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Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Sandwiches

Old-fashioned ice cream sandwiches. The uniform pattern of holes. The chocolate cookie remnants stuck to your fingers. Ice cream oozing out between the cookies. The plain paper wrapper. They’re as iconic as the milk man. (Incidentally, we actually did have a milk man when I was young. There was a metal bin outside the door and everything!) The classic ice cream sandwich wasn’t always the first thing on my wish list when the ice cream truck came jingling and jangling down the street – there were so many other flashy options, like the push-up, the drumstick, and the firecracker popsicle! Kids are drawn to bells and whistles, no doubt. However, the ice cream truck wasn’t always an option. What was always an option, though, was anything and everything in my grandma’s freezer. She kept a steady supply of ice cream sandwiches and Klondike bars for when we needed a quick frozen fix. Now that I’m older, two amazingly rich and chocolatey cookies sandwiching vanilla ice cream sounds about as good as it gets. You know what’s even better? Homemade chocolate cookies and freshly churned vanilla bean ice cream. These are 100% homemade, and a perfect imitation of the classic ice cream sandwich, only a million times better.

For the past couple of summers, I have gone absolutely hog-wild churning up batch after batch of homemade ice cream. From classics like vanilla and chocolate, to fun flavors like salted caramel, tin roof, and Guinness-milk chocolate, I’ve run the gamut. I’m still planning on making my fair share (and then some) of ice cream this summer, but I’m also planning to try my hand at recreating some of my favorite frozen treats. Ice cream is great, but there are a whole host of other frozen desserts that we’ve all enjoyed as kids (and adults!) that could use a homemade makeover. I kicked off my endeavor earlier this spring when I made homemade fudge pops. I couldn’t believe the difference in flavor – they were so much richer and more flavorful than their store-bought counterparts. I knew then that I had a mission this summer.

These ice cream sandwiches are not at all difficult to make, but do require a little planning ahead. It’s important that everything be as cold as possible before you begin assembling them and that you work quickly. As I mentioned, I used homemade vanilla ice cream here, but you could just as easily use your favorite store-bought brand. Once you take a bite of these, you won’t ever want to reach for one from a box again!

What are some of your favorite frozen treats?

One year ago: Blueberry Muffins

Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Sandwiches

Yield: 8 to 10 ice cream sandwiches

Prep Time: 12 hours

Cook Time: 7 to 8 minutes

Total Time: 1 day

Ingredients:

For the Filling:
1 quart vanilla ice cream (homemade or store-bought)

For the Cookies:
½ cup vegetable shortening
1¼ cups light brown sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided

Directions:

1. Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with foil, allowing excess to hang over the edges.

2. If you're using homemade ice cream, immediately after churning, spread the ice cream into the prepared pan. If using store-bought ice cream, soften it slightly and then spread it into the prepared pan. Freeze overnight.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

4. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the shortening and the brown sugar with an electric mixer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, espresso powder and vanilla. Mix until incorporated. Mix in 1 cup of the flour, followed by 2 tablespoons of water, and then add the remaining 1 cup flour and another 2 tablespoons of water, mixing well until no dry ingredients remain (give it some time, up to 5 minutes of mixing). The dough should be soft and pliable but not sticky; if necessary, add more water, a teaspoon at a time, until the dough comes together.

5. Turn out half the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll to an even 1/8-inch to ¼-inch thickness. Cut the dough into 2x4-inch rectangles (you could also cut into squares, or use a cookie cutter to make circles).

6. Transfer the cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using a skewer (or the tip of a thermometer - works awesome!), poke a pattern of holes on each cookie's surface. Roll out, cut, and poke remaining dough, rerolling the scraps as you work. Place the sheets of cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking.

7. Bake 7 to 8 minutes, or until the cookies are just set. Do not overbake.

8. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool 2 to 3 minutes on a baking sheet. Transfer to cooling racks and cool to room temperature. Freeze cookies for at least 1 hour before assembling the sandwiches.

9. To assemble the sandwiches, have everything ready and work quickly! Match up cookies of the same size and have them laid out and ready for the ice cream. Use the edges of the foil to lift the block of firm ice cream from the baking pan and place it on a cutting board. Working quickly, cut the ice cream into 2x4-inch rectangles (you'll have a little ice cream left over). Using a narrow stainless steel spatula, place a rectangle between two chilled cookies and press the cookies lightly to adhere. (I found it easiest to do this one at a time. Cut one or two rectangles, assemble those cookies and place on a tray, then do one or two more, etc. until you're finished.) Return the sandwiches to the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container or zip-top plastic bag in the freezer.

