I’m not one of those year-long ice cream fanatics. I have friends who will happily head for a scoop in the middle of fall, or stock up on pints in the dead of winter. But for me, it’s a seasonal choice, almost as much as ripe summer stone fruit is. So when summer comes, I jump on the frozen desserts bandwagon, and fast. I don’t handle heat…delicately, shall we say? So any excuse for a treat that will simultaneously conquer my sweet tooth and cool me down is a surefire winner.
I’m particularly fond of ice cream sandwiches. I get plenty of ice cream, plus a little texture in the form of some delightful cookie. They’re easy to make, transport, and eat—but not all ice cream sandwiches are created equal. Much like the your personal corn-eating method, way you take your coffee, or the preferred doneness of your steak, your ice cream sandwich preference says a lot about who you are.
After testing (and tasting) multiple combos, I’ve discovered my sandwich of choice. It took a few tries—I had a true goal to achieve ice cream sandwich perfection, and I took my job entirely too seriously.
But, before I share mine, let's find your ice cream sandwich personality first.
Soft Cookie: This is the most classic of ice cream sandwich combinations—a thin, soft cookie that’s easy to bite through, with plenty of ice cream inside. The ratio here is pretty important: the cookie is quite thin, and the ice cream layer is noticeably thick. This is a sandwich for those who are nostalgic, and are most in love with the timeless ice cream sandwiches of their youth. You’re all about keeping it simple and embracing the classics, and your summer treat of choice is no exception. One bite will rocket you back to your memories of camp, or running through the sprinklers ‘til dark.
Make Your Own: Try your hand at making this recipe from scratch, or use store-bought graham crackers or chocolate wafer cookies. Be sure to let the wafer cookie sandwiches sit for at least 4 hours—this helps the cookies absorb the moisture from the ice cream and soften.
Chewy Cookie: This is the ice cream sandwich for those who are thinking about the cookie first, and the ice cream second. It’s the cookie lover’s ice cream sandwich! You’re a softie: a nice guy or gal, and your favorite ice cream sandwich is too. To achieve perfect chewy cookie sandwich success, you must start with a cookie that will stay chewy, even when thoroughly chilled. Usually, chewy cookies are a bit on the thicker side, so there’s also slightly less ice cream to cookie with these sandwiches.
Make Your Own: Try my favorite chewy oatmeal cookies. They stay nicely toothsome even when frozen!
The Tough Cookie
Crispy Cookie: This is for the texture-lover, who wants a side of crunch along with their dreamy, creamy ice cream. Connoisseurs of this type of sandwich aren’t easy to please: Everything must be just right to achieve perfect sandwich success. It’s important for crispy cookies to be quite thin, or else they’ll create the number one ice cream sandwich faux-pas—oozing ice cream from the sides when you bite it. Done correctly, this can be one of the more elegant ice cream sandwiches: a thin layer of cookie (like the most classic), but maintaining a crisp texture for a more varied overall sandwich experience.
Make Your Own: If you’re an oatmeal cookie lover like me, these cookies may win you over. For an even quicker fix, I turn to Tate’s Crispy Cookies in any flavor (the limited edition Oranges and Cream Cookies are perfect ice cream sandwich vessels!).
Bar Cookie: A choice for those who like to take the ice cream sandwich road less traveled. This combo swaps out the traditional ice cream to cookie ratio almost entirely: plenty of cookie to a smaller amount of ice cream. I find this is best with richer, denser ice creams. The sturdier cookie can also easily stand up to an ice cream with lots of inclusions, like cookie dough or chocolate chunks. Basically, if you like a lot of stuff going on, this may be the sandwich for you. And, if you’re a true overachiever, you could even try adding multiple layers of ice cream, or even mixing up the cookies themselves (one-half blondie, one-half brownie, with plenty of ice cream in between)!
Make Your Own: Any of your favorite bar cookie recipes will work here, but these Genius Blondies are where it’s at for me. I skipped adding any inclusions to keep the bar nice and soft when you bite into it - but if this is the sandwich for you, part of the beauty is loading it up with anything your heart desires!
Ice Cream Taco: The choice of ice cream sandwich mavericks. You’re full of crazy ideas and aren’t afraid to be bold, and the frozen treats you opt for are just one example. A good ice cream taco starts with a crisp cookie (think really thin, like pizzelle or tuile) that softens slightly as it absorbs moisture from the ice cream, but maintains a bit of crunch. Encasing the cookie on the base and two sides means you can add plenty of ice cream, even layering multiple flavors to create a truly extravagant sandwich alternative. In short, the wackier the better for this sandwich.
After dozens of taste tests, I’m a self-declared softie and proud of it. I even developed a version of a favorite cookie recipe specifically to make ice cream sandwiches with!
What’s your preferred ice cream sandwich? Be sure to tell us in the comments!