Chipwich Bars

By Ann Fulton

Everyone loves a chipwich, so why not make it easier – and more fun – by making a sheet panful? There's even a simple trick for a cookie that isn't rock hard when frozen, and the science behind it is fascinating! 
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Everyone loves a chipwich, so why not make it easier–and more fun–by making a sheet panful? I even have a simple trick for a cookie that isn’t rock hard when frozen, and the science behind it is fascinating!  

 

Many of us have distinct preferences where the classic chocolate chip cookie is concerned. Some fall squarely into the crispy camp, while others prefer a chewy cookie. And then there are those who relish a cakey cookie.

My husband loves a crisp chocolate chip cookie made decidedly crisper by storing his stash in the freezer.

Whatever the preference, however, there’s reason to make the cookie softer when frozen for use in a much-loved frozen treat—the classic chipwich. Ideally, we want to be able to bite into a chipwich without the threat of chipping a tooth!

Over the years, I’ve used various adjustments intended to slightly alter what many consider the gold standard of chocolate chip cookies—the Tollhouse cookie. Sometimes, my goal is a cookie that’s big, thick, and reminiscent of a bakery cookie. Other times, my goal is a flatter, crisper cookie.

Adjustments like adding an extra egg yolk, a bit of cornstarch, a higher ratio of brown sugar to granulated, and slightly undercooking are all ways to create a softer cookie.

When frozen, however, as is necessary for the beloved chipwich, the cookies still become rather hard. Not to the point that I’d refuse one of these treats, mind you. But I figured there must be a way…

 

 

Everyone loves a chipwich, so why not make it easier – and more fun – by making a sheet panful? There's even a simple trick for a cookie that isn't rock hard when frozen, and the science behind it is fascinating! 

Baking the cookie recipe in a sheet pan is the easy start of this crowd-pleasing chipwich recipe. For those who enjoy, I made a video how-to directly below.

How to make a cookie that doesn’t freeze rock hard?

Thanks to a helpful Q&A session with a baking expert at King Arthur Flour several years ago, I learned a tip that promised to keep the frozen cookies from getting so hard: adding a small amount of corn syrup.

Why does this work? It’s actually pretty cool science. 

Corn syrup (like Karo) from the baking aisle is an invert sugar, meaning it is liquid at room temperature. It’s worth mentioning that it’s also not the same as high fructose corn syrup, which is found in many processed foods.

Corn syrup can create a texture that’s both bendy and chewy, as opposed to crisp. This is possible because its invert nature prevents the grains of sugar from crystallizing when the cookie cools, meaning it’s less brittle. (Note that an overcooked cookie will still become crisp and brittle.)

Another advantage of corn syrup in this application is its neutral flavor. Honey, maple syrup, and molasses are all invert sugars as well, but they carry a flavor that will alter the outcome of the classic chocolate chip cookie.

I was excited to put this suggestion to the test and thrilled when the tiny adjustment produced such great results. The guideline I was given for a standard batch of chocolate chip cookies was adding 1-2 tablespoons of corn syrup. I split the difference with 1½ tablespoons and used that much less granulated sugar, so the overall sweetness level remained unchanged.

The final outcome? The resulting cookie was softer and more pliable. It froze firmly but not chip-a-tooth hard.

You could absolutely make this recipe into cookies for traditional round chipwiches. The bars, however, offer a novel approach and are more efficient to stuff than a batch of cookies.

They all taste pretty incredible though!

The steps, which can be conveniently done over hours or days:

Everyone loves a chipwich, so why not make it easier – and more fun – by making a sheet panful? There's even a simple trick for a cookie that isn't rock hard when frozen, and the science behind it is fascinating! 

Once cooled, refrigerate the cookie to make it firmer and easier to handle. If you’re not an expert eyeballer, use a ruler to measure the center. Once the big cookie is cut in half, I freeze the halves (separated with wax or parchment to prevent sticking) until ready to fill. Then make sure you start with the top side down. 

Everyone loves a chipwich, so why not make it easier – and more fun – by making a sheet panful? There's even a simple trick for a cookie that isn't rock hard when frozen, and the science behind it is fascinating! 

Dollop the softened ice cream evenly over the cookie and then spread into an even layer. If at any time the ice cream becomes too soft, simply return it to the freezer for 10 minutes or so.

Everyone loves a chipwich, so why not make it easier – and more fun – by making a sheet panful? There's even a simple trick for a cookie that isn't rock hard when frozen, and the science behind it is fascinating! 

After spreading the ice cream into an even layer, top with the other cookie half, good side up. Press firmly all over with flattened hands and then return to the freezer. For a professional look, once the ice cream is firm again, you can touch up any gaps and smooth the edges with a little more ice cream. 

Everyone loves a chipwich, so why not make it easier – and more fun – by making a sheet panful? There's even a simple trick for a cookie that isn't rock hard when frozen, and the science behind it is fascinating! 

The steps can be conveniently done as time allows. When ready to cut, let the cookie sit at room temperature for a few minutes and then use a long, sharp knife. I like to use my serrated bread knife. Running it under hot water and quickly drying between slices will make for easier, cleaner cuts. (More melting than usual happens when trying to take pictures and videos of the steps! 😊)

Everyone loves a chipwich, so why not make it easier – and more fun – by making a sheet panful? There's even a simple trick for a cookie that isn't rock hard when frozen, and the science behind it is fascinating! 

