Cookie dough ice cream is a frozen treat made with a base of frozen cream or milk. Chunks of raw cookie dough are stirred into the ice cream. It may be made in a home ice-cream maker, in a shop, or manufactured. The cookie dough is prepared separately from the ice cream, usually before or during the freezing process. Ingredients and preparation methods vary somewhat from earliest known recipes like the Ben & Jerry's® version created at a Scoop Shop in Vermont during the mid-1980s.
The cookie dough mixture is typically made with a combination of butter, sugar or brown sugar, and flour, as well as egg, vanilla, and add-ins like chocolate chips or nuts. Dough is typically prepared, refrigerated, and stirred into churned ice cream or used as a topping. Variations for dietary restrictions or lifestyle may include using spelt or millet flour for gluten-free dough or artificial sweetener for sugar-free dough, for instance.
Cookie dough ice cream typically has a vanilla base, though other flavors may be used, especially in homemade versions of the treat. As with all ice cream, quality and taste varies with the type of ingredients used. Super-premium ice cream, for example, uses high-quality ingredients like actual sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup. It also has a higher fat content and uses less emulsifying agents than premium or standard ice cream.
Store-bought cookie dough ice cream may have additional ingredients, depending on the brand and quality. Cookie dough ice cream may have oils added, like partially-hydrogenated or expeller-pressed oil. Hydrogenated oils are liquid fats chemically modified to become semi-solid. Higher-quality ice cream typically has expeller-pressed oil that's only mechanically refined. Homemade ice cream may not have oil at all, using butter instead.
Homemade ice cream is typically made by creating a custard with butter, eggs, sugar, and milk. Heavy cream and extracts are also used. Mixing and heating methods for the custard vary, with ice baths being used in some recipes. Ingredients may be added in various orders as well, depending on the recipe. The custard is chilled and then frozen in an ice cream maker per manufacturer instructions.
The first-known cookie dough ice cream was created by a Ben & Jerry's® Scoop Shop in Burlington, Vermont, in 1984. The shop had a suggestion board for flavors, and an unknown guest put chocolate chip cookie dough down. Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream was available as a homemade flavor at the shop until Ben & Jerry's® introduced it in a pint in 1990. The flavor's popularity continued into the 21st century, with other companies and shops following suit, offering cookie dough in the ice cream itself or as an add-on.