Welcome to Kitchen Classroom, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing a weekly set of kid-tested and kid-approved recipes, hands-on experiments, and activities paired with suggestions for how to bring learning to life in the kitchen.
In the heat of summer, kids can cool off with a classic summertime sweet: Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches! The recipe, from “The Complete DIY Cookbook for Young Chefs,” can be DIY’ed from start to finish — even the ice cream — if your young chef is feeling ambitious.
After they build their sandwiches, kids will put their math skills to the test to see how many ice cream flavor and topping combinations they can create. Then, they’ll get their creative juices flowing in Take It Further as they invent their own unique ice cream sandwich flavors — and name them.
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Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches
Kids can make the ultimate ice cream truck treat completely from scratch — yep, even the ice cream! These sandwiches star any flavor of homemade or store-bought ice cream stuffed between chewy (not tough!) chocolate chip cookies. Take them over the top by rolling the edges in mini chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or sprinkles (see “How to Decorate Ice Cream Sandwiches” at the bottom of the recipe page for instructions). Make sure to soften your ice cream in the refrigerator before you scoop it. The ice cream should be slightly softened but not soupy.
2/3 cup (3 2/3 ounces) all-purpose flour
½ cup packed (3½ ounces) brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup (1½ ounces) mini semisweet chocolate chips
1 quart ice cream (homemade or store-bought), softened
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray lightly with vegetable oil spray.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. In large bowl, whisk brown sugar, melted butter, water, egg yolk, and vanilla until smooth, about 30 seconds.
Add flour mixture to brown sugar mixture and use rubber spatula to stir until combined and no dry flour is visible. Stir in chocolate chips. (Dough will be very soft.)
Use 1-tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop 12 mounds of dough onto greased parchment-lined baking sheet (about 1 level tablespoon of dough per mound).
Place baking sheet in oven and bake until cookies are puffed and golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes.
Use oven mitts to remove baking sheet from oven (ask an adult for help). Place baking sheet on cooling rack and let cookies cool completely on baking sheet, about 30 minutes. (This is a good time to soften your ice cream in the refrigerator, 15 to 20 minutes.)
Fill cookies with ice cream:
Flip 3 cooled cookies upside down on baking sheet. Use ice cream scoop to place 1 scoop of ice cream in center of each upside-down cookie (scoop of ice cream should be about 2 inches tall and 2 inches wide).
Working quickly, place 3 cookies, right side up, on top of ice cream to make sandwiches. Gently press cookies and twist to push ice cream to edges of cookies. Place ice cream sandwiches on large plate and place in freezer. Repeat scooping ice cream to make 3 more sandwiches with remaining cookies, then place on plate in freezer (you’ll have 6 sandwiches total).
Freeze sandwiches until firm, at least 8 hours. Serve. (Ice cream sandwiches can be individually wrapped in plastic wrap, transferred to a zipper-lock bag, and frozen for up to 2 months.)
As their ice cream sandwiches chill, get kids thinking about a delicious math problem: Ask them to imagine that they’re working on an ice cream sandwich assembly line. If they have four ice cream flavors, and three decorations, how many possible combinations of Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches can they (theoretically) make? Kids can create a chart to figure it out, filling in their ice cream flavors in the left-hand column and the three decoration options in the top row.
In the example above, there were four possible ice cream flavors and three possible decorations, which makes 12 different ice cream sandwich combinations. Share with kids that if you multiply the number of ice cream flavors by the number of decorations, you can find the total number of combinations without making a chart (4 x 3 = 12). Challenge kids to use this method to calculate the number of possible combinations if they added a fifth ice cream flavor? (Answer: 15; 5 x 3 = 15.)
Take It Further
English Language Arts (Writing, Speaking and Listening):
After popping the ice cream sandwiches in the freezer (or while eating them), have kids imagine that they have their own ice cream sandwich truck. First, ask kids to brainstorm a name for their truck: Will they name it after themselves? Their favorite frozen treat? How about their number-one place to enjoy ice cream?
Then, ask kids to come up with a menu for their ice cream sandwich business. Have them brainstorm some popular cookie and ice cream flavors … or they can invent their own! Encourage kids to find inspiration in their favorite ingredients and dishes, or have them browse the internet for ideas. Maybe they will invent a churro-flavored ice cream, with swirls of chocolate and dulce de leche. What about a sandwich inspired by movie theater snacks — both sweet and salty? Encourage kids to share ideas with the group.
Keep kids’ brains churning by asking them what they would name their ice cream sandwich creations. Have them think about the flavors and textures going on, and the adjectives they would use to describe them. Is their sandwich crunchy? Spicy? Salty? Fudgy? Once kids have a clear vision for their imaginary ice cream sandwich truck, they can draw and write out their menu.