Michelle Darmody: Cookies and ice cream from scratch

Michelle Darmody: Cookies and ice cream from scratch
Black sesame cookies.

The chocolate hazelnut cookies have a soft cakeiness that works well with a slightly melting ice cream. The basic vanilla ice cream recipe can be amplified quite easily. A selection of dried fruit will turn it into a cassata or some small chocolate chips into a stracciatella. It is custard-based which makes it rich and soft but takes a little longer to make than an ice cream without eggs. If you have an ice cream maker it will save you time.

For the chocolate hazelnut sandwich you can roll the cookie in sprinkles to brighten up your day. The black sesame version is a bit more refined; a grown-up version. The black sesame cookies are crisp and crunchy and the mixture of coconut and sesame gives them a nice flavour.

Michelle Darmody. Picture by Fergal Phillips.
Michelle Darmody. Picture by Fergal Phillips.

Making a custard or creme anglaise can often be tricky. If you have trouble moderating your hob and cannot keep the temperature low enough you can place a bowl over some boiling water, as you would if you are melting chocolate, and make your custard in this. It might take a minute or two longer to thicken up but will give you more control over the temperature. When whisking the custard it is good to keep a metal spoon to hand. When you feel it is getting think enough dip the spoon in, and the custard should coat the back of it.

When squashing a scoop of ice cream between two cookies it is best to leave it out of the fridge for at least fifteen minutes beforehand.

Black sesame cookies


100 of soft butter

1 tbsp of honey

1 tsp of bread soda

2 tbsp of boiling water

85g of porridge oats

80g of desiccated coconut

20g of black sesame seeds

100g of plain flour

90g of golden caster sugar


Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees and line two large flat baking trays with parchment.

Melt the butter over a low heat and stir in the honey until combined.

Stir the bread soda into the boiling water then stir this into the butter mixture.

Mix the oats, coconut, sesame seeds and sugar in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the wet mixture and combine the two until a dough is formed.

Roll the mixture into 18 balls, between the palms of your hands. Press each one down onto the baking tray, flatten them with the back of a fork and leave room for the cookies to expand.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until golden. Allow to rest on the tray until they are cool enough to handle, then place onto a wire rack.

A basic custard-based vanilla ice cream


100g of golden caster sugar

3 egg yolks

280mls of cream

300mls of milk

2 tsp of vanilla


Add the egg yolks and 50g of sugar into a large bowl and whisk until pale in colour and thickened.

Mix the milk and 180mls of cream together and add 50g of the sugar and the vanilla. Warm it over a gentle heat in a heavy-based saucepan until shivering, just before it boils.

Add the other 100mls of cream into the egg mixture and combine it well. Stir this mixture into the hot milk and cream.

Return this to the saucepan and gently heat, whisking or stirring all of the time until thickened. It will take about ten minutes. Allow to cool, stirring every twenty minutes or so until it is at room temperature.

Pour it into a freezeproof carton and place into your freezer. Take out every hour or so and stir completely. Repeat this about five times until frozen. These steps can be done in an ice cream maker if you have one.

Chocolate chip hazelnut cookies


150g of soft butter

70g of sugar

80g of muscovado sugar

2 tsp of vanilla

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 tsp of bread soda, sieved

225g of plain flour, sieved

90g of dark chocolate chips

50g of hazelnuts, chopped


Beat the butter and both of the sugars until light and fluffy. Stir the vanilla into the egg and add these gradually to the butter mixture.

Add the flour and bread soda until combined. The mixture may seem a little stiff but do not worry. Add in the chocolate and hazelnuts. Roll the mixture into a fat sausage shape. Wrap in baking parchment and place into the fridge to firm up for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees and line two large flat baking trays with parchment.

Slice the cookie dough into about 18 discs with a warm knife. You can shape them with your hand if you wish and press them flat with the back of a fork. Place apart on the baking trays.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until golden. Allow to rest on the tray until they are cool enough to handle, then place onto a wire rack.

More in this section


The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up