasn't long before I was dreaming of cookie and ice cream combinations. Chai ice cream with oatmeal cookies would be amazing, or a lemony cookie with lavender berry cream...the options are endless. I ultimately went with this heavenly combination of pistachio ice cream and dark chocolate, smoked sea salt cookies. The result is a creamy savory-sweet ice cream that tastes of pistachios and almond. The saltiness of the cookie begs for something cool and creamy and this ice cream pairing does just the trick.
This recipe does not require a fancy machine, nor does it require tediously stirring the mixture every 30 minutes. In fact, it comes together in less than 20, allows the freezer to do all the work and has the consistency of creamy, well-churned, easily-scoopable ice cream.
It really is as easy as it sounds. I can say this with confidence because I shelled one million pistachios and tested this recipe six times before declaring it show-ready! But before I get to the recipe, I want to share a few quick tips and tricks I picked up along the way:
- Line your bread tin with parchment paper to make for easy cleanup.
- Alcohol lowers the freezing point of the ice cream, making the consistency softer and easier to scoop. It is of course optional, but recommended.
- To make this recipe dairy-free, try making a sweetened condensed coconut milk base, like this one here. Then, replace the heavy whipping cream with full-fat coconut milk.
- Allow the ice cream to set out for about 5 or so minutes before scooping.
- After assembling the ice cream sandwiches, place them back in the freezer for a bit to firm up. You’d think the cookie would freeze and become too hard to eat, but much the opposite is true. In fact, I’ll pull them out of the freezer and serve them immediately and the cookies are firm enough to hold the ice cream, but soft enough to bite into.
As always, thanks for stopping by and enjoy!
Dark Chocolate, Sea Salt + Pistachio Ice Cream Sandwiches
Homemade, No-Churn Pistachio Ice Cream
- 1 cup, unsalted pistachios, shelled, plus additional pistachios chopped for topping.
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 Tbsp. vodka (optional, but helps with consistency)
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- Place the pistachios in a coffee grinder or food processor and grind into a paste. If using a coffee grinder, you may have to work in batches, but you’ll get more of a pistachio dust than the more liquid paste created by a food processor. Both work fine for this recipe. Once you’ve created the powder/paste, place into a blender and add the vanilla extract, almond extract, sweetened condensed milk, vodka (if using) and a pinch of sea salt. Blend until smooth.
- Then, pour into a large bowl and set aside. Next, take 2 cups of very cold heavy whipping cream and place into the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip on high speed until the cream begins to thicken, form peaks and become fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
- Using a spatula, take about two or three dollops of the whipped cream and gently fold into the blended pistachio mixture. Then, repeat, carefully folding in another few dollops of the whipped cream and finally add in the rest and fold until blended. Be mindful not to over mix.
- Line a bread pan with parchment paper (optional, but makes for easy cleanup) and pour half the ice cream mixture into the pan. Sprinkle the top with chopped pistachios. Then, pour the rest of the ice cream mixture on top, and gently swirl to combine. Cover the bread pan with a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil and place in the freezer overnight or for at least 4 hours. To serve, remove from freezer and sprinkle with additional pistachios.
- To make ice cream sandwiches, place one large scoop of ice cream on a cookie and use the back of the ice cream scooper to press and smooth. Then, top with an additional cookie. Eat immediately or place back in the freezer, covered in foil. (Note: It’s easiest to eat the ice cream sandwiches if they’ve been chilling in the freezer first)
Dark Chocolate, Smoked Sea Salt Cookies
*recipe adapted from Joy the Baker
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chunks
- Smoked sea salt, for topping
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and prepare two cookie sheets.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Then, add in the egg and beat for an additional minute. Lastly, add in the vanilla extract and beat just until incorporated.
- Next, in a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Then, pour the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Lastly, mix in the chocolate chunks.
- Dollop or scoop cookie dough by the 2 tablespoonful onto prepared baking sheets. Leave about 2 inches of room between each cookie. Sprinkle generously with smoked sea salt.
- Bake in the oven for 18-24 minutes, or until just golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.