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.
Rosemary Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches with Sea Salt Caramel Ice Cream (Makes about 8 sandwiches, with extra cookies left for snacking)
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 2 ¼ cups flour
- a pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ¼ cup fresh, chopped rosemary
- 1 pint sea salt carmel ice cream (Talenti makes a fabulous one.)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Cream the butter, sugar, brown sugar and corn syrup together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, then add the eggs one at a time. Last, mix in the vanilla and rosemary.
Dollop spoonfuls of dough onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are just getting brown on the edges. Cool the cookies completely.
Once the cookies are ready, put the pint of ice cream in the microwave for 10 seconds. Then, spread a generous layer of ice cream onto one cookie, top it with another, gently smush the sandwich together and wrap it in plastic wrap. Repeat with the rest of the cookies until you run out of ice cream.
Wrapped well, these ice cream sandwiches will last at least a few weeks in the freezer.