How to make the best ice cream sandwiches

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwich Recipes

Nothing beats the summer heat like an ice cream sandwich. Something about a mound of ice cream, nestled between two soft, chewy cookies just says, “yep, nothing beats the summer heat like an ice cream sandwich.” It also says, “Mmm. Delicious.” But something the ones found in your grocer’s freezer seriously slack. Tasteless cookies with the same old vanilla soft serve, not satisfying that craving at all. Then you eat a few and… still no satisfaction.

Enter the homemade ice cream sandwich, a quintessential recipe to have on hand for times like these. Whether you make your own cookies and use store bought ice cream, or do the whole thing from scratch–it’s worth it.

The Cookies

First start with a good cookie recipe. One that is a little soft, a little chewy, and really darn big.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup pecans

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Beat butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture and stir until blended, then add chocolate chips and pecans.

Drop batter 2 inches apart onto prepared pans and bake at 350F for 15 minutes, until golden. Let cool three minutes on plan, then remove onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Ginger Cookies

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple extract (optional)

Whisk flour, spices, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl.

Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses, and maple extract if using, and beat until smooth.

Add the flour to the butter mixture, mixing until smooth.

Use your hands to roll the dough into walnut-sized balls. Roll in extra sugar and place on the baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake at 325F for 9 to 12 minutes until tops are crackly and sides are firm.

Let cool for 3 minutes on pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup peanut butter (crunchy is better!)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped

Whisk together butter, sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well, then stir in peanut butter until well combined.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add it to the butter mixture and then stir in the peanuts, until all ingredients are smooth.

Scoop dough and form into balls. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart then flatten.

Bake in a 375F oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until just starting to turn golden at the edges. Let cool on a wire rack.

The Ice Cream

Next, the ice cream. Try something a little different than traditional vanilla.

Brown Sugar and Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Whisk egg yolks and sugar until thick, in a heavy saucepan.

Place cream and half-and-half in another saucepan, bringing just to a boil over medium heat. Gradually whisk the hot cream into the egg mixture in a thin stream until well combined. Turn the egg mixture to low heat and stir constantly, until the custard is thick, about 6 minutes. It should coat the back of a spoon. Do not boil.

Pour the mixture into a bowl, and add the vanilla extract. Let it come to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate over night. The next day, freeze it according to your ice cream maker’s directions.

Strawberry Ice Cream

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2  cups strawberry puree (whizz about 2 cups diced strawberries in the food processor until smooth)

Whisk together all ingredients. Freeze it according to your ice cream maker’s directions.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

  • 1 (18oz) jar peanut butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 14oz can condensed milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Heat on low and stir until smooth. Remove from burner, let cool, and place in the refrigerator over night. The next day, freeze it according to your ice cream maker’s directions.

The Assembly

Spread bottoms of half of the cookies with a scoop or two of ice cream, depending on how large the cookies are. Top with another cooke, gently squeezing until the ice cream has spread to the edge.

Roll the edges of the ice cream in crushed nuts, chocolate chips or sprinkles. Wrap individually in plastic wrap, then cover each in foil.  Freeze in airtight container until firm, at least 4 hours.

Check out this variation for Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwiches (with the classic chocolate cookie) at the Joy of Baking, too.


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