Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches

Every week, a DIY expert spares us a trip to the grocery store and shows us how to make small batches of great foods at home.

This week, Kris Hoogerhyde and Anne Walker of San Francisco's Bi-Rite Creamery share some of their tricks for making ice cream sandwiches at home. Kris and Anne are the co-authors of Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones: 90 Recipes for Making Your Own Ice Cream and Frozen Treats from Bi-Rite Creamery.


It’s always fun to treat yourself to an ice cream sandwich, but it’s really a celebration when you use fresh baked cookies and ice cream made at home! We feel like kids again sitting on the back steps, ice cream sandwiches in hand -- no utensils needed!

To us, the perfect ice cream sandwich is one with great textural contrast and complementary flavors. Our Malted Vanilla Ice Cream with Peanut Brittle and Chocolate is perfect between two of our Sweet-and-Salty Peanut Cookies. We love the way the shortbread-like texture of the cookie pairs with the crunchy bits of peanut brittle and chunks of chocolate in the ice cream.

We like to put our ice cream sandwiches together ahead of time and keep them in the freezer for a few hours. There are a couple reasons to do this: first, so that the ice cream regains its firmness and doesn’t squish out the sides of the sandwich when bitten into, and second, so that the cookies and the ice cream meld slightly and become a bit more cohesive.

It's important to choose a cookie that will hold up well once it’s been sandwiched with the ice cream and kept in the freezer. Some of our favorite cookie/ice cream combinations are: Coconut Macaroons with Chocolate Ice Cream, Lemon Gingersnaps with Ginger or Meyer Lemon Ice Cream, and Dark Chocolate Cookies with Mint Chip Ice Cream. Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream with Sugar Cookies is a flavor we always make during the summer months. With an intense berry flavor from the ice cream and a sweet chewiness from the cookies, it’s like strawberry shortcake in frozen form. But once in a while, we like pairing the Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Cookies for something slightly more unpredictable.

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Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart

For the strawberry purée:

1 1/2 pints strawberries (3 cups), preferably organic, hulled and halved or quartered
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

For the base:

5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup 1% or 2% milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Cook the berries:

1. Combine the berries with the 2 1⁄2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons vinegar in a large nonreactive skillet. Put the skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring
frequently, until the strawberries are soft and the liquid they release has reduced somewhat, 6 to 8 minutes.
2. Let cool slightly, then transfer the berries and their juice to a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the base:

3. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks just to break them up, then whisk in half of sugar (1⁄4 cup). Set aside.
4. In a heavy nonreactive saucepan, stir together the cream, milk, salt, and the remaining sugar (1⁄4 cup) and put the pan over medium-high heat. When the mixture
approaches a bare simmer, reduce the heat to medium.
5. Carefully scoop out about 1⁄2 cup of the hot cream mixture and, whisking the eggs constantly, add the cream to the bowl with the egg yolks. Repeat, adding another 1⁄2 cup of the hot cream to the bowl with the yolks. Using a heatproof rubber spatula, stir the cream in the saucepan as you slowly pour the egg-and-cream mixture from the bowl into the pan.
6. Cook the mixture carefully over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is thickened, coats the back of a spatula, and holds a clear path when you run your finger across the spatula, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
7. Strain the base through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container. Set the container into an ice-water bath, wash your spatula, and use it to stir the base occasionally until it is cool. Remove from the ice-water bath, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate the base for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Freeze the ice cream:

8. Whisk the strawberry purée and the remaining 2 teaspoons vinegar into the chilled base.
9. Freeze in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is churning, put the container you’ll use to store the ice cream into the freezer. Enjoy right away or, for a firmer ice cream, transfer to the chilled container and freeze for at least 4 hours.

