Ice Cream Sandwiches


Preparation info

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Vanilla ice cream may be one of the world’s most perfect foods. Not only is the frozen treat delicious in its state of natural simplicity, a carton of vanilla ice cream is pretty much any flavor of ice cream waiting to happen. It’s what I use for this array of options for homemade ice cream sandwiches. This recipe is really more a slew of ideas than a specific formula. I have, on a few occasions, gone to the effort of making both the cookies and the ice cream for ice cream sandwiches. But honestly, it takes loads of time and considering the time-to-pleasure ratio, I’m convinced that taking the right shortcuts produces really tasty ice cream sandwiches that will wildly impress your friends.


Pick a Cookie

  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Chocolate wafers
  • Gingersnaps
  • Oatmeal cookies
  • Peanut butter cookies
  • Shortbread

Pick a Flavor

  • Cognac-soaked raisins or chopped prunes
  • Crushed amaretti cookies
  • Crushed fresh berries
  • Espresso powder mixed with a bit of water
  • Finely chopped candied ginger
  • Grated bittersweet chocolate
  • Mint liqueur
  • Peanut butter
  • Toasted coconut

Pick a Finish

  • Finely chopped chocolate-mint wafers
  • Finely chopped toasted nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans)
  • Finely crushed candies (toffee, peppermints)
  • Grated chocolate
  • Toasted coconut


It should be sturdy enough to hold the ice cream firmly, without being too hard; stick with smaller cookies (not much more than inches across) to suit the game-play setting. You should need about 32 cookies, to make 16 sandwiches, though this will vary with the size of cookie used.

You can definitely buy mint chocolate chip or caramel ripple ice cream if you prefer, but it’s great fun to customize the ice cream filling to match the cookie and your inspirations. Start with 1 quart of a top-quality vanilla ice cream. Note that alcohol impedes freezing; don’t go overboard adding spirits, and plan on a little longer freezing time for the blend to become solid again.

Sometimes the simplest techniques add the greatest panache; a flick of the wrist and the edges of your ice cream sandwiches will have a flavor and visual boost from one of these finishing touches. After making the sandwiches, freeze them for at least an hour to set up a bit, then roll the edges and continue freezing. About ¾ cup of your chosen finisher should be enough for your sandwiches.

Now comes the fun. Pick an element from each category, items that sound complementary and delicious (or two or three combos, for some variety) and get rolling.

Transfer a carton of top-quality vanilla ice cream from the freezer to the fridge and let it soften until easy to scoop, 30 to 60 minutes.

Scoop the ice cream into a bowl and stir in the flavoring of choice. The amount needed will vary, from just a few tablespoons of intensely flavored espresso to perhaps 1 cup of toasted coconut. Put the bowl in the freezer for 30 to 60 minutes to firm up a bit (longer if alcohol’s been used).

Use a small scoop to top your cookies with the ice cream. A spring-loaded scoop will be most efficient. Top with another cookie, pressing down at the center just enough to squeeze the ice cream to the edge of the cookie. Set the sandwich on a baking sheet and put in the freezer while making the remaining sandwiches.

Once the sandwiches have been made, roll the edges in a finishing touch of choice, before the ice cream is fully firm. Freeze on the tray until frozen solid, then transfer the sandwiches to a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag, or just cover the tray well with aluminum foil.

The sandwiches will be best the next day; they can be stored for up to 1 week before serving.