The other day, over dinner, mom innocently asked Bella and me what our favorite Trashy Junk Food was. On so many levels, that ought to be an easy question for me to spurn: The Omnivores Dilemma is my favorite book, I love the locavore movement, I’m a part-time moral vegetarian, my mom’s a gourmet cooking teacher, and for Heaven’s sake, I write a food blog. On all accounts, I should really be above all that.
But, you may find it refreshing to know, food bloggers (most of us) are people too. From Pringles to Flavor Blasted Goldfish, Green Sour Patch Kids to Snickers Bars, memories and flavors came rushing back to me. I remembered the time at summer camp when Nora and I each ate 3 bowls of Cocoa Pebbles for breakfast, or the many Halloweens when I would trade Ellie for all her Reese’s Pieces (after we’d eaten Nathans Hot Dogs wrapped in Pillsbury Crescent Rolls for dinner…). Then, of course, some of these foods just taste much better than any of us want to admit. Cappuccino Jelly Bellies are almost as good as Tiramisù, and McDonalds French Fries could hold their own at any bistro. We find the Ruffles rrrrrrrrridges completely irresistable, and though many of you may have heard me profess that goat cheese is my favorite food in the whole wide world, I’m sorry to say that is a vicious lie. I’m just too ashamed to admit how much I love Frosted Flakes.
Your list may not be as bad as the one Isabella and I started (57 favorites, and counting) but I *know* you have foods like this too. The problem is, as I’ve already addressed, we are all so (theoretically) above these foods that it’s kind of embarrassing to buy them. Our twinkies are supposed to come from local bakeries, and at the very least we have to pretend that Paul Newman makes milk’s favorite cookie (although to be fair, Trader Joe Joes actually are way better than Oreos). But that brings me to the other issue. A lot of times, when you go back to your favorite junk foods, they don’t taste quite the way you remember. Duncan Hines brownies have yet to disappoint me, but I swear Funfetti is way sweeter than it used to be. So I decided to begin an intermittent series in which we’ll take our favorite junk foods, and we’ll make them ourselves so they’ll taste as good as we remember (maybe better!), and so we can sort of pretend they’re healthier (they’re not). And because the Good Humor Truck has been tempting me at the playground all summer, I thought we’d start with the Chipwich, my all-time Ice Cream Truck favorite.
I didn’t want to change it too much – no Rosewater Ice Cream or Dulce de Leche layers or Almond coatings. Those would be delicious, but superfluous. I trust you (and encourage you) to add them on your own if you want, but my goal was to get the satisfaction of the original, while making up for the few things it lacks. For our version, we adapted the New York Times version of the Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookie, which is is the best cookie we’ve ever made or eaten, and to preserve our sanity we filled them with Haagen Dazs Vanilla Ice Cream. I’ll spare you my rant on Haagen Dazs Five, but the little known secret is that Haagen Dazs Vanilla only lists five ingredients anyway, so it’s pretty much like homemade (only way better) but it spares you the stress of the ice cream freezer. And Haagen Dazs is a level of perfection you can’t improve on anyway.
Bake the cookies, freeze them, fill them, freeze them, roll them in chocolate chips, freeze them… or at any step along the way just eat them. These taste just like the original, but with a creamier filling, a more buttery cookie, more chocolatey chocolate, and top notes of bourbon from the ice cream. And they strike just the right balance of sweet-but-not-too-sweet, because there’s no HFCS! They’re perfect any time you’re yearning for a summer refreshment with an indulgent, nostalgic spirit. Our recipe is not intended as a replacement – the original will always have a place in our hearts. This is simply the chipwich refined, finally reaching its ultimate potential, grown up to be the best it can possibly be.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from the New York Times
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Generous pinch coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds good quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli or equivelent)
1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
2. Cream butter and sugars for 5 minutes or so, until very light.
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until combined before adding the next one.
4. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated.
5. Lower speed, and add dry ingredients and mix until just combined and drop in chocolate chips and mix until incorporated. Alternatively, you could knead in the chocolate chips, which is even better if you don’t mind getting your hands messy ;)
6. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24-72 hours.
7. Preheat oven to 350°F and cover 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
8. At this point, the original recipe calls for you to scoop 6 3.5 oz balls onto each sheet and bake them like that. But I should warn you that this will make fork-and-knife chipwiches for giants. Which will look beautiful but they’ll be huge. So if you want to adjust that, just make smaller balls (as small as half the size) and just remember that they won’t need to bake for as long (the exact length of time will depend on your oven) so you’ll have to monitor them very carefully.
9. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown, and cool completely on a rack. Or, if you’re just making the cookies, cool for 10 minutes and eat warm.
1 batch of chocolate chip cookies (see above)
1-2 quarts of Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream (depending on the size of your cookies and how much ice cream you like)
1 lb bag of good quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (preferably the same kind you put in the cookies)
1. Freeze cookies for at least 6 hours. Also make sure your ice cream is very cold.
2. Put 1/2 – 1 cup ice cream on a cookie (again, depending on your taste and the size of the cookie).
3. Place another cookie on top to make a sandwich, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for several hours (or they can be eaten at this point if you want). Repeat steps 2 and 3 with remaining cookies.
4. Place chocolate chips in a bowl and remove sandwiches from freezer one at a time.
5. Roll in chocolate chips (or, if they’re not sticking, press them on by hand).
6. Rewrap and refreeze, or eat immediately.