It’s always been one of my favourites, this little thing they call the ice cream sandwich. I recall having a lot of them in my childhood, but they seem to have disappeared completely from my life the older I grew. I’m not even sure if it’s because they stopped manufacturing or importing the brand I liked- heck I can’t even remember what that brand is- but I stopped finding those bars at the Supermarket, and ultimately in our freezer. In recent years, my mother would occasionally buy an ice cream sandwich from Dairy Queen and I’d have a bite, but it just wasn’t the same. No feelings were incited whatsoever.
But that all changed the day I got a bite of this.
I was even nervous at first when time came to finally have a taste. I so much wanted these to be amazing that there were a lot of thoughts and silly inner dialogues in my head about how much my heart would break if these turned out awfully. Crazy right? But I swear to you in all honesty these are the exact replica of all those ice cream sandwiches I ever stuffed my face with as a child.
And the best part? I am suddenly reminded that classic ice cream sandwiches like these are my absolute favourite comfort food of all time. This is the comfort food that puts to shame all other notions of comfort food I have had since I began to blog. There’s something about eating creamy ice cream sandwiched between soft cookies you can simply sink your teeth into that gives me a feeling of contentment I cannot explain in words. All I can say is that I really love getting that feeling.
I don’t even know how to express how happy I am to find the perfect ice cream sandwich recipe that can give me that feeling, but I guess I know who to thank. I got the recipe for these from Tessa Arias’ first cookbook Cookies & Cream: Hundreds of Ways to Make the Perfect Ice Cream Sandwich. Hers is one of the blogs I follow religiously and I think it’s great she gets to share her brand of food storytelling in print. I’m not one to promote things I don’t personally believe in, but after the stellar results of her Classic Ice Cream Sandwich, I am inclined to dub this book as a work of genius.
I bought this a week and a half ago and I haven’t stopped browsing it since. There’s an overwhelming amount of ice cream sandwiches in here that makes my mouth water no matter how many times I’ve seen the pictures. There are a bunch of unique flavour combinations too which only excites an ice cream sandwich lover like myself.
And if this recipe I’ve made is any indication of how amazing the ice cream sandwiches in this book are, then I just cannot wait to make everything in here!
Tessa’s Classic Ice Cream Sandwiches are beyond words. They are everything I remember from my childhood and more. The cookies are soft, chewy, deeply chocolatey; and the ice cream is deliciously creamy with a nice vanilla-milky hit. Just so so good! It’s safe to say I went a little crazy after I had my first bite! Seriously, you guys. I can’t even.
I actually had a little trouble with the cookie dough because it softens at a faster rate given the climate in this country where I live. I definitely recommend buying a cookie cutter for these since that will make your life about a hundred times easier for when you cut out your cookies. Not only can you use the cutters to transfer your cookies to the baking sheets, you don’t have to touch the dough with your warm hands. Any excessive handling of the dough can really make it soft.
I used a knife to cut the dough up and had to use my hands to move them to a spatula and they ended up kind of deformed on my baking sheet, but I simply reshaped them out of the fridge before baking them. They puff up nicely, which is great for hiding imperfections on the surface. The puffiness is also great for getting that uneven square shape around the sides. It makes them look ever so rustic and 100% homemade.
Also I would stress the importance of rolling the dough into an even 1/4 inch thickness. The cookies do fatten up and expand a little as they bake, and we want to avoid cookies that are too thick as they might overwhelm the ice cream filling.
Admittedly this recipe does take a little work, but by gosh it is SOOOOOOOO worth it.
Classic Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes about 10 ice cream sandwiches (1 quart ice cream and about 20 rectangular cookies)
For the French Vanilla Ice Cream
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 + 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and seeded *
- 4 large egg yolks
For the Chocolate Wafer Cookies
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon milk
Make the ice cream
- 1. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes and 1 to 2 cups of water. Inside, place a medium bowl fitted with a fine strainer.
- 2. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, cream, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, and the vanilla bean's seeds and pod. Set over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is warm and begins to steam, about 5 minutes.
- 3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Carefully whisk half of the warm milk mixture into the eggs yolks, one ladleful at a time, until the egg mixture is warmed.
- 4. Whisk the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until it is thick enough that it coats the back of the spoon, about 5 to 7 minutes. Be careful not to boil the mixture. It should register around 175° F on an instant-read thermometer.
- 5. Immediately strain the mixture into the bowl in the ice bath. Discard the vanilla bean pod. Cool the custard in the ice bath until it reaches room temperature, stirring often. You can transfer the custard to another container or store directly in the bowl, pressing a plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator about 4 hours or up to 1 day.
- 6. Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Spread the ice cream evenly in a large rimmed baking sheet or any wide flat container. ** Cover the ice cream surface with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.
Make the cookies
- 7. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
- 8. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and well-combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, until well-combined. Add the vanilla extract and milk.
- 9. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture and beat until thoroughly combined.
- 10. Shape the dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic. Chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour or up to 2 days.
- 11. When dough is ready, line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Place the chilled dough in between two large pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap on a work surface. Roll the dough out to an even 1/4-inch thickness. (If the dough is too firm, let it sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before rolling.)
- 12. Use a 3-inch cookie cutter to cut out squares from the dough and place on baking sheets, spacing them at least 1/2-inch apart because they puff and spread quite a bit as they bake. *** Gather remaining scraps of dough (refrigerate first if necessary) and repeat the process.
- 13. Chill the baking sheets in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until the dough squares are firm. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
- 14. Remove the baking sheets from the refrigerator and prick the dough squares all over with the probe of an instant read thermometer, or using the blunt end of a skewer or toothpick. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes, or until the cookies are set. They may seem soft out of the oven but they will harden as they cool. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Freeze cookies for at least 1 hour before using (or up to 1 month stored in an airtight container in the freezer). ****
- 15. Remove the ice cream sheet from the freezer. Cut out a square of ice cream the same size as the cookies, then sandwich between two cookies. Repeat for remaining ice cream and cookies, working quickly. If the ice cream begins to melt, return to the freezer until firm again. Freeze the sandwiches at least 1 hour before serving.
** I used an 8 x 8- inch square pan alongside a 6-inch bread pan, though I think a 9-inch rectangular pan would work as well. Just keep in mind the ice cream should be about 3/4 inches thick.
*** Living in the Philippines where the weather is tropical, it gets a little difficult to handle soft dough. The key to making it easier to shape the cookies is to handle the dough with hands (which are warm) as little as possible. Though you can do without, I definitely recommend using a cookie cutter to transfer dough pieces to the baking sheets. I used a knife to cut out my cookie pieces and my hands to transfer the dough to my baking sheets. Not only did they take more time, my dough softened quickly and got a little deformed in transit. Good news is you can reshape them after another spell in the fridge. Don't worry about the uneven appearance of the dough as they puff up when they bake, evening the surface out.
**** I didn't freeze my cookies, using them as soon as they were completely cool with no problems. However I would recommend freezing the assembled ice cream sandwich before serving for best experience. Adapted from <i>Cookies & Cream: Hundreds of Ways to Make the Perfect Ice Cream Sandwich</i> by Tessa Arias