After my sister’s baby shower in July - which if you forgot, I made enough ice cream to feed a small army - I decided to take a break from making my favorite frozen dessert. And even though it was much needed, and I was happily baking cookies, tarts and cheesecakes these past few months, I knew it wouldn’t be long before the ice cream maker was calling my name.
What also prompted me to pull my ice cream maker out of the pantry was in part from binge-watching Viceland’s TV show “The Ice Cream Show”. Although the show debuted in 2018, it just came onto my radar last week when Viceland aired a marathon of the series (there’s only 10 episodes total). The show is hosted by Isaac Lappert, a third generation ice cream maker who has been working for his family’s ice cream company, Lappert’s, since he was 6 years old. Throughout the series, Isaac travels around the country visiting and eating at America’s most beloved ice cream destinations; a very basic formula for food television, but one that resonated with me because I dream of opening up my own cream shop one day. To see various companies that started from all different backgrounds and hear their stories of blooming into huge successful companies or remain “mom and pop” shops that have a cult following, was seriously inspiring.
In one of the episodes, Isaac visits the Mecca of the ice cream world: the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Vermont. When I was watching this episode (and if I’m being honest, every other episode as well) I was dying to get into the kitchen to make a quart of ice cream. When I was little, if you were to ask me what my favorite foods were, I 100% would have answered with “chicken fingers and fries and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream”. And although I was obsessed with Thrifty’s version of the popular ice cream flavor, Ben & Jerry’s was the kind I always wanted but only got on special occasions because it was the “fancier” ice cream. Regardless, I am a chocolate chip cookie dough (CCCD from here on out!) ice cream fanatic and once I was able to make my version of it at home, adult version of me was not only elated but worried about not fitting into my clothes anymore. Because I will say this, the recipe I’m giving you below for my version of a CCCD ice cream is just as, if not better, than Ben & Jerry’s. And I think that’s a big deal!
I’ve made this ice cream for myself a handful of times over the years and I usually combined the cookie dough with a basic vanilla ice cream recipe. But for my blog, I wanted to give you another option but keep it simple enough so that the ice cream base wouldn’t overpower the cookie dough: enter brown sugar ice cream. I basically took my vanilla ice cream recipe and swapped in brown sugar where the granulated sugar went, took out one egg yolk and called it a day! I was worried that you wouldn’t be able to tell a difference between this and my basic vanilla recipe, but there’s definitely a distinction albeit a subtle one. Since brown sugar has molasses in it, the ice cream will have a slight caramel/toffee taste to it and the overall appearance (especially pre-churned) will be a darker/more tan color than plan vanilla. As for what kind of brown sugar to use… light, golden, dark… you’re good to use any of the three. I’ve made it with light brown sugar and then once with dark brown and I saw no difference in the color of the ice cream base nor did I taste anything different. So whatever you have in you’re pantry, use it up.
Let’s get to the most important aspect of today’s ice cream: the cookie dough. I’d like to think of myself as a “normal” fan when it comes to cookie dough and how I eat it. For example, whenever I make a batch of cookies, I of course steal bits of dough here and there and love to lick clean the spatula and mixing bowl (yet, I’m nice and usually give it to Alex because we’re in a healthy, sharing relationship). But, I am pretty grossed out with the new fad of shops that solely sell scoops of cookie dough, instead of scoops of ice cream. I don’t know why but I feel like a bowl of cookie dough is too much and it should be a little treat that you either sneak when baking cookies or search for pockets of when eating a pint of ice cream. My point is… cookie dough is sacred and there’s a right time and place for it. Don’t exploit it!
Growing up, I know we all were warned by our parents that it was unsafe to consume raw cookie dough, and obviously, the moment my mom left the kitchen, I would take a HUGE spoonful out of the Pillsbury cookie dough tube (you know the one). I still stand by the fact that a little bit can’t hurt you, but if you’re going to make your own CCCD ice cream with the only intention of eating raw cookie dough, then definitely you need to take the proper steps to avoid getting sick. It was always thought that consuming raw eggs were the problematic part of cookie dough, but as we’ve come to find out, it’s also the flour as well! Raw flour is loaded with bacteria, so the cookie dough recipe below will not only be missing eggs but will have instructions for you to heat the flour to 160° F. This can be done in the microwave and only takes about 1 minute, but it’s an important step! Don’t skip it.
So since we’re taking eggs out of the cookie dough, we’re going to have to add something that helps bind the dough together as well as provides fat for flavor. The best way to achieve that is by using heavy cream, but in a pinch, you can also use whole milk especially since you’ll have leftover if you’re making the ice cream base. As for the rest of the dough and the process of making it, it’s totally simple. You don’t need the rising agents (baking powder and baking soda) because you won’t be baking off the dough and overall, you can be pretty lackadaisical when making the dough. You don’t have to worry too much about having perfectly room temperature butter or whether or not you over mixed the dough… these are all things that need to be taken into account when baking off the cookies, not for consuming raw cookie dough. The only thing you have to worry about is if the dough tastes amazing. It will, I promise.
Brown Sugar and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream
Yields about 1 quart
For the ice cream:
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed (light or dark works)
Pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Chocolate chip cookie dough, to finish (recipe below)
For the edible cookie dough (recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 tbsp. heavy cream (or whole milk)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
In a large bowl, add 1 cup of the heavy cream and set a strainer over the top (use a bowl that will be able to fit over an ice bath for later).
Warm the milk, 1 cup of heavy cream, brown sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Just as the milk mixture is beginning to simmer, gradually add some of it to the bowl of egg yolks, whisking constantly as to not scramble the eggs (this is called tempering). Once the egg yolk mixture temperature has raised, pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Stir constantly over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of your spatula or spoon.
Pour the custard mixture over the strainer-lined bowl. Stir the custard in with the heavy cream that is already in the bowl and add in the vanilla extract. Let the ice cream base sit over an ice bath for about an hour before moving to the refrigerator. Chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Make the cookie dough: Place the flour in a small bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute and 15 seconds, stirring well every 15 seconds. You want to get the flour’s temperature up to 160°, but if you don’t have a thermometer, 1:15 should be more than enough time to kill any bacteria. Set the flour aside. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer) cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add in the heavy cream and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated. Add the flour and salt and mix on low for 10 seconds, then mix on medium until no flour bits remain. Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour (this will help in scooping out the cookie dough bites).
Right before churning the ice cream, scoop out the cookie dough bites. You can use a teaspoon to help make more uniform bites, but honestly, I just used my hands and eyeballed it. The dough bites don’t have to be perfectly matched! Quickly roll each cookie dough bite into a ball and stick them onto a plate and place them in the freezer.
Churn the ice cream in your maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the finished ice cream to an airtight container and stir in the cookie dough bites. Freeze until solid. Enjoy!