Cooking From Every Angle

Mary's Healthy Ice Cream Sandwiches

By • September 7, 2012 • 33 Comments

Mary's Healthy Ice Cream Sandwich

Every summer for the second half of August, my husband Tad's family decamps to a house in Wainscott, New York, that they've owned for 99 years. The big old house, which survived the 1938 hurricane, tolerates our wear and tear and seems to get more handsome by the year.

Our kids and their cousins spend their days going to the beach, catching crabs in the pond, playing tennis and soccer and flashlight tag, and then all collapsing into sleep in a pitched-ceiling room on the third floor, known as “The Crow’s Nest.” The parents, meanwhile, spend their days scrambling after the kids, sneaking in a little reading and tennis, and doing a lot of shopping and cooking.

Dinners are divided up so that each night just one person is in charge of the dinner for 12, giving everyone else a chance to relax a bit. On my cooking days, I tend to buy up as many tomatoes and ears of corn as possible from the farmstand, and head to The Seafood Shop for the main course.

On one of my nights this year, I made the Raspberry Ice Cream Sandwiches for dessert -– which were not only a Wildcard winner on the site, but a wild success among Tad’s family. While we devoured them, my father-in-law’s girlfriend, Mary -- yep, you can still have a girlfriend at age 81 -- told me about a favorite evening snack. She toasts two slices of whole wheat bread, and, while the bread’s still warm, smushes a scoop of chocolate ice cream between the slices. Et voila, an instant ice cream sandwich that's the rag-tag cousin of pain au chocolat.

Mary insists the whole wheat bread makes it healthy. I like Mary.

I made her ice cream sandwiches for my next dinner. Everyone watched skeptically as I loaded up toasts with chocolate ice cream and passed them around the table. I didn’t pull it off quite right -– I used a multi-grain baguette that was a bit too “multi” and baguette slices just aren’t cushy enough.

But back in Brooklyn, I got it right.

Slicing the bread Cookie cutter time

I used a loaf of soft and nutty sandwich bread and used a cookie cutter to make circles.

Cutting circles Making toast!

The circles, once toasted, should be crisp but fluffy. You want them to work as a buffer for the ice cream.

Scooping the ice cream A nice round scoop

I made the roundest scoops of ice cream in my power, and topped the sandwich with another warm toast cap. Then I smushed.

Time for smushing Smush! Smush!

And smushed. And smushed it down. Until the ice cream spread to the edge of the toast. These two little beauties look like they're posing, don't they? Wouldn't you?

There's no need to tweak this simple treat but, if you must, try adding flaky salt, or a warm, toasted marshmallow, or some hazelnut butter, slathered on the toast.

Your healthy dessert is ready!

But wait -- we're not done yet! Remember the bread with the cut-out circle? No need to waste it -- this is a twofer, a recipe that would make Tamar Adler proud. Eat your ice cream sandwiches, and in the morning use the bread frames for Toad in a Hole or Merrill's One-Eyed Sandwiches.

Breakfast!

Mary's Healthy Ice Cream Sandwiches

Serves 4 (or many)

  • 8 slices of your favorite whole wheat bread
  • 4 large scoops of your favorite chocolate ice cream

See the recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom

Jump to Comments (33)

Tags: midnight snack, afternoon snack, mid-afternoon snack, seasonally non-committal

Comments (33)

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almost 2 years ago Sf2oak

That's not are recipe!

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almost 2 years ago alice_kim

Agree with you - not a recipe, but a how-to/idea..

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almost 2 years ago Arizona Chef

And your point is?

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almost 2 years ago BlackDove

I love your toaster in the tutorial! Please tell me what brand it is. I will be making these as soon as I get a new toaster that works. Yum!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

It's made by Alessi: http://www.amazon.com/Alessi...

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almost 2 years ago phyllis

Perfect snack/dessert treat. Unfortunately, really unfortunately, I can't eat ice cream, but I will prepare for the rest of the family and have mine with a little frozen yogurt. I don't know why I never thought of this. Thank you Mary and Amanda!!!

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about 2 years ago bk_novice

yum! made these for dessert tonight and cut the bread with a heart-shaped cookie cutter. question: do they qualify as super healthy because the chocolate ice cream we used was organic ;-)?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Absolutely. Super-duper healthy if the ice cream is made locally.

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about 2 years ago bk_novice

it is!--blue marble ice cream in brooklyn. YUM!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks for the many great comments -- will have to try the brioche version!

Mcs

about 2 years ago mcs3000

Love this story. I this recipe falls in the Genius category = ice cream sandwiches + toad in the hole. Right, @miglorious?

Miglore

about 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Right! Between this and those Brown Butter Tomatoes, Amanda's really stepping on my beat!

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about 2 years ago phoebe144

really really love this and the story takes it over the top! Could be my favorite post/story on the site.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Nice to hear this -- thank you.

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about 2 years ago bakerhat

This recipe is so simple and sounds so delicious! I will be making it soon.

