Longtime Food52 community member Emily Connor and I, over a series of Instagram direct messages, emails, and photographs, took the inimitable Flo Braker's Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake recipe (from Baking for All Occasions) and turned it in to the ultimate summer cookout dessert. This one's for you, Emily! —Samantha Weiss Hills
approximately 12 to 15 square sandwiches
For the chocolate chip cookie cake
2 1/3 cups
(300 grams) all-purpose flour
(130 grams) granulated sugar
firmly packed (130 grams) light brown sugar
Before baking: Center a rack in the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Have ready a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugars, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and baking soda and mix on the lowest speed just until blended. Add the butter and continue to mix on low speed just until small, moist crumbs form (they are larger than crumbs that don't clump together) that look similar to streusal, about 1 minute. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until the mixture begins to form a cohesive dough. Increase the speed to medium just as you add the chocolate chips and nuts and beat just until they are incorporated into the dough, 20 to 30 seconds. The key to the cake's success is to not incorporate a lot of air—you want the texture to be similar to cookies, not cake.
Lay down parchment paper over the bottom of your baking pan (I find this makes it easier to remove the whole thing later). Spoon dollops of the thick dough evenly over the bottom, and then spread the dough over the pan with a rubber spatula. I actually found it's just as accurate to press and spread the dough with your hands.
Bake the cake until it is golden and feels more solid than soft when pressed in the center, 37 to 40 minutes. Be careful not to overbake; it will firm as it cools. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 30 to 35 minutes.
Remove the entire cake from the pan and place it on the wire rack. Let it cool completely. At this point, if you want to just eat the cake as is, cut it into squares or rectangles with a sharp knife. If you are planning to make ice cream sandwiches, wrap the entire cake in aluminum foil and put it in the freezer for a few hours.
For the ice cream sandwiches:
Remove the cookie cake from the freezer and let defrost for a while, 30 minutes to an hour.
Cut it into squares, and then slice those squares in half lengthwise, creating two thinner squares. Scoop a bit of ice cream onto the bottom part of the square, and top it with the other. We used coffee ice cream, but there was talk of coconut, mint, vanilla, cherry, and salted caramel. Do it your way!