One of my favorite warm weather treats is an ice cream sandwich called an IT’S-IT and I’m pretty sure they’re only available in California. I grew up on them because my mom loved them and we used to get them as a special treat before we moved here to Salt Lake City. I loved sharing this messy indulgence with my mom and even now we rarely make a trip to the coast without enjoying one or two. Or three.
The treat is basically an ice cream sandwich that features oatmeal cookies and a thin chocolate shell. You can get them in a few flavors and while I think the mint chocolate chip is the tastiest, the purest in me tends to prefer the vanilla. So good, so San Francisco, so tastes like summer at home. They do ship them out, so I was going to order a case of them last summer, but it turns out that the cost + shipping makes them a little cost prohibitive, so I came up with my own version. I think it’s pretty good and Kyle says it’s better than the original! (And, yes, this recipe was safe for our daughter and her crazy nut allergies!)
IT’S-IT Inspired Ice Cream Sandwiches
– Oatmeal cookies (see recipe below)
– Ice cream of your choice (we used nut-allergy-safe Ben and Jerry’s)
– Chocolate shell (see recipe below)
– Parchment paper
– A lot of freezer space. Seriously! Go clear a shelf.
1/2 Cup (1 stick) plus 5 tablespoons butter, softened /// 3/4 Cups firmly packed brown sugar /// 1/2 Cup granulated sugar /// 2 Eggs /// 1 Teaspoon vanilla /// 1-3/4 Cups all-purpose flour /// 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda /// 1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon /// 1/2 Teaspoon salt /// 3 Cups Quaker® Oats (uncooked)
Heat oven to 350°F. Pull out your mixer and beat butter and sugars on medium speed until creamy. Add the eggs, vanilla, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Add oats and mix until combined. Drop dough by large rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets covered in parchment paper, making each drop about two tablespoons worth. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely.
2 cups chocolate chips and 4 Tbsp. coconut oil
Microwave coconut oil on high for 30 seconds in a small bowl. Add the chocolate chips and stir. Continue microwaving and stirring in 15-second intervals until melted and smooth. Letting it sit for a second will help to melt the lumps – you don’t want to overheat it or it will get weird! Once smooth, let it cool a bit.
Ice cream sandwiches
To make the sandwiches, make the cookies first and cool completely. Leave the parchment paper on the cookie sheet because you’re going to need it. Pull out your choice of ice cream and microwave it a little to get it a little soft. Smooth a fat layer onto the backside of an oatmeal cookie, top with another cookie, and put the sandwiches on the parchment paper. Put the whole cookie sheet in the freezer and leave the sandwiches alone for at least 30 minutes (an hour is better) so they get nice and solid.
In the meantime, make the chocolate shell and let it cool (don’t worry – it won’t harden while it’s sitting out). Once the sandwiches are nice and frozen, pull them out and use a pastry brush to cover them with with the chocolate shell. You want to get them as covered as possible, so don’t forget to lift them up and cover the bottom cookie. Put the sandwiches back on the parchment paper and stick them back in the freezer for a half hour. After that, they should be ready to eat! (Note, if the shell has dripped a little bit, use a knife to trim away the excess. Don’t worry about holes – it happens!)
One of the best things about IT’S-ITs is that it is impossible to eat them without making a huge mess. When I was very little, eating such a messy food with my mom was inherently funny. We’d start out trying to contain the mess, but by the end there would be chocolate and ice cream everywhere and it would be hilarious (even more so with the sugar rush I always had). It’s so much fun to share that same experience with my kid.