Ice cream sandwiches are as much a part of summer as rain is to spring and bicycles to childhood.
These classic hot-weather treats remind me of drinking from the hose, piles of bikes discarded in front yards, sitting on the front porch, and licking the sticky, sweet chocolate cake from my fingertips, while creamy vanilla ice cream melts down my wrist.
Ice cream sandwiches are an easy-to-make quintessential summer treat. Be the hero of your neighborhood block party, and bring them out to enjoy while the kids chase fireflies and the adults revel in nostalgia.
WHAT IS AN ICE CREAM SANDWICH?
There’s no denying this is a simple dessert: a block of vanilla ice cream, sandwiched between two layers of soft, chocolatey cake.
For this recipe, I made a thin brownie base to use as the chocolate cake layers, and stayed with traditional vanilla ice cream, but feel free to mix it up. Strawberry ice cream, mint chip, caramel, or almost any flavor in between would be delicious. What doesn’t pair well with a brownie?
Once frozen, the brownie remains soft enough to bite through without the ice cream squishing out on the sides—this is an ice cream sandwich requirement in my book. If you want the sandwich even softer, let it sit out for about a minute. Of course, if you’re hitting triple digits outside, 30 seconds might be enough.
VIDEO! How to Make Ice Cream Sandwiches
This video is part of our Simply Kids Cook YouTube series. Head over there to see more videos in the series.
HOW TO MAKE THE BROWNIES
I wanted this to be pretty simple and straightforward. Use a jelly roll pan (a baking sheet with sides) lined with parchment paper. Spread a thin layer of brownie batter over the parchment, and bake! When the brownies cool, trim and cut them to size.
WHAT’S THE BEST ICE CREAM FOR ICE CREAM SANDWICHES?
The key is to soften the ice cream in an stand mixer or with a hand mixer so its easy to spread on the brownie base, then top it with the other half of the brownie base—after which, you freeze and cut it into individual sandwiches. The edges may not be perfectly clean, but it’s an ice cream sandwich. No one really cares.
If you’re using homemade ice cream for this sandwich recipe, you don’t need to worry about the softening it in the mixer. Freshly made homemade ice cream has the same texture of soft serve when it’s fresh from the ice cream maker .
If you’re using store-bought ice cream, which is used for this version, I would keep a few things in mind.
- High-end ice cream melts faster than its less expensive counterparts. It has fewer commercial stabilizers in it. If you go with a top-notch brand, you may not need to beat it in the the mixer quite as long.
WHAT’S THE BEST PAN SIZE TO USE?
Okay! If there’s one part that may be a bit tricky, it’s probably pan size. Jelly roll pans come in various shapes and sizes. I used a 16×11-inch pan. It worked great.
Your pan might be slightly larger or smaller. An 15×11-inch pan would be perfect. If your pan is much smaller, I would divide the batter in half among two pans, or do it in batches. If your pan is much larger, I would make a fake side by folding aluminum foil and placing it in the pan so the inside of the pan measures 16×11 or 15×11. Don’t worry about a fraction of an inch here or there. We don’t have to be too precious about this.
I did try baking these in a 9×13-inch cake pan, but the brownie was just too thick. Stick with the jelly roll pan.
JAZZ UP YOUR ICE CREAM SANDWICHES
If the basic chocolate and vanilla combo isn’t spectacular enough for your freak flag side, or you’re looking for a way to include the kids, break out some sprinkles, sanding sugar, mini chocolate chips, and nuts. Press the sides of the ice cream into any of the above, wrap, and freeze.
TRY THESE ICE CREAM RECIPES
- Coffee and Heath Bars
- Classic French Vanilla
- Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream
- Strawberry Ice Cream
- Peppermint Ice Cream