Cheat’s Ice Cream Sandwich Ideas

Ice cream never struck me as a satisfying dessert – it’s the snack you eat in a cone by the beach, not the exclamation mark to end a meal. (If you disagree, I will see you outside aka the comments section.) But, let me just clarify. The act of squishing said ice cream between two layers of something sweet, be it two cookies, a brioche roll, a pain au chocolat, not only vastly increases my risk of diabetes and tooth decay, but it makes me abandon all my opinions and judgements on ice cream, and run into the open arms of ice cream sandwiches – an icy dessert of substance.

ice cream sandwich

To go back to ice cream itself – first, I hope I didn’t offend anyone (just don’t get me started on the subject of arctic roll, I don’t want anyone to angrily unsubscribe in protest). Second, skating into safer territory, I’m sure many would agree that homemade ice cream is far superior to all shop-bought options.

The vanilla ice cream in my freezer is the second cheapest tub available at my nearby supermarket. I assessed the 1 euro difference in price between that and the bottom-of-the-barrel cheapest, and made what I thought at the time was the wise decision to spend a grand total of 2 euros 30 and ideally preserve my insides. Little did I know what I was carrying. This ice cream is toxic – if you can imagine artificial vanilla flavour and intensify it by 1000 then we’re in the ball park of this ice cream’s flavour. I’m now terribly curious to try the 1 euro stuff.

Ice cream has a time and a place. On the beach, as stated above. Or in Rome where you’re served by waiters wearing bow ties and you need to get two flavours in one cone because you must try all of the city’s gelato during one holiday. It was in fact on that trip when I tried an Italian ice cream sandwich for the first time, the pinnacle of ice cream luxury.

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In one of the many cool, highly polished gelaterias in Rome stood a glass plinth of brioche buns. I immediately knew I was destined to sample one stuffed with ice cream, and that I did. Full of pistachio, caramel and chocolate gelato, and a flimsy spoon wedged in there too, the brioche soaked up the melting ice cream, the flavours melding in a delicious childlike mess. The spoon became redundant as I needed this sandwich and I needed it quickly – the only option was to lift it to my mouth like it was a meal deal I ate on my lunch break. It was all over in five minutes. And like all holiday romances, I never forgot it.

Now I live in France, and while brioche is a winning bready vehicle here too, personally I think a pain au chocolat ice cream sandwich is a better option.

ice cream sandwich ideas nigella eats everything

How to Sandwich an Ice Cream Sandwich

When it comes to savoury sandwiches (I guess we can categorise them as ‘sandwiches’), the usual exterior wrapping is bread. I have just googled ‘sandwiches without bread’ and the alternatives are strange, I’d expected to at least have heard of some of these options but nope, can’t say I’ve come across sandwiching a filling with aubergine slices, hollowed-out cucumber halves, or miniature omelettes. So let’s just say, for argument’s sake, the default is bread.

The sweet sandwich though, why, there’s a whole realm, a whole Narnia of different sandwiching options. Brioche and sandwich bread we’ve covered, but there’s obviously cookies and wafers too, and also brownies and blondies, but what about the whole industry of breakfast foods: French toast, waffles, a croissant or pain au chocolat?

Quite frankly, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to our ice cream sandwich vehicles.

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Here, I’ve gone for the traditional cookie ice cream sandwich. Not only is the structural integrity sound, but there is an intriguing balance of textures combined with the silky soft ice cream gently melting in the middle. The cookies are firm, yet soft and chewy enough to not become a choking hazard. Plus, you think the sweet-sandwich world is big, the cookie possesses a whole galaxy. The choices are almost overwhelmingly endless, but I settled for oaty chocolate chunk cookies.

Oatmeal cookies are a firm favourite because of their warm molassey flavour, their addictive chew, their hearty robustness. For a cookie, they’re pretty sturdy, the kind of cookie you’d want as a bouncer. They’re not going to dissolve into a pile of soggy crumbs as soon as the ice cream starts melting.

And as for the pain au chocolat ice cream sandwich… well it’s got to be done hasn’t it? Much like the chocolate chunk cookie, it’s got that obligatory chocolate in there. And I love me some soggy pastry, I won’t lie to you, and ice cream gently melting inside a buttery pain au chocolat does things to me.

ice cream sandwich ideas nigella eats everything

The Ice Cream Sandwich Filling

My internal teenager is rolling her eyes at me right now. ‘The ice cream sandwich filling is ice cream. Duh.’

But the problem with my internal teenager is that she is a pedantic pain in the ass, and doesn’t care as much about flavour as I do. Yes, there’s ice cream, but what kind of ice cream are we talking about here? Please don’t say the vanilla ice cream in my freezer.

While I would always advise we make our own ice cream, I know we all have enough on our plates as it is. This is just an ice cream sandwich after all, not Bake Off. So, how can we improve cheap crappy ice cream to make a cheat’s ice cream sandwich?

I have two options for you.

First, let’s ripple in some berries. Compotes and coulis are tart, fruity solutions to improve a bad batch of ice cream. Or curd. I had some mixed berry curd in my fridge, so I whacked that in with some frozen berries, swirling it through for little bursts of berry tang.

