I'll eat you up I love you so

Chocolate Pistachio Ice Cream Sandwiches

I don't think I"m a glutton, but one of my favourite things is eating, for pleasure as opposed to fuel. With two smalleys circling and squawking at me every three and a half seconds these days, good food's presence in my life has dwindled. Exhausted evenings are too often cheese-on-toast-y; meals are scraped together in a hurry as a solution to low blood sugar and its associated whinging; things best dipped in ketchup play far too hefty a role... The ultimate treat has become a good excuse to devote some precious energy to preparing something truly tasty, and a stretch of varyingly child-free time in which to do so, preferably on a Sunday soundtracked by Cerys Matthews and Jarvis Cocker (Heaven). So YAY our lovely friends Leo & Leonie said they'd pop over for Sunday lunch and provide such an excuse. Since it's (supposedly) summer and I'd spent the past two days at my mum's devouring THIS pistachio ice cream (one of the most gorgeous things on this earth, promise), I opted for a twist on a recipe I'd seen on Pinterest that week for chocolate fudge brownie ice cream sandwiches! The below is a variation on that recipe from Good Life Eats.

For the Brownies
113g unsalted butter
225g granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa, plus a bit extra for the pan
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon proper vanilla extract 
85g plain flour
pinch o' salt

For the Ice Cream Sandwiches
1 litre ice cream - I went with 500ml vanilla and 500ml pistachio but you could go with anything as long as it's lovely, quality ice cream - slightly softened
300g proper dark chocolate - I used Green & Blacks 70%
1 tablespoon(ish) butter
couple of handfuls of pistachios, chopped
wooden popsicle or kebab sticks

Pablo assists in breaking up the dark choc yumminess (and eats a whole load when I'm not looking...)

Pablo assists in breaking up the dark choc yumminess (and eats a whole load when I'm not looking...)

First of all, PLEASE start the night before. There is all kinds of thawing and refreezing to be done, and the beauty is that you can get the whole lot prepared nicely in advance of guests arriving, so you don't have to spend half an hour sweating, drinking and trying to hold a conversation whilst you add the finishing touches to something mid-course. 

Start with the brownies. Preheat the oven to 170 C and grease & paper a 13x9in pan. Rub the parchment with butter and then dust with cocoa powder. Shake off any excess powder.

In a mixer with paddle attachment cream butter, sugar and 2 tbsp cocoa, then add eggs one at a time, giving a good little mix after each. Next add the vanilla. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour and salt. Mix until just combined and then spread in the pan. Bake 10-15 mins, until top is shiny, and allow to cool completely.

Once totally cool, cut the brownie in half and spread one half with the ice cream. I mixed it up so some would be pure vanilla, some pure pistachio and some half and half (these were the best). Top with the other brownie half, wrap in greaseproof paper and cling film and freeze for minimum 4 hours (in my case, overnight). 

This is what you get after all that refreezing. My brownies were decidedly un-fudgy - they were more like chocolate cake - but this worked perfectly taste-wise. You could definitely substitute a favourite brownie recipe though!

This is what you get after all that refreezing. My brownies were decidedly un-fudgy - they were more like chocolate cake - but this worked perfectly taste-wise. You could definitely substitute a favourite brownie recipe though!

In the morn, remove the brownie/ice cream blocks and cut into smaller pieces. Insert popsicle sticks and re-freeze. This was the moment I realised I had absolutely no popsicle sticks in the house, so used wooden kebab sticks instead, which was absolutely fine. 

Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. I deviated a bit from the original recipe here, which called for melting choc chips with oil in a microwave, because we don't have a microwave and I preferred the idea of butter. Therefore my measurements here were guesswork, but you could play around with amounts of butter added. Only crucial thing is not to get any water into the choc/butter mix (not even a drop!) as that will spoil the texture. 

Dip each sandwich in the chocolate mix and sprinkle all over with chopped pistachios, then place on parchment and re-freeze until ready to serve. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!

I still dream of these...