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about 2 years ago EmilyC

I never in a million years would have thought to do this, but the more I think about it, the more I like it! Thinking a cinnamon toast version could be fun with either chocolate or vanilla. Thanks for sharing the idea!

Grace_marian_astra_madeline_myrtle_jean_in_new_jersey

about 2 years ago TXExpatInBKK

I thought cinammon toast as well! Yummmm.

Grace_marian_astra_madeline_myrtle_jean_in_new_jersey

about 2 years ago TXExpatInBKK

*cinnamon*

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almost 2 years ago eatquestnyc

cinnamon toast just took this over the edge for me. the whole thing is brilliant! cannot wait.

Farmer's_market

about 2 years ago amysarah

This reminds me of the gelato served on a split brioche-type roll in Italy. (I think it may originate in Sicily, but I actually ate my first one way north in Camogli.) Standing up at a caffe bar, drinking an espresso and eating ice cream at 8 am - it may not qualify as a healthy breakfast, but I can assure you it did wonders for my mental health.

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about 2 years ago Cinnamin

Meechiko, your Fillippino version sounds yummy! Healthy, healthier, slightly-less-healthy.... well, it doesn't make a difference to me, this is a sweet treat everyone can enjoy and which can be done in a jiffy!

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about 2 years ago torvum

Is chocolate ice cream healthy? Most would say "no". So how does adding 2 pieces of bread to it transmogrify it into having that status? Some kind of alchemy going on here.

But seriously, I think the qualifier here should have been "healthier" and not "healthy". Even if it was, I'd still take offense because a lot of whole wheat bread is loaded with sugar, and when compared to the thin chocolate cookies you often get on either side of an ice cream sandwich it actually has more (not less) sugar AND calories. Healthier? Maybe not.

Let's not sacrifice reality for the sake of a catchy title - whaddya say?

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about 2 years ago istva

Torvum, you are absolutely incorrect. I have no idea where you've got your information. Whole wheat breads are not 'loaded with sugar', the majority of them have around 3-4g of sugar, sometimes even much less (like Nature's Own, which has less than 1g). Most ice cream sandwiches use a wafer like outside, which can range in 10-20g alone, just in the sandwich bread itself. Please do research next time instead of jumping the gun.

Too bad your condescending attitude can't back-up your intelligence.

Sausage2

about 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

It is true that there's wide variation in how much sugar, calories, etc. are in whole wheat bread. But, apart from that, you may want to consider the possibility that the name is tongue in cheek. As far as I could tell from the way Amanda told her story, that is what was intended, and I know I certainly meant to have a joking tone when I replied that these sandwiches were healthy for sure.

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about 2 years ago torvum

@istva: First of all, you assume that I'm from where you live, which if I'm guessing correctly, is America. There's plenty of whole wheat bread where I'm from that has sugar, or honey, or other sucrose-containing additives, like molasses for instance. There's nothing about "whole wheat" bread that is intrinsically healthy. I could stud my whole wheat bread with M&M's and it would still be called "whole wheat bread".

@fiveandspice" And yes, it's undoubtedly a tongue-in-cheek usage of "healthy", but that isn't very helpful for those of us that are trying to find actually healthy recipes on food52. In fact, it's misleading and mildly frustrating. At best the joke is dimly amusing; at worst it could give someone genuinely looking for "healthy" recipes the wrong impression

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

@torvum, we love to welcome new members of Food52, but it's difficult to embrace your comments. I trust that you (and most readers) know what you're getting into when eating an ice cream sandwich, no matter what kind of bread you're using. It's a dessert, and it contains fat and sugar. Disrespectful comments don't enrich the community and they don't build relationships -- two of the vital things we do here. We welcome your participation on the site, but please keep in mind that we count on our members to be polite and generous, even in disagreement.

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about 2 years ago cookbookchick

A charming two-fer for the kids, and the kids in all of us. Thanks, Amanda and Mary!

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about 2 years ago Victoria Carr

No doubt about it - this looks delicious. I made a Viana LaPlace recipe from the book Desserts and Sweet Snacks, which is a piece of beautiful bread (like Jim Lahey's No-Knead), untoasted, spread with lemon marmalade and topped with best quality - I hope your own - vanilla ice cream. An open-face ice cream sandwich. Scrumptious.

Sausage2

about 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

This is so great! Healthy for sure. I definitely have to give this a try. I feel like there are places where it's common to eat ice cream sandwiches made by putting ice cream into a brioche roll as well, though I can't remember where that is, now.

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about 2 years ago Victoria Carr

I haven't experienced it myself, but I think it's Italy.

Sausage2

about 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I think you're right.

Grace_marian_astra_madeline_myrtle_jean_in_new_jersey

about 2 years ago TXExpatInBKK

In Thailand they put it in a hotdog bun! Makes me giggle every time I see it.

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about 2 years ago meechiko

I love it. My mom tells me that that they used to eat ice cream "sandwiches" in the Philippines by smushing ice cream between two slices of white (untoasted) bread. I used to think she was nuts. I guess she's not as crazy as I thought.