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


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


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)


81 Responses to “Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Sandwiches”

Comment Pages 1 2
  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!


    • 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 :)


      • 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.


        • Kathlene on June 28th, 2015 at 4:15 pm

          Hi Michelle, I really want to try these! I am just not a fan of processed shortening, hence the reason I make things homemade. :-)
          Is there anything else one could use? I believe even coconut oil hardens once frozen. :-(


  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.


  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!


  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 :)


  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.


    • 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.


  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!


  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


  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!


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

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


  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!


  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!


  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!


  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.


  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!


  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!!!


  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!


  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.


  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!


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

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


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

    Ooooooh! Loving these :)


  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.


  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!


  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!



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

    I will try it – looks yummy!



  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! :)


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

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


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

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


  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!


  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!


  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!


    • 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.


  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!


  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?


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

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


  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?


    • 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.


      • Teresa on July 28th, 2015 at 12:07 pm

        Glad to see someone else wanting to do that. I want to just do the single sheet as well. Guess it is time to play in the kitchen after work! Thank you for sharing this recipe. It looks wonderful. Definaltey will use shortening. I make cookies and freeze them all the time, and yes they get rock hard when frozen.


  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!


  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!)


  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.


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

    I might have to try these.


  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.


  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


    • 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!


      • 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… :-(


        • 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.


  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!


  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!


  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!!


  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!


  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!


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

    This sounds perfect for the grandkids!


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

    Oh my goodness, these sound diving!


  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?


    • 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.


  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!


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

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


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