mini IT’S-IT ice cream sandwiches

May 28, 2012

At some point in the near future, I need to come to terms with the fact that I have not lived on the West Coast since I was 19 years old.

You would not know that however, as I routinely introduce myself as being “from Seattle”. It is like the whole act of living in New York for eight years has been just temporary.

To really stave off any realizations that I may actually be required to call myself a New Yorker at some point in my life, I found myself in a relationship with a man from Berkeley, California and whose love the West Coast is mutual.

Between our shared closet of “nice going out” fleeces, the amount of burritos we consume on a weekly basis, and entire conversations consisting of the word “hella” – one would have no reason to assume we had ever even lived a minute in New York.

But sometimes our dual West Coast-ness needs to be represented out here in the 718/212/646/347/917.

I have several nostalgic food items from my youth in Seattle - smoked salmon, Tim’s Cascade Potato Chips, Aplets & Cotlets - just to name a few but I have never seen such pride for a regional treat as when I was first introduced to an IT’S-IT in Berkeley a few summers ago.

So what is an IT’S-IT? It’s (haha!!) an oatmeal cookie ice cream sandwich dipped in chocolate. To me. And maybe to you.

But to the Bay it is so much more than that. It is hometown pride. It is childhood memories. It is the legacy of An Original; unchanged since 1928.

But really it is just a dang good ice cream sandwich.

So here’s the part where I start to get heckled from everyone who remembers enjoying one on a sort-of-warm-summer afternoon in August and for even trying to think that I could recreate a treat with such history. Plus make them mini-sized, no less.

I see the point. Maybe my attempt at making an IT’S-IT is like eating Nutella in France when you want it to be peanut butter. Or having pizza in Mexico. Why bother!

But in the end, it all paid off because they did just happen to get the thumbs-up from someone who has been eating them for three decades – I’d say that is a hella good review!

Mini IT’S-IT Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes about 2 dozen tiny (1 1/2-inch diameter) sandwiches

Inspired by The Original (magic shell adapted from the archives; cookie recipe adapted from Gourmet)

For the cookies:
1 3/4 cup (160 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup (94 grams) flour
3/4 teaspoon (3 grams) cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
10 tablespoons (141 grams) butter, softened
1/3 cup (75 grams) brown sugar
1/3 cup (72 grams) sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vegetable oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla

For the coating**:
14 ounces (400 grams) dark chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons (60 grams) coconut oil
pinch of salt

1 pint good quality ice cream [I used peppermint chocolate chip]

Make the cookies: Preheat oven to 375. Butter an 18×13 rimmed baking sheet, line with parchment, and butter the parchment. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In a larger bowl cream together butter and both sugars. Add egg, oil and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Spread the dough evenly using an offset spatula into the prepared pan. You may feel like it is not enough dough to cover the bottom, but keep spreading and you’ll get there. You want a very thin layer of cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cookie is lightly brown and set in the middle. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Use the parchment as a sling to lift out the cookie and place on a cutting board. Stamp as many cookies as you can using a tiny 1 1/2-inch biscuit cutter (I have this set). Transfer cookies to a baking sheet lined with wax paper and place in the freezer until cold, or about 30 minutes. Get your ice cream out and a tiny scoop ready.

Assemble the ice cream sandwiches (Part 1): Removing two cookies from the freezer at a time, scoop tiny bits of ice cream on the bottom side of one cookie and gently press down with the remaining cookie to create a sandwich. Smooth the ice cream so it is flush with the edge of the cookies using an offset spatula or a knife. Place each finished sandwich back in the freezer. Repeat until all your sandwiches are made and let them chill for a good hour or two. You want the cookies to be as cold as possible when dipping them in chocolate.

Prepare the coating: Combine chocolate, coconut oil and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water until melted and smooth.

Assemble the ice cream sandwiches (Part 2): Mentally prepare yourself for the dipping process. Take a deep breath. What is going to happen is that you will remove one sandwich from the freezer, quickly lower it into the melted chocolate, use a spoon to cover the top and sides, then let the extra chocolate drip off and return the finished coated sandwich to the freezer to firm up. Super easy, right?

Once you deal with the fact the first few will not look pretty (but will still be tasty!) then you’ll be fine. What helped me? A flat cheese grater. Random, yes, but oh so helpful. I set a sandwich on the flat surface – which is covered with holes so the extra chocolate could drip through – then spooned chocolate over the top until it was covered and used a offset spatula to lift the coated sandwich off the grater and carefully return it to the baking sheet in the freezer. If you don’t have a flat cheese grater, I bet a slotted spoon or a spatula would work just as well.

**Or hey, you could just forgo dipping all together and cut the coating recipe in half. Instead, top each sandwich with a spoonful of melted chocolate. It will run down the sides of the sandwich and is basically the same thing. I promise you they will get eaten in the same amount of seconds – regardless of the route you used to coat them in chocolate.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Cheri @ The Watering Mouth May 28, 2012 at 10:01 am

Omg I just found your blog and am SOO glad I did. I just did a copycat recipe of my own recently, of Girl Scout Tagalong Cookies because I was missing them too, but for me it’s only been like a month since they make their yearly appearance! Haha. Far cry from your 8 years since living on the West Coast.

Anyhow, now I’m sorta wishing I was from the West Coast myself by the looks of these things. Oatmeal cookies are my fav, and with ice cream and chocolate? It’s no wonder you went to these lengths to recreate them at home! These look yummy, thanks for posting. See you more soon!

Cheri

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Lillie May 30, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Thank you so much Cheri! Homemade tagalongs! OMG those sound delish!