(Cookie recipe adapted from The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook)

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75 Responses to “Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Sandwiches”

  1. Tracey on May 31, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Wow, these are beyond perfect!! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been tempted to pick up a box of ice cream sandwiches recently. I definitely think I need to make these instead, I know they’ll blow the store-bought out of the water!

    Reply

    • Andrea on June 2nd, 2012 at 1:39 pm

      Wow, these looks so delicious!!
      You think it would be possible to substitute the vegetable shortening with butter?
      Love your blog by the way :)

      Reply

      • Michelle on June 4th, 2012 at 9:55 pm

        Hi Andrea, Thank you! In many recipes, you can easily substitute butter for shortening, but I would caution against doing so in this recipe. The shortening is the key to keeping the cookies soft, even when frozen.

        Reply

  2. Barbara on May 31, 2012 at 12:24 am

    And me with a broken ice cream maker…. oh amazon when will you deliver? I love that you are making all my favorite foods available sans ingredients I can’t pronounce.

    Reply

  3. Jaclyns Cookies on May 31, 2012 at 12:26 am

    I ate these soo much growing up! Can’t wait to make them myself!

    Reply

  4. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on May 31, 2012 at 12:26 am

    These pictures are amazing! So cool that you tackled homemade ice cream sandwiches. p.s. I loved those firecracker popsicles when I was little :)

    Reply

  5. Karen on May 31, 2012 at 12:46 am

    Can you leave out or substitute the instant espresso powder. Not sure but it sounds like coffee and no one in my family will touch coffee. So hate to buy this powder and use such little amount.
    By the way I love your blogs.
    Karen

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 31st, 2012 at 9:55 am

      Hi Karen, Espresso powder is actually used in many chocolate recipe like cake, brownies, and sometimes cookies. It typically does not cause the resulting baked good to taste like coffee, but rather makes the chocolate flavor even deeper. However, you could definitely omit it if you’d like, you wouldn’t need to substitute anything for it.

      Reply

  6. Averie @ Averie Cooks on May 31, 2012 at 1:23 am

    I saw those in Lindsay’s book (and the cover) and I have been pining away ever since! YUM!

    Reply

  7. bells-bakery on May 31, 2012 at 6:37 am

    We call the icebergers here in Ireland,had one the other day but never dreamed of making my own! I love to make homemade ice-cream so these are a must!

    shirley x

    Reply

  8. Jessica @ Portuguese Girl Cooks on May 31, 2012 at 7:21 am

    These look beyond amazing, and better than anything you could buy in the store. Great photos too!

    Reply

  9. Katrina on May 31, 2012 at 7:23 am

    I looove the sound of these! Ice cream sandwiches are unbeatable!

    Reply

  10. Sandra on May 31, 2012 at 7:29 am

    I would love to surprise my family with these for July 4th. They look so yummy!

    Reply

  11. Kristy on May 31, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Oh yum, this really takes me back to my childhood! It’s been years since I’ve had a good old-fashioned ice cream sandwich. Delicious!

    Check out my blog, I’m blogging every day in June!
    just-another-day2.blogspot.ca

    Reply

  12. shawn @ I Wash...You Dry on May 31, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I used to not like ice cream sandwiches, then I realized that was dumb, and now I love them. These look so tasty! Great pics!

    Reply

  13. Annamaria @ bakewelljunction.wordpress.com on May 31, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Wow! These look great. I’ll bet they’ll be good with Breyers French Vanilla or Breyers Oreo Cookies and Cream. I’ll have to try them.

    Reply

  14. Catalina @ Cake with Love on May 31, 2012 at 9:29 am

    There is nothing better than an old fashion ice cream sandwich during these hot days! Your look perfect!

    Reply

  15. Ken G. on May 31, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I’m from the bay area, so It’s-It ice cream treats are IT!!!

    Reply

  16. Meghan @ After the Ivy League on May 31, 2012 at 9:54 am

    These look delicious! I wish I had some in my freezer right now.

    My favorite frozen treat was (and is) the Snickers ice cream bars….ohmygod. If my mom ever bought a box when I was a kid…gone. In minutes. So good!

    Reply

  17. Paula on May 31, 2012 at 9:56 am

    I love that you made your own ice-cream sandwiches. I used to eat these often as a treat when I was younger…never home-made though. They look perfect and I’m sure will knock the store bought ones right out of the park.

