Long Reads

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

October  8, 2014

When she has the kitchen all to herself, Phyllis Grant of Dash and Bella cooks beautiful iterations of what solo meals were always meant to be: exactly what you want, when and where you want them.

Today: Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, to get through a hard month -- and every month thereafter. 

chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream

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You're not prepared for these heavy, hot October days. Sweat drips down the backs of your legs as you do dishes, the attic laundry room is impenetrable with heat, the compost molds in the course of an afternoon. On the hottest day of the year, you face a cranky dishwasher, a broken washing machine, a slanted kitchen table. The rat traps are locked and loaded. The spiders are building webs around every corner of your house. You pile the kids into the car for a field trip to the refrigerator-cold drugstore. You overstay your welcome, allowing your children to examine every piece of Halloween landfill, shade of fall nail polish, tweeny magazine, pumpkin spice-infused tea/cracker/frosting/lip balm. You lose them for a few minutes while looking for someone, anyone, to unlock the gin cabinet. You want the air conditioning to puff you back to life.

It disrupts all sleep. You sit up with a start and find your son at the foot of your bed, swaying, disoriented, half asleep, arms all Frankenstein-style. You turn up the fan and wordlessly pull him into bed. You think, this is crazy, is the world coming to an end? And then you remember that you thought this last year. And the year before.

October in Berkeley is scary. October brings fires. October brings earthquakes.

October is the hardest month.

You need some order. Some cooling off. Some slowing down.

October needs ice cream. 

chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream

When I pick you up from school this afternoon, we'll go right home for homemade ice cream. 

You're addicted to making ice cream, mom.

The separating of the whites from the yolks. The slow stirring over low heat of the yolks, cream, and sugar. The transformation from liquid to solid. The enforced all-dayness of it all. The payoff as the bliss glides over your children’s faces.

Yes. You are addicted. You haven’t made any for over a month. 

You open the freezer in search of chocolate chip cookie dough. You slide your head in to cool your brain. You find balls and scraps and slices and chunks of chocolate chip cookie dough from the past six months and chop them all up into uniform pieces. You churn the brown sugar ice cream base. You add the dough at the last minute. You throw it all into the freezer. And then you wait. 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Makes a little over a pint

1 1/2 cups half and half
1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar
6 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup white sugar
2 1/2 cups (12 ounces) of your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough, chopped into dime-sized chunks, frozen

See the full recipe (and save it and print it) here.

Photos by Phyllis Grant

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • SallyM
  • Phyllis Grant
    Phyllis Grant
Phyllis Grant is an IACP finalist for Personal Essays/Memoir Writing and a three-time Saveur Food Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Dash and Bella. Her essays and recipes have been published in a dozen anthologies and cookbooks including Best Food Writing 2015 and 2016. Her work has been featured both in print and online for various outlets, including Oprah, The New York Times, Food52, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tasting Table and Salon. Her memoir with recipes, Everything Is Out of Control, is coming out April 2020 from Farrar Straus & Giroux. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.


SallyM October 9, 2014
Oops! I meant thanks for the great writing and delicious recipe!
SallyM October 9, 2014
Thanks for this recipe - it looks amazing. Everything's better with homemade ice cream! October has been a wicked month here in the Bay Area with the past earthquake and fire so this hit home! I'm praying for cooler weather and some rain. Thanks for treating writing and recipe - might just try it and surprise my kids!
Phyllis G. October 9, 2014
So wicked. The perfect word. But things seem calmer this week. Thank goodness! Thanks for your kind words. And let me know if you make the ice cream.