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ileana May 28, 2012 at 10:33 am

Oh man, these look fantastic. I haven’t really lived in Miami since I moved away for school at 17, but seven years later that’s still where I say I’m from! ;)

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Lillie May 30, 2012 at 12:10 pm

you gotta represent the hometown, right? :)

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Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar May 28, 2012 at 11:27 am

So fun! Love these little guys :)

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Sidra May 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm

omgoodness, you read my mind. These are my fave!!! nicely done :)

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thelittleloaf May 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm

These are the cutest little mouthfuls! I love ice cream sandwiches so any excuse to make and eat more the better. Oats make such delicious cookies and love the addition of cinnamon – yum!

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Molly May 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I’ve never had these but must try! I especially love your shout out to the west coast!! :)

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tamaso May 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm

NOM

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meg May 28, 2012 at 6:03 pm

I just made those oatmeal cookies this week and they are fabulous. I can only imagine the thrill and joy of eating them as ice cream sandwiches.

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Lillie May 30, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Agreed – they are fabulous cookies! The addition of oil keeps them soft even while frozen so the ice cream will not smoosh out when bitten. :)

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Alanna May 28, 2012 at 9:10 pm

These are SO cute! Love the super-oaty cookies – they look delicious. It’s its are hella good! There’s a hippy, vegan, raw-food restaurant called Cafe Gratitude here in the Bay where everything on the menu is an affirmation: “I am inspired,” “I am flourishing,” etc . They make a raw, vegan, chocolate-coated ice cream sandwich called “I am I am.” : )!

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Lillie May 30, 2012 at 12:05 pm

“I am I am” for a vegan IT’S-IT is by far the best thing I have heard all week. Seriously, I laughed out loud! I must go next time I’m in the Bay!!

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Suzy June 1, 2012 at 10:05 am

OMG I totally forgot about IT’S-ITs until this moment! I’m originally from California (though I haven’t lived there since 1994) and I remember having these growing up in the SF Bay area. Man they were good. Guess what I’ll be making this weekend???

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Deb June 2, 2012 at 11:17 am

I’m in Californa and lust after the It’s It mint ice cream sandwiches at the grocery store. They are an caloric indulgence I wish I could justify purchasing more often! But your mini’s are so adorable I want to make my own. A most lovely sweet and scrumptious post!

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micki July 9, 2012 at 10:01 pm

these look so good, i would love to make them for my son, as a summer treat, that he may have a fond memory of every summer.

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Rachel August 7, 2012 at 4:40 am

Thanks so much for sharing this!!

I love that you post photos along the process!! That comes in handy
Sometimes!!

I used this recipe to make a huge its it for my sister in laws
Bday!!

Thanks

Its blogged on dotgalima.wordpress.com

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nicolette September 12, 2012 at 11:50 am

I was born & raised in the bay area until I was 21 (10 years ago). I took the boyfriend back this summer and we grabbed Its its when in SF….he fell in love! And i continued to run to 7-11 nightly to grab them! They are by far the BEST ice cream sandwiches!! I am printing this out at work to make ASAP…thank yoU!!! cannot wait to try!

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Lillie September 12, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Yay! Its-it’s anytime, anywhere! :)

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Danielle Charlton Geer November 30, 2012 at 6:39 pm

I was actually googling to see if they sold It’s-It in NY when I came across your blog. I spent the first 48 years of my life living in CA and wound up moving to NY last year. My first thought, when reading this blog posting, was… “This is totally ME.”

My search for good Mexican food is on-going and fruitless, my conversation is peppered with hecka, hella, omg, totally, seriously, for real, and I know, right?? as if I’d never left the west coast. When people ask me where I’m from, I say “California” with so much pride that it’s like the state of California invented the wheel.

Thank you so much for the recipe… I can not WAIT to make these!!

xo

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Minphy March 3, 2013 at 4:02 am

OMG i just made these cookies and they’re AMAZING. they’re sooo addicting. but i have a question about the oatmeal cookies. I was wondering how your cookies came out to be so perfect and round. My cookies were brittle and they easily broke. ): what did i do wrong?

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Lillie March 7, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Glad to hear they were enjoyed! Hmm…as for your question, perhaps they were a bit over-baked? The vegetable oil helps to keep them a soft but since they are so thin they can easily get crispy!

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Minphy March 11, 2013 at 2:42 am

ohhh okay. I shall remake them again this weekend and test it out (: Thanks so much

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Adrina March 30, 2013 at 6:39 am

Iam from Northern California born and rasied as a child then moved to Idaho.
i ate these all the time as a kid! memories of walking to the corner store for them. we called them “Birdy ice creams” bcuz of the bird on original package. everytime i go visit i always try and bring some back. i’ve even been tempted to spend the cash and order online!! iam so happy i found this i love Its-it. it really does bring back good childhood memories and im so excited to make and share with my two lil ones :)) Thank You for sharing.

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Bonnie June 19, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I grew up in Tacoma, WA and lived in Cali for 4 yrs and became addicted to these, then back to WA and found them there at some of the 7-elevens (I found them)! I am now on the east coast and nothing. I wish that there was some way that the east coast could be introduced to these gems! They are truly delish! I guess that I will have to settle with the above recipe, but I would give it up for the real thing!! How about it and distribute them on the east coast some how?

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Susan August 25, 2013 at 11:03 pm

My daughter and I were so happy to find this recipe! We are native Californians (SF Bay Area) now living in New Jersey. We made these for our neighbors and they were a huge hit! We like to make our own ice cream, so instead of freezing it in quart containers we froze it on a cookie sheet. We then used the same biscuit cutter to cut out the cookies and the ice cream. It made assembling these a snap! To dip them, I just dropped them in the chocolate and scooped them right out with a mini spatula. Thanks for a great recipe. We will be making them again soon!

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Lillie August 30, 2013 at 10:56 am

Great idea Susan! So happy they were a hit!

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