    Reply

  18. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Pepper on May 31, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Fantstatic recipe! Looks yummy! I love ice cream bars! My favorite childhood ice cream treat were the pop ups! I love the pschedeilic (sorry for spelling) look of them with the pink, blue and green circles!

    Reply

  19. Cassie on May 31, 2012 at 10:13 am

    These are so nostalgic to me, Michelle. Could not love this post more!

    Reply

  20. Lauren on May 31, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Ooooooh! Loving these :)

    Reply

  21. Jennifer on May 31, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I love ice cream sandwiches. They were always a staple in our house too when we were growing up. I love the idea of making them homemade, which is usually so much better.

    Reply

  22. Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables on May 31, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I agree! Ice cream sandwiches aren’t really what I usually think of first but they are so underrated!

    Reply

  23. Christy from Life of a Modern Housewife on May 31, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I want one of these right now, perfect for my post workout snack, don’t you think? These look so good. I love ice cream sandwiches. Saved this in my recipe file!

    http://www.lifeofamodernhousewife.com

    Reply

  24. katerina on May 31, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I will try it – looks yummy!
    xxxFiC.

    http://www.fashionicook.blogspot.com

    Reply

  25. Sues on May 31, 2012 at 10:57 am

    I love making ice cream sandwiches, but mine are never as pretty as these! They’re perfect! :)

    Reply

  26. Jessica@AKitchenAddiction on May 31, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Love these! I bet they taste so much better homemade!

    Reply

  27. MomWhatsForDinner on May 31, 2012 at 11:44 am

    These look great! I can’t wait to adapt them to gluten free!

    Reply

  28. Amy @ Gastronome Tart on May 31, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Old-Fashioned indeed! I absolutely loved these sandwiches growing up and making them would be so much better!

    Reply

  29. tisa on May 31, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    I love ice cream sandwiches, and yours look so good. I have to try these- thank you!

    Reply

  30. Aly on May 31, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I wonder if I can make these without shortening? Maybe butter instead? I love the way they look, and it sounds amazing!

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 31st, 2012 at 5:24 pm

      Hi Aly, I thought long and hard about that, but I felt that the butter would create too crisp of a cookie, that would get way, way too hard in the freezer. The shortening helps to keep the cookie soft and tender, even when frozen.

      Reply

  31. Mei-i @ gastronomic nomad on May 31, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Ooohh!! We’re on the same wave length and working on an ice cream sandwich for next week’s blog. This is so beautiful and elegant! Love the presentation. Congrats on top 9!

    Reply

  32. Musing Mar on May 31, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Oh my, these are things of beauty! Who doesn’t love an ice cream sandwich?

    Reply

  33. what katie's baking on May 31, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    i don’t ever want to buy ice cream sandwiches again!

    Reply

  34. Connie the Cookie Monster on May 31, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    when i start seeing ice cream sandwiches on food blogs, i know that summmer is just around the corner!

    i wonder if this recipe will work if i just spread cookie dough on a baking sheet and bake it as one whole sheet then spread ice cream on top of that. what i mean is, will it work if don’t cut the ice cream into rectangles first before using?

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 1st, 2012 at 12:12 am

      Hi Connie, Hmm, I suppose you could try it that way. You’d need to bake two sheets of cookies, though (one for the top and one for the bottom). I’m unsure of baking time since it would be increased for an entire sheet vs. individual cookies, and I think you would need more dough if you were to essentially bake two 9×13-inch sheets of cookies.

      Reply

  35. Emma, Food, Fork & Good on June 1, 2012 at 5:38 am

    amazing, I love the pictures. i can just imagine biting down onto one of these!

    Reply

  36. colleen @ Secrets fromthe Cookie Princess on June 1, 2012 at 8:10 am

    These look perfect, Michelle! And loads of love to all the Pittsburgh Grandma’s who always had ice cream sandwiches and Klondikes in the freezer “for the grandkids” (even though I know my Grandpap loved them too!)

    Reply

  37. Javelin Warrior on June 1, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Another amazing post for me to drool over… I’m featuring it in this week’s Food Fetish Friday series (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and as always I love following your creations… Thanks so much for sharing.

    Reply

  38. DB-The Foodie Stuntman on June 1, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    I might have to try these.

    Reply

  39. Lisa @ The Cooking Bride on June 1, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Definitely bookmarking this one. I love ice cream sandwiches and I would love to make my own since I’m trying to cut out as much processed food as I can.

