Hi, my name is Megan and I live in Brooklyn, aka the place that catapulted a demonic entity called the “Ramen Burger” onto modern civilization. Chances are you’ve heard of it, no? It’s a craze that has spawned many variations of hamburger buns made out of ramen noodles to satiate our unquenchable thirst to be ever on trend. And it hasn’t stopped at burgers, either. Ramen noodles have even crossed over into ultimate hybrid territory via the “Ramnut”, a donut comprised entirely of ramen that is surely a sign of the end times.
Of course, I’d like to be clear: I’m not here to judge. I am here to become part of the problem. And I aim to do that by telling you about a journey into culinary madness that I embarked upon just yesterday, one in which my quest was to answer the age-old question: CAN YOU MAKE A RAMEN ICE CREAM SANDWICH?!
I first asked myself this question when I was thinking about what kinds of weird ingredients I might be able to use in creating this year’s National Ice Cream Sandwich Day feature. I knew that donuts and churros were circulating as non-traditional and therefore trendy bases for ice cream sandwiches, so how could I one-up these? Maybe I could use Twinkies? That seemed too simple, so I went back to the drawing board. “What about a PIZZA ice cream sandwich instead?” I thought to myself, but that seemed potentially too gross, even for me. And that’s when it hit me. If Ramen Burgers existed, and Ramnuts existed, and donuts could be used in ice cream sandwich construction, then SURELY there had to be a ramen ice cream sandwich floating around by now, right?
A quick Google search told me that it was miraculously NOT a thing yet; while there was one from Complex that sounded DISGUSTING (it consisted of DRY ramen dipped in melted chocolate, not at all in the style of the Ramen Burger, and what sounded like your jaw’s worst nightmare) and one other that I found deep, deep, DEEP into a Google image search that was being served at a restaurant in LA (churro-flavored, but weird-looking and no recipe to be found), the ramen ice cream sandwich market seemed largely untapped. And so I said, “THIS IS THE PLACE!” and got started conceptualizing.
Creating the ramen “buns” wouldn’t be difficult at all; recipes for those exist all over the internet, and only two ingredients (a packet of instant ramen and an egg) are required. Adapting them for a DESSERT recipe, however, would take some thinking about. Ultimately I decided that, once fried in butter, I would coat the ramen buns with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, and to make things interesting, I added half of the seasoning packet from the Hot Chili-flavored ramen noodles to the mix.
When it came time to pick an ice cream flavor, I initially gravitated towards salted caramel but then went with plain vanilla bean for a clean flavor. And that turned out to be a wise choice. WHICH LEADS ME TO THE MOMENT YOU’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR! WAS IT GOOD?!
Fuck yeah it was good! (I feel depressed saying that, too!) But just imagine the following formula: horchata + kugel + freezer = Ramenwich. The buns were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, and the cinnamon and sugar mixture with that little kick of spice worked really well with the sweet but clean mouth-feel of the vanilla bean ice cream. The only drawback was that it was pretty messy (I used Edy’s brand because it was on sale, but I think a Haagen Dazs or even Breyer’s would have held up a little better), and melted ice cream WILL drip through a ramen bun. (But like, you kind of waive your right to look glamorous if you sign up to eat a ramen ice cream sandwich in the first place, so as long as it tastes good and you’re surrounded by fellow sickos, then who even cares?!)
If you would like to see what the fuck I am talking about, then here is what you will need and what you will need to do to it:
- one package of instant ramen noodles per ice cream sandwich (any flavor will do unless you want to use the flavor packet, in which case ONLY get the Hot Chili kind)
- one egg per package of instant ramen noodles
- cinnamon and sugar (enough to sprinkle your fried buns with)
- ice cream (any flavor you want, though I would recommend plain vanilla bean as mentioned above)
- butter (oil works, too, but I think butter tastes rad)
- frying pan
- two ramekins or other round dishes of equal size to one another
- cling wrap or aluminum foil
- Start by dividing the ramen into two sheets (in most kinds of ramen this is already basically done, just use a knife to separate the connected end)
- Place one of the sheets of ramen into boiling water and leave it for two to three minutes, or until tender
- While the first sheet of ramen cooks, whisk one egg in a bowl, and line your ramekins with cling wrap or aluminum foil
- Remove the first sheet of ramen from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and drain it, placing the other dry sheet of ramen into the still boiling water
- Toss the cooked sheet of ramen into the whisked egg mixture, and then transfer it to one of the ramekins to shape it into a flat, round bun
- Repeat the previous two steps for the second sheet of ramen once it’s cooked
- Place both ramekins into the fridge or freezer to cool for fifteen minutes to a half hour
- Place your frying pan on medium heat and coat it with butter
- Unwrap your ramen buns (which should now be holding their shape) and fry on each side for two to three minutes, or until golden brown
- Mix your cinnamon, sugar and Hot Chili flavoring (if you choose to use it) in a bowl or on a plate
- Remove the buns from the frying pan and toss them gently in the cinnamon and sugar mixture
- Wrap them up again and place them in the freezer
- Re-line one of your ramekins with cling wrap or aluminum foil, and use it to create a disc of ice cream roughly the same thickness as the buns (place scoops of ice cream in the lined ramekin and press them down with the back of a spoon or rubber spatula until flat and even)
- Place the ice cream-filled ramekin into the freezer, and allow everything to set for at least an hour
- Remove your buns and the ice cream, unwrap, and assemble everything together to form a sandwich
- Return to the freezer to allow everything to set (I waited an hour, but you’re probably okay after fifteen to thirty minutes if you can’t wait so long)