These little darlings were inspired by a post I saw on Deb Perelman's awesome blog, Smitten Kitchen. The technique I employed is basically the same as hers, but I added a few extra steps by making my own ice cream, then not able to leave well enough alone, a batch of pressure cooker dulce de leche to kick these babies into the stratosphere.
The brownie recipe I used was Alice Medrich's "Best Cocoa Brownie" recipe that you've seen here before, only this time I split the batter between two 8X8" pans to create both halves of the ice cream sandwich. For the ice cream I turned to Jeni Britton Bauer for her impossibly perfect vanilla ice cream, tweaking it only by adding a generous swirl of the pressure cooker dulce de leche that I had on-hand.
The pictures say just about everything you need to know about these little jewels….they are so good you'll be tempted to weep when you bite into them. Please fight the urge though, I'd hate to know that I made you cry.
Cheers – Steve
Brownie and Dulce de Leche Ice Cream Sandwiches
by: Steve Dunn – inspired by a recipe by Deb Perelman
vanilla ice cream recipe from: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
for the brownies:
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or dutch-process)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cold, large eggs
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour (unsifted, measure by stirring briefly, spooning into the measuring cup until it's heaped above the rim, then leveling it with a straight-edged knife or spatula)
for the ice cream:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 2/3 sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out, seeds and bean reserved
for the brownies:
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 325℉. Line the bottom and sides of two 8-inch square baking pans with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
- Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.
- Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Spread evenly in the lined pans.
- Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 17-20 minutes (mine were perfectly done at 18 minutes). Let cool completely on a cooling rack.
- Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner of one of the pans of brownies, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board, leave the other layer intact in their pan. When fully cooled, move both layers to the fridge to chill for at least one hour.
for the ice cream:
- Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.
- Whisk the cream cheese and the salt in a medium bowl until smooth.
- Fill a large bowl with ice and water
- Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup, and vanilla seeds and bean in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
- Gradually whisk the hot cream mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
- When fully chilled, remove the vanilla bean and pour the ice cream base into your ice cream machine and process per the manufacturers instructions. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
Makes about 1 Quart
for the dulce de leche:
For full instructions on how to make the dulce de leche click here. Alternatively, you can buy pre-made sauce at the market.
to assemble the sandwiches:
- The brownies that remain in the pan will be the bottom layer of the sandwich so take the layer removed from the pan and peel away the parchment paper so that it is ready to be put into service.
- The easiest way to make these is to take the ice cream, still soft from churning and dump it right on top of the base layer of brownies (see photo collage above for a visual representation of this process). If you're going to go all slacker on me and buy store bought ice cream, you'll want to let it soften on the counter a bit before tossing it onto the bottom layer of brownies. Use as much ice cream as you want, I used about 3 cups leaving one cup leftover to freeze. Spread the ice cream into an even layer, then do
t with about 1/2 a cup of dulce de leche and swirl it into the ice cream.
- Top the swirled ice cream with the second brownie layer and place the pan used for cooking the upper brownie layer on top and press down to form a nice compact sandwich. Put a sandwich press or a few plates in the second pan to weight it down, then place the whole shebang in the freezer for 2-3 hours to set-up.
- When ready to eat remove the whole mass from the bottom pan and with a very sharp knife cut the brownies to whatever shape and size turns you on.