Fresh from the freezer, the first bite is so cold that it hurts your teeth. By the third bite, the ice cream has begun to soften into a sugary goo. By the fifth―if you make it that far―a few errant drops of melted cream are probably escaping the cookie layers and dripping down your arm in a sticky sort of rill.
I am, of course, relating the pleasures of eating an ice cream sandwich in the summer.
Other than perhaps a s'more, no dessert is more appropriate for the pool parties and barbeques to come. And ice cream sandwiches have the advantage of being perfectly happy to sit in the freezer for a week or two, which makes them perfect to make ahead to have on hand for a casual, last-minute party.
While―with the help of a trusty ice cream maker―you could make ice cream sandwiches entirely from scratch, I find that the joy of these is not in starting at the beginning, but, rather, in coming up with whatever flavor combinations your heart desires on any given day
Think, double dark chocolate cookies with raspberry sorbet. Gingersnaps with cool lime sherbert. Or―an all-American combo if there ever was one―classic chocolate chip and bourbon vanilla.
That being said, it is worthwhile to at least make the cookies yourself.
Most cookies made with a standard recipe turn hard as rocks if you freeze them. If you add about two tablespoons of corn syrup to whatever recipe you're using, though, they'll retain a nice, chewy consistency. As a fair warning, I've only personally tested this trick with chocolate chip cookies, but my research indicates it will work with any cookie that isn't too fussy, so experiment with confidence.
For one of my initial forays into ice cream sandwich making, I decided to emulate my favorite chocolate―a rosemary caramel. If you need some ice cream sandwich inspiration, this would be a wonderful place to start.