    Reply

  40. Mariana on June 1, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    hello, your blog is amazing! I love ice cream sandwiches but unfortunately they are not sold in my country so I am always looking for a good recipe. I was wondering, when they are done, are the cookies soft, like the ones sold in the usa are they crunchy? Thanks

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 1st, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      Hi Mariana, The cookies are soft. That was one of the reasons I loved this recipe so much – the cookies stayed nice and soft, even when frozen!

      Reply

      • Mariana on June 10th, 2012 at 7:06 pm

        I tried them today and unfortunately they didn’t turn out soft, don’t know what I did wrong…the only thing I change was I used regular cocoa powder instead of dutch… :-(

        Reply

        • Michelle on June 10th, 2012 at 11:57 pm

          Hi Mariana, I’m sorry your cookies didn’t turn out soft. The two keys to ensuring they are soft cookies is that you don’t roll the dough too thin – make sure to measure when you roll. They will look thick, but they end up perfect. The second key is to absolutely not overbake them. Avoid this by making sure you check them on low side of the baking time, and to ensure that your oven isn’t running hot by using an oven thermometer.

          Reply

  41. Dezha on June 2, 2012 at 2:19 am

    omg, i had an ice cream sandwhich craving just today, i check your blog like i usually do and voi la, you have a home made recipe. michelle, i swear i love you, you always make my kitchen so interesting and tasty, never blah!

    Reply

  42. Jenna@littlekitchenbigflavors on June 2, 2012 at 11:49 am

    These looks soo perfect, what a nostalgic treat! Perfect for a summertime party. You’re right – once you make a homemade version of something, you’ll never want to go back to the “box”… pasta, yogurt, ice cream sandwiches. Homemade always tastes a million time better. Thanks for this recipe!

    Reply

  43. Tracy on June 2, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    I fully support your summer mission of recreating these delicious frozen treats, hehe! Love these!!

    Reply

  44. CJ @ Morsels of Life on June 3, 2012 at 9:49 am

    These ice cream sandwiches remind me of how long it’s been since I’ve had any! I think it’s about time to change that. :) Plus, your recipe and pix look great!

    Reply

  45. Jessi on June 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Every time the ice cream truck played it’s magical song, this was the treat I was running out of the house for. 50 cents were never better spent! I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks for posting!

    Reply

  46. Cindy's Recipes and Writings on June 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    This sounds perfect for the grandkids!

    Reply

  47. Peggy on June 4, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Oh my goodness, these sound diving!

    Reply

  48. moi on June 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    just a question, can i use normal unsweetened cocoa? what’s the difference between the dutch processed one?

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 5th, 2012 at 9:53 pm

      Hi Moi, In a pinch, you can use the unsweetened cocoa, but I would definitely recommend getting some Dutch-process to keep on hand if you make a lot of chocolate-based recipes. The Dutch-processed cocoa lends a much smoother, richer flavor to chocolate baked goods than the regular natural unsweetened.

      Reply

  49. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on June 6, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    These look fabulous!! I have wanted to try my own ice cream sandwiches for a while, but I was never quite sure how to go about getting the ice cream layer to be the right size for the cookies. I’ll have to play around with different flavors of homemade ice cream and give this a try!

    Reply

  50. Hair clip accessories on June 9, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Yummy!!! I will be trying these!!! thanks for sharing!!!!!

    Reply

  51. Thomas on June 19, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Actually we had a milkman too along with a breadman. That was until dad got the idea one of them was stalikng mom.

    Reply

  52. Ilan (IronWhisk Blog) on June 26, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    This looks so yummy!
    Gotta do it.

    Reply

  53. Tracy on August 16, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Have you travelled with these in a cooler? I am wondering how long they would last if they had to stay (prefrozen of course) in a cooler for a few hours?

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 18th, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      Hi Tracy, The farthest I have traveled with these (in a thermal cooler bag with a few ice packs) is about a half hour. They were just fine. I’m not sure about a few hours; if you were able to get it ice cold and fill it with ice packs, it could work.

      Reply

  54. Ruth on May 15, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    As usual, AWESOME! Anyway, I just saw the queries about butter. Good point about the shortening. What do you think about 7T of butter with 1T of vegetable oil? You think that might a worthy sub? I’m just too lazy to go out shopping again for some shortening. Thanks again!

