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RBR Tailgating: Ice Cream Sammiches!

Not for snitches. Not for the Low-down.

Before I write these things I like to spend a few minutes or so surfing relevant pages hoping to come across some odd, funny, or esoteric information regarding the subject I plan on writing about.

A little while ago I typed “ice cream sandwich origin” into Google. In the “People also ask” box on the results page was the following: “What is the sandwich part of the ice cream sandwich?”

I realize that the questioner was curious about what the bread is made from but for a moment I misinterpreted and thought what was being asked was more existential. I was afraid we’d gone back to litigating the “Is a hot dog/taco/gyro/etc. a sandwich?” for the umpteenth time despite that earlier debates gave us a clear and definitive answer to the question.

That mildly amused me, particularly that enough people consider parts rather than the whole to be what constitutes a sandwich but also that enough people chose such odd sentence construction in their inquiries for the question to be listed first. But it was the next search’s “People also ask” that almost caused me to spit take.

I typed “alabama football vs tennessee football all time” and the results page blessed me with this sight:

I know TN hasn’t won this game in a long while, such a long while that it wouldn’t be out of line if doctors and insurance providers in Alabama altered the section of their patient info questionnaires regarding tobacco use to allow not just for “Yes” or “No,” but “Just once a year. RT” Enough people have asked if Tennessee has ever beaten Alabama that it’s up first on the list. I know that the Vols have been on the losing end of this rivalry for the entirety of my children’s lives but this is amazing. People with the curiosity to ask the question have, I assume, a passing familiarity with college football, otherwise why would they care enough to check with Google? There are college fans who can’t recall the outcome being other than what it’s been under Saban. Processed.

I did find out a few things about ice cream sandwiches in my search. The first one sold is assumed to have been sold in 1899 by a cart pusher on Coney Island. Before he came along vendors were selling scoops of ice cream between two pieces of paper and calling it a “hokey-pokey.” This cart pusher had the vision to substitute cakey bread or he ran out of paper and made do in a pinch. Either way he had a hit on his hands. Demand put pressure on suppliers inspiring Russell H. Proper to invent the first ice cream sandwich machine (patent # 1,387,613.) in 1921. In those scant years from the first appearance of a homemade ice cream sandwich in 1899 until the beginnings of automation in 1921 the Tide racked up an impressive 8-2-1 record against the Vols.

The next great leap forward came in the form of the “Chipwich,” the subgenre to which this week’s recipe belongs. As the name implies, in this variation ice cream is sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies. This was popularized by Richard LaMotta. He sounds like he might have been a friend of ours, but he wasn’t even though his dad is from Messina. He is the cousin of former middleweight boxing champion Jake LaMotta though. That’s pretty neat.

LaMotta, not the boxer, won accolades for his chipwich guerilla marketing campaign from people who give accolades for such things. He began selling chipwiches in 1981, the capper year for what was previously our longest winning streak against the Vols. I wonder if, during that 11-0 run there were sports page editors getting letters from readers asking if Tennessee had ever beaten Alabama.

There were a few other tidbits I found that interested me. In Vietnam you can get a banh mi kep kem. That’s ice cream topped with peanuts served in a regular sandwich roll. The Iranians serve thin wafers with rose hip ice cream in between. In Australia they used to call an ice cream sandwich “cream between.” I expected something a little more colorful from the country that coined “budgie smugglers.” At the very least they could have called them “Fridgie Sangers” or something. I guess the usually reliable Aussie linguistic trend setters took an arvo off.

What follows is my favorite version. It’s simple unless you insist on making your own cookies. There’s booze in it too.

The Brandy Chipwich

- white chocolate chip cookies

- vanilla ice cream

- brandy

Sparingly add a brandy to the ice cream stirring but not so much as to melt, taste and correct until you’re happy.

Slather the mixture on a cookie and top with another.

There’s a tasty variation where you use chocolate chip cookies, chocolate ice cream, and in lieu of brandy you reach into the back corner of your liquor cabinet and dust off that bottle of Crème de Menthe that hasn’t seen the light of day in fifteen or so years.

If you want to make things complicated (read better) you’re going to have to make your own cookies. Chocolate chip cookie recipes are many and varied and the odds are good that you have a favorite family recipe that never fails to ring your bell. I’m not going to challenge you for yours. I came across a basic recipe on Allrecipes and with only the most minor changes - no nuts for me and white chips over dark - it’s become the treat to have in my house.

First take a cup of unsalted butter (2 sticks) and either leave them out to soften or do the quick and easy right-from-the-fridge way and put them in a bowl like this:

and microwave on high for 20 seconds until you can mush it with a fork like this:

Not Ice Cream.

In an automatic mixer or large mixing bowl combine the butter with 1 cup each of granulated white and light brown sugars.

Mix together.

Allrecipes says to add the eggs one at a time, but I’ve never bothered. Throw them in together and mix.

Dissolve 1 tsp. of baking soda in 2 tsps. of hot water and add it, along with 2 tsps. vanilla extract, and ½ tsp. salt to the mixing bowl. Blend together and then add 3 cups of all purpose flour and two cups of white chocolate chips (or white baking morsels.) Mix until the flour is incorporated.

I like big cakey cookies and am not in the slightest bothered when baking causes them to expand into one another. Follow my lead or go your own way, but put whatever size dollops or scoops of dough - I flatten them but you don’t have to - on an ungreased baking sheet.

Toss them into an oven preheated to 375˚ and stop reading the Allrecipes directions. They say bake for 10 minutes. I have never had a batch take less than 20 minutes. Out of fear that the one time I don’t keep checking Allrecipes’ time will prove correct and my cookies will burn, I set a timer for 10 minutes followed by one for 5 minutes followed by another for 5 minutes if needed. Once it took a third 5 minute timer.

The cookies will still be spongy on top when done. They’ll firm up as they cool.

So that’s my recommendation for something tasty to eat during the Al vs. TN game. If things go right, you’ll already have the brandy out to go with your cigar.

Enjoy, no injuries, and Roll Tide.