There’s no question that ice cream sandwiches are delicious all year-round (who would say no to a snickerdoodle and pumpkin ice cream sandwich in November?), but in summer, they truly are the perfect dessert.
Why? Well, there’s the obvious: they’re cold. Cooling off on a hot day just by indulging in ice cream that’s nestled between two cookies is pretty hard to beat. Beyond that, they’re make-ahead. You can prepare both the cookies and the ice cream early in the day (or even days in advance) before temperatures rise. Store the baked cookies in the freezer so that they’ll be ready to go when it’s time to assemble dessert. Once made, ice cream sandwiches will hold up well for up to three days—or longer—in the freezer. (If you prefer a softer treat, time is on your side; the cookies soften when stored for several days or more, making the sandwiches a little easier to eat without the ice cream squishing out.)
Another plus: the ice cream component is easy to prepare. I start with classic vanilla ice cream because it’s easily transformed into flavors that complement the cookie part of the sandwiches. Adaptation is as easy as mixing in espresso powder, or orange zest, or a quick-cooking peach jam. I like to make my own vanilla with a rich egg-yolk base, but if you’re short on time, buy a super-premium vanilla (such as Häagen-Dazs, Ben & Jerry’s, or something from your favorite local ice cream shop).
Another argument for the perfection of ice cream sandwiches: they’re incredibly versatile. While the classic vanilla ice cream sandwiched between soft chocolate wafers certainly has its place, there’s no reason to stop there. Maybe that fudgy chocolate cookie can hold toasted coconut ice cream and feature a crunchy coconut coating. how about ginger cookies holding ice cream marbled with mashed raspberries? Perhaps you’d prefer brown sugar cookies sandwiching espresso ice cream, or an almond butter-chocolate chip cookie with orange ice cream and crunchy cacao nibs. Or you could try something novel, a blueberry muffin halved and filled with fresh peach ice cream.
As a sweet tooth, I have one more reason for finding these treats perfect. They’re actually two desserts in one: luscious ice cream and flavorful cookies. (In fact, for most of these recipes, you may have cookies or ice cream left over. I assure you that is not a bad thing.) This summer, make the most of the season with your own ice cream sandwiches. They’re the coolest dessert around.