Our city sparkles with a magnitude of local eateries and specialty stores, and over time, they take permanent residency within our pleasure centers. One that I happily allow to reside in mine is El Tropico.
I have been a patron of this fabulous ice cream shop for well over 20 years. From their hand-crafted ice cream and paletas to their delicious aguas frescas, they keep me cool all summer long. They even manage to keep me happy during the winter months, too. After all, isn’t ice cream one of the major food groups?
In the July/August issue of Brick & Elm, I had the honor of sharing a few Mexican summer dessert recipes, and in one of them, I showcased El Tropico’s piñon ice cream flavor in a Pistachio Ice Cream Cake with Dulce de Leche. Although it’s difficult to choose which ice cream flavor to gobble up, I gravitated toward the piñon to create a gorgeous juxtaposition between its lovely light pink color and the green of the pistachios. Why? Because your approach to your time in the kitchen is also an opportunity to create something beautiful. The satisfaction you get from creating a knockout dish makes it taste so much better somehow.
Since I’m such an ice cream fiend, I couldn’t stop there. I had to keep going with yet another flavor that’s close to my heart so I could whip up another creamy treat. What’s a better favorite summer fruit to devour than plump, delicious strawberries? Doesn’t Strawberry Cake ice cream paired with a simple strawberry white chocolate cookie sound divine for a hot summer day? Yes, please!
If you’re anything like me, you find various ways to enjoy a certain food to justify eating way too much of said food. I’m here to give you permission to have that shake, overflowing sundae, AND a home-made ice cream sandwich. Switch it up! Your tastebuds will love you for it.
Strawberry Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches
1 box strawberry cake mix
1 tablespoon baking powder
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups white chocolate chip morsels
1 pint of your favorite ice cream (I used El Tropico’s Strawberry Cake flavored ice cream)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, oil and vanilla. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together cake mix and baking powder. Add egg mixture to cake mixture and stir together until lumps disappear. Fold in white chocolate chips.
Drop round balls of dough onto the baking sheet, about 1 tablespoon each. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then transfer to a wire rack.
Allow the ice cream to soften a bit and then spread evenly into a rectangular freezer-safe dish using a rubber spatula. Place the ice cream back in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Using a round tin the size of your cookies, carefully cut out four ice cream rounds*. Place the ice cream round in between two cookies, then place the sandwich on a small baking sheet and store in the freezer until ready to eat.
*For an extra thick layer of ice cream, lay the pint on its side and, using a sharp knife, carefully cut each pint into four equal rounds. Peel the carton pieces away from the ice cream and discard.
Makes 4 servings**
**The cookie recipe makes loads of cookies, which you can choose to gobble down right away, or save for your next ice cream cookie-making session.