I just made a lot of ice cream sandwich mistakes so you don't have to. They're fun and easy to make, but there's definitely a right way to do it and a wrong way. I'll share what I learned so you can make them the right way.
Making homemade ice cream sandwiches seemed to be the perfect way to celebrate the first hot weekend of our all-too-brief Seattle summer season. Boy, am I glad I did, because I learned some valuable lessons along the way that will help me make better ice cream sandwiches the next time. If you're new to making them, you can learn from my mistakes. If you're a seasoned pro, you can appreciate the learning curve. Hey, there's a first time for everything!
How to Make Better Ice Cream Sandwiches
1. Start with Soft Cookies
A cookie with a little give to it has the texture that seems to be the most compatible with any kind of ice cream filling. If you're starting with homemade cookies, underbake them slightly so they're cooked but chewy even when they cool. Be gentle when you're pressing the cookies together with the ice cream, because softer cookies are bendier. If you do start with crisp cookies, choose thin ones and let them freeze before you serve them. The cookie will absorb a bit of the moisture and soften up a little.
2. Watch Out for Frozen Chips
It seems like a no-brainer to make ice cream sandwiches with chocolate chip cookies. But know this: Chocolate chips freeze to a rock-hard consistency. If biting into big frozen nuggets of chocolate is your idea of a good time, then go for it. But I found that using smaller cookies and smaller chips helped to lessen the sensation of chewing on pebbles.
3. Match Cookie Halves in Advance
Do this before you even pull the ice cream out of the freezer. Trust me, this really makes a difference when you're trying to assemble ice cream sandwiches before the ice cream melts. And you'd be surprised by how quickly it melts while you're trying to find a cookie top and bottom that are roughly the same size.
4. Wrap Cookies Before Freezing
I thought that simply laying a sheet of waxed paper between layers of ice cream sandwiches was enough. But no. The ice cream continues to melt for a while after you put the sandwiches in the freezer until the cold can kick in to firm up the sandwiches. The result can be a frozen blobby mess. Ask me how I know. The solution is to wrap each sandwich as you make it with waxed paper or parchment to hold the ice cream in. Secure the folds with twine or a rubber band (you won't be able to reuse the rubber band). Place on a baking sheet and freeze. Plastic wrap works, too, but it doesn't look as nice.
5. Work in Small Batches
Assemble and wrap half a dozen sandwiches, pop them into the freezer, then move on to the next batch. Why? You have a small window of time to work with ice cream that is melting before your very eyes. You can help the ice cream stay cold by putting it in a bowl that's inside another bowl of ice, but that just slows down the inevitable melting. If your ice cream gets too soft and runny, put it back into the freezer and start again when it firms up. You could also work with one pint of ice cream while another one is in the freezer. Just swap them out after each small batch of ice cream sandwiches is made.
Ice Cream Sandwich Recipes to Try
- Chocolate Wafer Ice Cream Sandwiches (pictured above)
- Easy Ice Cream Sammies
- Easy Ice Cream Sandwiches
Make Your Own Ice Cream and Cookies
- Find an ice cream recipe in just about any flavor you want, and get tips for making ice cream.
- Want cookie recipes? You know we've got them, along with tips and how-tos for making the best cookies.
- Looking for a frozen dessert that's easy to make and serve for a crowd? Try these ice cream pies.
- Check out all of our other frozen treats.