Dark Chocolate Cookies
Makes about 50 cookies

2 2/3 cups (12 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
8 ounces (2 cups) Dutch-processed cocoa powder, measured then sifted
4 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (15 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
3 large eggs

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and both sugars. Mix on medium-high speed until lightened in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and, with the motor running, add the eggs one at a time, completely mixing in each egg before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the flour mixture, and mix on low speed just until the dough comes together, about 30 seconds.
3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill until the dough is firm, at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
4. When you’re ready to bake, position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick mats.
Scoop up 2 tablespoons of dough (we use a 1-ounce ice cream scoop) and form the dough into a ball. Repeat until all the dough has been shaped. Place the balls 2 1⁄2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Flatten the balls slightly with the palm of your hand so that they’re about 1⁄2 inch thick.
5. Bake for 5 minutes, and then rotate the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continued to bake until the cookies are slightly cracked on the surface and feel dry and slightly firm in the center, 5 to 6 minutes longer. (If they feel airy, like a soufflé, they’re not ready.) Let cool for a minute on the baking sheets, then transfer to a rack. Bake the remaining dough balls. Let cool completely and then store in an airtight container.

Tip: Sometimes having 50 cookies in your kitchen is more temptation than you want at one time! If that’s the case for you, try what we do when making cookies at home: After mixing the cookie dough, shape the dough into balls and line them up snugly on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Freeze until solid (about an hour), then transfer to a zip-top storage bag and store in the freezer. They last for weeks this way, and you can bake as many or as few as you like at a moment’s notice. When you’re ready to bake, arrange the dough balls on the baking sheet and let them sit at room temperature to thaw slightly before putting them in the oven. This method will work for any of the cookies in this book.

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches
Adapted from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones

For the crispiest cookies and brightest flavors, assemble the ice cream sandwiches the same day you plan to eat them. You can assemble these up to one week ahead of time, but the cookies will soften and the flavors will mellow the longer that the sandwiches are stored.

To prepare the ice cream, put it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to let it soften slightly. (Set a timer!)

Get the cookies ready, arranging half of them upside down on a baking sheet.

At Bi-Rite Creamery we use silicone molds to create perfectly round “pucks” of ice cream for ice cream sandwiches, though you can get a similarly uniform shape by using a 1/2 cup dry measuring cup as a mold for the ice cream. Or, you can get a more handmade look by simply scooping a large scoop of ice cream onto a cookie, sandwiching it with a second cookie, and pressing on the cookies slightly.

Freeze the sandwiches, putting the baking sheet in the freezer to let them harden for at least two hours. If you’re storing the sandwiches for longer than one day, transfer the hardened sandwiches to zip-top freezer bags, being sure to squeeze out any excess air before sealing.

Save and print the recipe here.

Kris and Anne will be answering questions about these ice cream sandwiches on the Hotline for those of you who will be giving them a go. For the quickest response, go to the recipe and ask a question from there -- we'll email Kris and Anne your question right away!

Next week, Adrianna Adarme guides us through making crème fraîche at home. Get your hands on some good heavy cream, and start planning some French-inspired summer meals.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Andrea Meehan
    Andrea Meehan
  • peggyg
  • mcs3000
  • Sadassa_Ulna
  • Lizthechef
We're the owners of San Francisco's Bi-Rite Creamery, where we make ice cream, soft serve and baked goods in small batches to taste like the stuff we grew up with. Early on, we became obsessed with making the most intensely flavored ice cream possible; we felt that all too often, ice cream didn’t taste enough of whatever it was supposed to be. We believed that lemon ice cream should be really lemony, butter pecan should taste like butter and pecans, and chocolate should be intensely chocolatey. We strive to create unique and delicious flavors with local, handmade and organic ingredients in a responsible and sustainable way. In April, we published our first cookbook, Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones (Ten Speed Press).


Andrea M. January 9, 2017
I made these instead of a cake for my thirtieth. I made about forty giant sandwiches with a double recipe. So delicious, and so much fun. Thank you for the recipe.
peggyg August 9, 2015
I did not try the cookies, but the ice cream is awesome! After making the strawberry puree, I decided it wasn't quite sweet enough for my taste. I just stirred in a little more sugar to taste. It was so refreshing and delicious. I will definitely make again, and try the cookies, too.
mcs3000 June 18, 2012
YES! LOVE Bi-Rite. My fave flavor there is strawberry balsamic.
Sadassa_Ulna June 15, 2012
I love how dark those cookies are, they look delicious, as does the ice cream! Mmmm thank you for sharing your recipes.
Lizthechef June 15, 2012
I would go back on my knees to Bi-Rite from San Diego for more of your salted caramel ice cream!
Anna H. June 16, 2012
The recipe is in their book!