Chonky Boys: The Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches that Scream Summer!

Featuring my thick and nuggy Chonky Boy Chocolate Chip Cookies, these ice cream sandwiches are the stuff that summer dreams are made of.  If you've ever had the Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich at Disneyland , you are going to LOVE these!  These big and bold chocolate chip cookies are based on a recipe from my culinary school studies at Auguste Escoffier, but with a few modifications to give them that Jennuine touch.  They make the perfectas book for a fat slice of real vanilla bean ice cream.  And those mini chips?  You just gotta have that extra cronch! Thank goodness this recipe only makes 8 sandwiches, otherwise I would be eating them for breakfast lunch and dinner.  This way, my big family can help save me from my inner child diet-saboteur.   Print With Image Without Image Chonky Boy Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches Yield: 8 Author: Jenn Erickson Loaded with chocolate chips and buttery, brown-sugary vanilla flavor, these mall-sized cookies form a perfect partnership with a

Honey Almond Apricot HOT CROSS BUNS

Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons
One a penny,
Two a penny,
Hot Cross Buns!

If you have, or have ever had a child in elementary school, the mention of "Hot Cross Buns" will likely conjure memories of the old folk tune piped off-key from a plastic recorder.  For many, Hot Cross Buns are also a traditional part of the Easter holiday.  These sweet buns, studded with raisins or currants are typically served on Good Friday and get their name from the symbolic cross baked into the top.

This year, I decided to try my own twist on the traditional hot cross bun and came up with the Honey Almond Apricot Hot Cross Bun.  This delicious little sweet bun has pieces of dried apricot in place of the raisins.  The rich broiche-like dough has just a touch of almond flavor which nicely complements the tart apricots and the honey-glazed cream cheese cross.  As the name insists, they are to be eaten hot, but can be kept in an airtight container for up to a week and reheated in the microwave for a treat on demand!

Honey Almond Apricot Hot Cross Buns
adapted from John Barricelli's classic Hot Cross Bun recipe
Makes 18


For the buns
12 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled, plus more for bowl
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon coarse salt
Zest of 1 small orange (I used a Clementine)
2 teaspoons almond extract
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
5 3/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/3 cups dried apricots (pulsed in a food processor till finely chopped)

For the cream cheese cross filling
4 oz. softened cream cheese (not whipped)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk

For the honey glaze
3 Tablespoons honey
3 Tablespoons water

Step 1:  Generously butter a large bowl and set aside.  Heat milk in a microwave safe  bowl, or on a stovetop till it reaches 110 degrees on a kitchen thermometer.  Pour heated milk into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.  On low speed, add sugar, yeast, salt, melted butter, almond extract, zest and eggs.  Add flour and mix on medium speed until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms.  Continue mixing, scraping down sides as necessary, until smooth (about 4 minutes).

Step 2:  Add apricots.  Knead with the dough hook, on low speed to incorporate.  Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead briefly. Shape into a smooth ball.  Place dough in the buttered bowl and turn to coat with butter on all sides.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour and 20 minutes).

Step 3:  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Turn dough onto work surface.  Knead briefly and roll dough into a log.  Cut log into 18 equal pieces.  Shape each piece into a tightly formed ball.  Place dough balls, evenly spaced in rows of 3 on the prepared baking sheet.  Cover baking sheet with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until buns are touching and doubled in size (1 1/2 - 2 hours).

Step 4:  Preheat oven to 375 with rack positioned in the upper third of oven.  Place pan in oven and bake for 15 minutes. 

Step 5:  While buns are baking, prepare the honey glaze by heating the water and honey until honey has completely dissolved.  Remove pans from oven and lightly brush each bun with the honey glaze.  Return to oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Step 6:  While buns are baking, prepare cream cheese cross filling by combining the softened cream cheese, sugar and egg yolk in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth.  Place filling in a pastry bag or plastic sandwich bag and snip a small piece from one corner.  Pipe crosses over the surface of each bun.  Bake for a final 5 minutes.

Enjoy warm.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Reheat in microwave before serving.

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