photo by Anthony Palatta
If you're eager to impress your friends with a homemade dessert but not much of a cook, go out and buy a springform pan and make an ice cream cake.
This version is simple to put together, especially if you use all store-bought ingredients. The recipe comes from allrecipes.com. It begins with a batch of small chocolate chip cookies. Again, you could buy these in the store, but I decided to bake my own, from this Alton Brown recipe.
I ended up with twice as many cookies as I needed, so I'm freezing the extras and will bring them to class this week for my students.
Next, crush about 20 cookies, either by hand or in the food processor, to get cookie crumbs, mixed in with melted butter. Then press the results in the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan to get your crust. I did this while the cookies hadn't quite cooled so the chocolate chips melted into the crumbs, resulting in a candy-like bottom for my cake.
Cover the crust with some hot fudge topping, line the edges of the pan with cookies, and freeze until firm. Meanwhile take some vanilla ice cream out of the fridge to soften. You want the best quality ice cream you can find. I went to my local Ben and Jerry's and bought two quarts of handpacked vanilla, as directed by the recipe, which can get pretty pricey. Actually, that turned out to be far too much ice cream. One quart and one pint will do just fine.
When the crust is chilled, spread 1 quart of softened ice cream on top and freeze that layer until firm. Next, with a small ice cream scoop, scoop your pint of ice cream into balls and cover the surface of the cake. Then drizzle with hot fudge topping. Wrap the cake very carefully, with plastic wrap and then double foil. Otherwise you'll get some freezer burn.
Freeze overnight, unmold the cake, and bowl over your friends.