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 15th, 2013 at 9:33 pm

      Hi Ruth, You can do that, but just know that the texture of the cookies will change, and they may spread more than they should by using the butter. Also, they will be more crispy then soft.

      Reply

      • Ruth on May 15th, 2013 at 10:43 pm

        I went ahead and made them. The cookies surprisingly did not spread. I had already expected this, from my previous experience with cookies. I had some gluten-free flour mix on hand and decided to use that with the xanthum gum (Don;t really know how they changed the texture). They were not exactly crispy, kind of soft… but I need to make your original recipe to see the true difference.

        Reply

  55. Aarica on May 18, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    I made these today, have yet to try them as i am letting them freeze. They were quite a lot of work, (I dont bake much) I tried some of the cookie before i froze them and it tastes really good. I only baked them for 5 mins. They turned out really good, they actually look almost as good as yours. I cant wait to taste them.,

    Reply

  56. Amanda on June 30, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Great photos! Need to try these ASAP.

    Reply

  57. Oro kompresoriai on July 23, 2013 at 9:12 am

    It’s a pity, we can’t to buy like those ice cream sandwiches in our country ;/ (I live in Lithuania). Thank you for a recipe, I will definitely try these. :)) By the way, are there any cafes in your country, where you can eat just this kind of ice cream and nothing else? :)

    Reply

  58. Amber on August 19, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    I bought Cup4Cup flour which is a gluten free flour blend that supposedly you can substitute for regular AP flour. It’s expensive and I’ve never used it before so I was wondering if you thought it would work well in this recipe.

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 22nd, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      Hi Amber, I am not at all familiar with gluten-free flour substitutes, so I unfortunately can’t give you a guarantee on how it would work in this recipe.

      Reply

  59. Liz on August 27, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Oh Michelle! I dont quite understand why but every I go to your site, I swear, I can feel my pants getting tighter. Krazy huh???
    Any way, I just wanted to let you know that i made your ice cream sandwiches and as expected (you never fail) they were so good that there is no word in the english language to describe them. The only thing I can say is MMMMMM……
    I wanted to also tell you that I made them but I simplified then directions. So quick and so much easier. The first thing you want to do is prep 3—- 9×13 baking dishes with tin foil. Place the ice cream into the bottom of one of the pans. Keep it as smooth and even as you can. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the freezer till completely frozen. It usually takes about 3-4 hours. Once the dough is made, divide it 1/2 and put 1half in one pan and put the second 1/2 into the other pan. Press firmly into the bottom and bake at 350 degrees for 8 min. When the are done, put the pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, remove them from their pans lifting by the foil and return them to the cooling racks till totally cool. When ready to make the sandwiches, place one of the chocolate “breads” in a large piece of plastic wrap. Next take the ice cream pan from the fridge and lay ice cream layer directly and peel the foil off. Remove the foil for the second layer “bread” and lay on top of the ice cream layer. Wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap, then in foil wrap and put in freezer for about 4 hours until ice cream is frozen. Cut in desired sizes. EAT N ENJOY.

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 27th, 2013 at 9:29 pm

      Hi Liz, Thanks so much for sharing your feedback! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed these!

      Reply

  60. matt on August 29, 2013 at 12:31 am

    I may try this recipe,
    I have been using different cake recipes and found a few that work pretty well.
    One thing ~ if you and your followers want to do this a LOT more easily,
    bake your cake in a cake pan, then pop it out, split so it is about 3/8 inch or so,
    line that cake pan with saran wrap and put one layer of cake in the bottom.
    when the ice cream comes out of the batch freezer, pour it into the pan then top with the next layer of cake.
    freeze it, turn it out onto the work table and cut the sizes that you want.
    I made mine with the cake tops from some 9 inch round cakes that i had the staff bake for me, I am using the cakes for ice cream cakes and regular cakes, but the tops have a bit of skin that makes it nicer to hold.
    It makes wedge shaped ice cream sandwiches, but that makes us unique.
    one could of course use rectangular cake pans or sheet pans.
    Using a full sheet pan would require sheet pan extenders to mold the sandwiches, but that would make lots of rectangles the most efficiently.

    Reply

    • matt on August 31st, 2013 at 8:55 am

      I did try this, it is by far the best recipe for ice cream sandwich that I have found.
      Butter does not make it spread either (I don’t use any hydrogenated fats so I wasn’t going to use shortening).
      Now if only I had a sheeter !

      Reply

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