I like to wrap the bars in wax paper and then secure with a piece of masking or colored freezer tape. The tape sticks a little better to wax paper than parchment paper. You could also skip the tape and simply stack the wrapped bars in a zip-top bag – or don’t wrap and store in a bag or airtight container. 

Everyone loves a chipwich, so why not make it easier – and more fun – by making a sheet panful? There's even a simple trick for a cookie that isn't rock hard when frozen, and the science behind it is fascinating! 

Chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches – otherwise known as chipwich bars – are ideal for birthday parties and summer barbecues and offer convenient advance prep. For satisfying a sweet tooth anytime of year, I often cut into smaller bars and keep a stash in my freezer.  

Chipwich Bars
Prep Time: 30 minutes (plus cooling and freezing time)
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours (including cooling and freezing time)
Yield: 12 to 16 servings
This recipe can be prepared in steps and stored in your freezer until needed. Below, I provide details on different cooking options and tips that make the assembly simple. Get ready to see eyes pop and smiles stretch from ear to ear!
Ingredients

• 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
• ¾ cup (144g) granulated sugar (see notes for softer cookie adaptation*)
• ¾ cup (150g) packed light brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
• 2 large eggs
• 2 cups (254g) all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour blend)
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 10 ounces (1¾ cups) semisweet chocolate chips or mini chips**
• 1½ quarts vanilla ice cream (or flavor of choice***)
Optional: sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, mini M&Ms, and/or chopped nuts for edges; a small amount of extra vanilla ice cream for filling in any gaps around the edges

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350℉. Line an 18x13x1 (or 17×12) sheet pan with parchment paper or greased foil, leaving an inch or two hanging over the edge.

2. Make the cookie: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. (*If using the softer cookie adaptation described in the recipe notes, add the corn syrup with the eggs.)

3. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking soda. Half at a time, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4. Dollop the batter onto the prepared sheet pan, covering as much of the pan as possible. Spread the dough into an even layer that covers the entire surface of the pan. (I like to use an offset spatula or even a dinner knife and hold onto an edge of the parchment to keep it from slipping.) The batter will just cover the pan completely but will not appear very thick; it will rise while baking.

5. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until just cooked through in the center and lightly golden on top. It should still feel soft to the touch; make sure to not overcook.

6. Cool completely in the pan. (Tip: Once cool, I like to refrigerate for easier handling.) Then cut the cookie in half crosswise to form two equal-sized rectangles. Freeze the cookie halves until firm, at least 30 minutes or up to several days. More tips: Make sure the cookie is on a flat surface when frozen. I use a piece of cardboard as a supportive base because it fits better than a baking sheet in my freezer. Place a piece of parchment, wax paper, or foil under the bottom layer (for easy transfer) and between the halves (so they don’t stick to each other). If freezing for more than a few hours, cover the cookies.

7. When ready to fill, remove the ice cream from the freezer to soften – but not too soft. Leave one cookie half in the freezer and place the other half, bottom side up, on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet or piece of sturdy cardboard.

8. Working quickly, spoon large scoops of ice cream all over the cookie. Spread into an even layer, making sure the ice cream reaches the edges of the cookie. (Tip: If at any point the ice cream becomes too melty, simply return to the freezer until firm enough to proceed.) Remove the other cookie half from the freezer (leaving it in the freezer avoids further melting of the ice cream) and place it on top of the ice cream, right side up, to form a giant sandwich. Press lightly, and then freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight. (Pro tip: If you’d like really clean edges, when firm, soften a little extra ice cream and fill in any gaps along the sides. Alternatively, you could slice off the edges with a sharp knife.)

9. Cut into 12 or 16 individual sandwiches. (Tips: It’s helpful to rinse the knife in hot water—and quickly dry—in between cuts. Also, remember that you can put the bars back in the freezer if at any point the ice cream becomes too soft.)

10. Decorate if desired: Place mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, mini M&Ms, and/or chopped nuts in small bowls and press each side of the sandwiches into the toppings so they stick. Brush the excess topping from the sides of the sandwiches so only the ice cream is covered. Freeze until firm, and then serve or wrap individually with parchment or wax paper.

Storage: The chipwich bars will keep for at least 2 to 3 weeks in the freezer, much longer if they are well wrapped and stored in the bottom/back of the freezer, where the temperature tends to stay constant and discourage freezer burn.

Notes & Tips

*For a softer cookie when frozen, remove 1½ tablespoons (18g) granulated sugar (for a total of 126g) and replace with 1½ tablespoons (22g) corn syrup. Add the corn syrup with the eggs after beating the butter and sugars. (Details as to why this works in the main post.)

**I like a 50-50 combination of regular morsels and mini chips. Mini chips have the benefit of distributing more evenly and not being as hard when frozen.

***Premium ice creams with a higher butter fat level will freeze harder, so I recommend a grocery store brand like Turkey Hill or Edy’s.

For a non-dairy dessert, use a vegan butter (like Miyokos or Earth Balance), dairy-free chocolate chips (like Enjoy Life), and a non-dairy ice cream (Van Leeuwen’s, Nada Moo, Oatly, and So Delicious’ soymilk and cashew milk varieties have performed well in taste tests).

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