Second, let’s say your ice cream is perfectly acceptable. In that case, why not build a banoffee ice cream sandwich? Vanilla ice cream sandwiched with salted caramel sauce and sliced banana, all oozy and drippy between two cookies?

ice cream sandwich ideas nigella eats everything

So, after all, it doesn’t take a lot for ice cream to have its Cinderella moment – to transform from the dud of the dessert menu to be dressed up in time for the ball. The ball being our summer sugar cravings that is.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Here are a variety of ice cream sandwich ideas for you to try – first there are the cookies, the essential vehicle for your ice cream cargo. If you would like to bake your own cookies, go for these oaty chocolate chunk cookies.
Otherwise, just buy a pain au chocolat, cut it in half and fill it with ice cream.
Second, there's the quick 'homemade' berry ripple ice cream.
Third, there's the banoffee ice cream sandwiches.
But you do you
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
Freezing Time4 hours
Course: Baking, Dessert, Snack, sweet
Cuisine: American
Keyword: banana, berries, caramel, cookies, curd, ice cream
Servings: 12 cookies
Author: Adapted from Butternut Bakery’s cookie recipe

Ingredients

For the Cookies

  • 220 g unsalted butter 1 cup
  • 225 g flour 1½ cups
  • 150 g oats 1⅔ cups
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 150 g brown sugar ¾ cup
  • 100 g sugar ½ cup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125 g dark chocolate 4.4 oz

For the Berry Ripple Ice Cream

  • 350 g vanilla ice cream approx 1½ cup
  • 100 g berry curd, compote or coulis approx ½ cup
  • 125 g frozen mixed berries ¾ cup

For the Banoffee Ice Cream Sandwiches

  • 1 banana
  • 1-2 large scoops of vanilla ice cream
  • 1-2 tbsp salted caramel sauce

Instructions

  • To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F. Line a tray with baking paper.
  • First, brown the butter by melting it in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Ideally use a saucepan without a non-stick coating so you can see the colour of the butter as it darkens. After around 6 minutes, the butter will turn amber coloured and smell biscuity. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the melted butter into a jug to cool.
  • Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl – the flour, oats, cornflour, salt, ginger, baking powder and baking soda.
  • Combine the sugars in another large bowl and whisk in the cooled browned butter. Add the eggs one at a time, beating with each addition.
  • Pour in the dry ingredients and fold it all together, and add the chocolate chunks, folding everything to make sure there's no flour at the bottom of the bowl.
  • Scoop out blobs of dough with either your hands, 2 heaped tablespoons, or a ¼-cup measuring scoop. Place 4 on the baking tray and lightly squash them down. The cookies spread out, so this is the best way to gauge how much and to assess your timings according to your oven. Place the tray in the oven and bake the 4 cookies for 10-12 minutes.
  • Repeat this last step with the rest of the cookie dough until it's all finished – you can keep it in the fridge between bakes – and now you should have a pile of oaty chocolate chunk cookies.

For the Berry Ripple Ice Cream

  • Tip the vanilla ice cream into a baking dish that can fit in your freezer. I opted for a shallower dish so it would freeze quicker, but if you like thick ice cream sandwiches, you could use a taller dish. Flatten the ice cream, stir it up a bit so it's all mixed together and evenly spread it out.
  • Add most of the mixed berries and stir them in. Pour over the curd and then ripple it through the ice cream with a knife or skewer. Depending on the consistency of your curd, if it's quite thick, it may sink to the bottom!
  • Top the ice cream with the rest of the berries and put the dish in the freezer. Freeze for at least 4 hours.

How to make Ice Cream Sandwiches

  • If you are sandwiching your ice cream with cookies, make sure your cookies are cold first! Remove the ice cream from the freezer and leave it for 5 minutes to soften. Cut out a circle roughly the size of the cookie and, using a spatula, scoop it out of the dish. Layer it on the cookie, top with another the same size, and enjoy!
  • If you are sandwiching your ice cream with pain au chocolat, cut your pain au chocolat in half. Cut out a rectangular piece of ice cream and sandwich it between the two layers of pain au chocolat.

How to make Banoffee Ice Cream Sandwiches

  • Remove your ice cream from the freezer 5 minutes before to make sure it's soft enough to scoop.
  • Make sure the salted caramel is liquid enough to pour – if it's kept in the fridge it might be too thick so warm it through slightly in a saucepan or in the microwave.
  • Thinly slice the banana. Top the underside of the cookie with banana slices.
  • Take 1 or 2 scoops of ice cream and squash them on top of the banana slices. Drizzle it all with the salted caramel sauce, and top it all with another cookie. Devour quickly or it will melt all down your arm.

10 responses to “Cheat’s Ice Cream Sandwich Ideas”

  1. Sheree Avatar

    My OH is with you on the pain au chocolate ice cream sandwich.

    1. Nigella Eats Everything Avatar

      Haha what excellent taste 😉

      1. Sheree Avatar

        He’d agree with that

  2. Awakening Wonders Avatar

    I agree homemade ice cream is the best! Recipe is of course, drool worthy!

    1. Nigella Eats Everything Avatar

      Haha thank you! Yes hands down, do you make much homemade ice cream?

      1. Awakening Wonders Avatar

        Whenever possible!

  3. Bernie Avatar

    We are huge fans of home made ice cream (I grew up on a dairy farm!) and recently made our one with freshly picked saskatojn berries and spur cherries. I sandwiched then between a homemade oreo. While it worked eons ago it wasn’t spectacular except in taste.
    Bernie

    1. Nigella Eats Everything Avatar

      Now that ice cream sandwich sounds absolutely divine! You’re making me hungry, all I want is one of your ice cream sandwiches! Also, I’ve never heard of these berries, whereabouts do they usually grow?

      1. Bernie Avatar

        The berries grow in the plains of North America. In Canada, they are called saskatoons. In the States, they are called June berries. Ice cream sandwiches are always a win! Bernie

      2. Nigella Eats Everything Avatar

        June berries is a lovely name! I wish we had such a range of berries in the UK!

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