Saturday, September 13, 2014

Julie's Ice Cream Pie

This might have been a bigger hit than the skillet cookie!

My mom's birthday was last Tuesday, and since I like baking and doing nice things for people since they do so much for me, I asked her what she'd want for a birthday treat. She surprised me a little by saying she didn't want cookies, she didn't want pie, she didn't want cake...

She wanted ice cream. And she had a really cool idea about how to make that happen.

What follows is a totally improvised recipe that's both really simple and very customizable. I apologize in advance for introducing it to you, because I've already had several requests to make it again, and the leftovers have been calling my name all week long. Seriously, it's a problem. But I guess that's what happens when you put ice cream, cookies and other delicious things together and stick it in the freezer for a while.

So, why is Julie hosting this post?

From the minute we found out about Julie Albright back when she first debuted, my mom was like "wow, that's literally a cooler, doll version of me at age ten". She often laments that Julie has much cooler clothes than she did - particularly the buffalo sandals that came with her original meet outfit - and admittedly, the doll's eyes are brown, but they share having super long blonde hair, a pet rabbit and an enthusiasm for The Brady Bunch. I often ask her opinion on any new products that show up in Julie's line to see if they're truly authentic, and she got really, really excited when she saw Julie's new phone, because apparently, she almost got one just like it for her room when she was her age, but opted for a more vintage inspired rotary phone instead.

Another similarity that's always made me smile is Julie's enthusiasm for Laura Ingalls Wilder. My mom loved the Little House books when she was younger, and still has her childhood copies, which are probably the editions Julie had! My grandma wrote inside the covers of each of them saying when and why she got them, and her copy of Little House in the Big Woods was one of her presents for her tenth birthday.

Traditionally, these pies are made with an Oreo or chocolate cookie crust, at least in my experience, but my mom asked if I could try to make it with a chocolate chip cookie crust. I figured hey, why not give it a shot?

To help make crushing the cookies easier, put them in a plastic bag and mash them up with your hands or a spoon. The bag will help keep all the crumbs in one place instead of exploding all over your counter if you're doing it in a bowl. I used about thirty five Chips Ahoy! cookies to make the crust, which definitely sounds like and is kind of a lot. Try to get the pieces pretty fine instead of chunky, but as you can see, it's obviously okay to leave some a little on the bigger side.

I melted a whole stick of butter and mixed it in with the crumbs before pressing them carefully into the base of a pie pan. Make sure you pick a pan that won't get destroyed by going in the freezer, and press the cookies in tightly to make a solid base. Don't be worried if they don't stay 100% stuck together (freezing will help bind them tighter), but if it's really sandy and doesn't feel solid at all, add more butter.

Next comes the ice cream. While we were deciding what ice cream should go into the pie, my mom reminisced about how there weren't a lot of ice cream flavors available at shops where you could get scoopable treats until Baskin-Robbins came to the East Coast in the late 60's or early 70's. Suddenly, you had more options, and that opened a whole new world of possibilities.

Our favorite brand is Ben & Jerry's, which got its start as a simple ice cream parlor in 1978 and expanded into a much larger company in the 1980's. We've been to the factory in Vermont at least once, maybe twice? during a ski trip were we did more sight seeing than skiing thanks to unseasonably warm weather and thus no snow. Ben & Jerry's flavors have always been unusual, delicious, and full of awesome chunks of things, which apparently is because Ben Cohen (yes, the Ben in the company's name) has a disorder where he can't taste or smell anything, which sounds absurdly depressing, but has lead to some great textured ice cream.

My mom's personal favorite is Chubby Hubby, which is a malted vanilla ice cream base with chocolate covered, peanut filled pretzels with a peanut ribbon through the cream base. It's not a super common flavor, and she's always worried they're going to stop producing it, so we've usually got a couple emergency pints of it in the freezer. This obviously needed to be the base of the pie, and the top layer was decided to be Chocolate Therapy, which is just as good as it sounds.

Now, I really, really want to stress patience here. The ice cream needs to be soft and workable to fit into the pie crust evenly, and if it's solid as a rock, it's a pain in the butt to work with. My mom got a little impatient, and we wound up really needing to mangle the ice cream.

But it worked! To top it off, we crumbled some Oreos, more Chips Ahoy! and pretzels over the top of the pie. This all got wrapped up and put in the freezer for a couple hours to set.

I was a little nervous about how easy it would be to pry it out of the pie pan because I wasn't sure how well the crust would hold up, but the pieces came right out! And the crust really did actually seem like a crust, which was pretty great.

And there you have it!

Homemade ice cream pie!

So if you're looking for a simple, interesting, super tasty treat for your next birthday party, but don't have time to order something from the ice cream store, or if you're just bored with vanilla and chocolate flavored ice cream cakes, this is the solution for you. Seriously, everyone is already asking me to make different versions of this for their birthdays, using their favorite flavors.

The only thing I'd maybe do differently next time is waiting a little longer for the ice cream to soften, and maybe tone down the Chocolate Therapy! It's very, very strong, so I have to admit, I tasted that a little more than I did the Chubby Hubby, which was fine for me, but since the latter is my mom's favorite flavor, I was a little disappointed it got a little masked.

Over all though, I think this was quite a success!

And someday soon, we're going to try making our own ice cream...


  1. From Julie's doll mom:*

    Happy Birthday to your mom! As a 70s kid, I had (and still have) those Little House books from my childhood. My older sister and I had a chocolate brown Trim Line rotary phone in our room. (I found a white one for my dolls!), That recipe looks so yummy! My mom and I used to make an applesauce pie w/ graham cracker crust (much like your cookie crust), that everyone just loved. Your mom should check out my Julie's blog; I'll be she'll find some things she remembers!

    1. She says thank you, and wow, that sounds super tasty! If you ever feel like sharing the recipe, I'd be happy to hear it. :D

    2. *From Julie's doll mom:*

      I haven't made it in forever, (I think the last time was w/ an after school group I used to work with), but as soon as I remember the recipe, I'll let you know!)

  2. That looks way too good to be looking at.

    Happy birthday to your mom!

    1. She says thank you! :D The leftovers are calling my name, it's terrible. I really need to get on some salad recipes or something haha.

  3. That looks like an awesome dessert. Your blog always leaves me hungry!

    1. Me too! I often wonder why I didn't start a book blog or something!

  4. Thank you so much for making my birthday dream dessert come true!! It was spectacular! Putting in an early request for next year :) Love you!

    1. Anything for my biggest fan and sous chef! :D

  5. This looks absolutely amazing! And what a great platform for experimentation! There are endless possibilities for yummy ice cream and cookie crust combinations. Time to start cracking:)