Just in time for 4th of July weekend, it’s like a deliciously perfect homemade ice cream sandwich got down and dirty in a bag of Pop Rocks candy…
I do have to say that I was hoping for way cuter photos of these guys. Alas, it was 110 degrees outside and they immediately started melting when I set the tray down at my little make-shift photo studio, which happens to be on our back patio.
Someday I’ll be rich and famous enough to have a professional photo set-up in the extra room in our mansion. But until that day, I’m at the mercy of the sun’s current position in the sky, sweating ballz while rattling off as many photos with my iPhone as I can before my kids whiz by on a tricycle and steal whatever happens to be on the plate.
Firecracker Ice Cream Sandwiches
(TIP: start making these at least one day before you plan on eating them, they do need to freeze over night for best results. Makes 10 – 12 small sandwiches)
Filling & Topping:
1 quart vanilla ice cream
2 – 3 packets of Pop Rocks candies
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour (divided)
Line a 9 x 13″ baking dish with parchment paper (or foil), allowing excess to hang over the edges. Soften the ice cream slightly, then spread it into the prepared pan to an even 1″ thickness. Freeze overnight.
To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the shortening and brown sugar for 2 – 3 minutes or until thoroughly combined and smooth of any lumps. Add in the baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Mix until incorporated. Change out the mixer attachment to the dough hook and mix in 1 cup of the flour, followed by 3 tbsp of water. Add the remaining cup of flour and another 2 – 3 tbsp of water, mixing well until no dry ingredients remain. The dough will look dry and crumbly at first, but give it time. It should be soft, but not sticky. If necessary, add a few more teaspoons of water until the dough comes together. (I ended up using around 1/3 cup of water total.)
Divide the dough into two equal portions and turn half of it out on to a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough to an even 1/4″ thickness, then using either a round or star shaped cookie cutter, cut the dough into an even number of cookies. You could also cut the dough into 2 x 4″ rectangles if you’d prefer a classic ice cream sandwich look.
Transfer the cookies to the prepared sheet pan and use a skewer or toothpick to poke a pattern of holes on each cookie to allow steam to release during baking. Roll out, cut and poke the remaining dough, re-rolling the scraps as you work.
Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 6 – 8 minutes, or until they are just set. Do not overbake or they will be too crisp.
Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool 2 – 3 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to cooling racks and let them cool to room temperature. Wrap the cookies in a wax paper bundle and freeze them for at least 1 hour before assembling the sandwiches.
To assemble the sandwiches, match up cookies of the same size and shape and have them ready for the ice cream layer. Lift the block of firm ice cream out of the pan and place it on a cutting board. Working quickly, use the same cookie cutter to cut consistent shapes of ice cream. Using a spatula, place a layer of cut ice cream on top of a chilled cookie and sandwich with a second, then press lightly to adhere. Return the cookies to the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
But I highly recommend a grand finale. Not only were these fun to eat, but when we rolled the edges in the Pop Rocks the moisture caused some of them to POP and fly all over the kitchen.
It. Was. A. Blast. Literally.
My boys and I could not stop laughing, and that right there made it totally worth the mess for me.
To coat with Pop Rocks, dump the candy out on a plate, then pick up small bunches between your fingers and lightly press it into the sides of the ice cream. (If you opted for round cookies, you could easily roll the edges on the plate for this step.)
To store, wrap each sandwich individually in squares of wax paper or foil before freezing.
If you’re looking for a faster, easier option you could also make these using store-bought ice cream sandwiches, but I highly recommend making them from scratch. Like I always say, “go big or go home.”
(cookie recipe adapted from The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook)