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How to make an ice cream sandwich, according to an expert

Ice cream sandwiches can be as simple as you like. For the DYI crowd this National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, here's how to fully customize them
Celebrate National Ice Cream Sandwich Day by making treats with products from Chef'n.
This National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, make your own ice cream sandwiches at home with products from Wilton, Pampered Chef and Nordic Ware.Williams-Sonoma

An ice cream sandwich is one of the best desserts to bite into on a hot summer day, some might say. The handheld treat is indulgent-yet-refreshing and can be customized to your liking. Ice cream can be layered between chocolate chip cookies, chocolate wafer cookies and Oreo cookies. Whichever version you prefer, be sure to celebrate that ice cream sandwich preference on on Aug. 2: National Ice Cream Sandwich Day.

While ice cream sandwiches are available in grocery stores and from ice cream trucks, you can also make your own at home. Given the nature of the sandwich, it's fairly hard to get it wrong. Anthony Sobotik, co-founder of Lick Honest Ice Creams in Austin, Texas, has been serving ice cream sandwiches at his stores since 2016. He says it took about two years for Lick to nail down the perfect ice cream sandwich, now available in five different flavors, like Hill Country Honey & Vanilla Bean and Chocolate Peanut Butter, plus seasonal offerings.

During his research, Sobotik said he learned the do’s and don’ts of making ice cream sandwiches — and discovered products that can be helpful in the kitchen along the way. His first piece of advice? “Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the process. Ice cream should never be stressful.”

IN THIS ARTICLE Essential ingredients | How to make ice cream sandwiches | Best products

Ingredients to make ice cream sandwiches

There are two components of an ice cream sandwich: the ice cream layer and the two “sandwich” parts that make up the outer layers. Sobotik says you can use softened store-bought ice cream to fill your ice cream sandwiches or make your own ice cream at home. There is no right or wrong amount of ice cream to add to the sandwich — some people enjoy a thick layer while others prefer very little.

As for the outer layers of the sandwich, Sobotik says Lick uses a recipe the company developed for cake cookies — cookies with the consistency of a dense cake. At home, you can make something similar by baking brownies or blondies in a shallow 9-by-13-inch sheet pan. Sobotik recommends going with a cakey brownie recipe rather than a fudgy one. Brownies made with a lot of butter may be too hard to bite into after you form the ice cream sandwiches. Additionally (and simply), you can use homemade or store-bought cookies as the outer layers of your ice cream sandwich. People usually use chocolate chip cookies, but any flavor you prefer will do, Sobotik says.

How to assemble ice cream sandwiches

At Lick, making ice cream sandwiches is a multi-day process.

  1. Sobotik bakes two rectangular trays of cake cookies and lets them cool. He freezes the trays of cake cookies overnight.
  2. The next day, Sobotik removes the cake cookies from the pans and spreads ice cream over one tray using an offset spatula.
  3. He places the second tray of cake cookies on top of the ice cream, which is the last step in layering the ice cream sandwich.
  4. After that, Sobotik wraps the sandwich in saran wrap and freezes it overnight.
  5. Finally, he cuts the ice cream sandwich into squares and hands them off to his customers.

He says you can follow this exact process at home and suggests using a large chef’s knife or a double handle cheese knife to cut the large ice cream sandwich into squares. If you have pieces of brownie, blondie or cookie leftover after making your ice cream sandwiches, Sobotik recommends crumbling it into homemade ice cream or using it as an ice cream topping.

For a less intensive ice cream sandwich assembly process, Sobotik recommends scooping ice cream onto a cookie, topping it with another cookie and digging in, which he considers a great approach for in-the-moment ice cream sandwich cravings. You can make ice cream sandwiches without any special gadgets, of course, and brands like Wilton and Chef’n sell products that may help speed up the process. Here are five more products you can use to make ice cream sandwiches at home.

5 best products for making ice cream sandwiches

1. Nordic Ware Ice Cream Sandwich Pan

This pan turns out 12 equally-sized cookies, which allows you to layer ice cream sandwiches with precision. The cast-aluminum pan distributes heat evenly to ensure a uniform bake, as well as give treats a golden-brown crust. The pan’s wells have scalloped edges that add style to your ice cream sandwiches and you can fill them with cake, brownie, blondie or cookie batter.

2. Chef'n Ice Cream Sandwich Maker

This mold comes with three pieces: two for baking the outer layers of the sandwich and one that you fill with ice cream. The pans used to bake the sandwich’s outer layers perforate them, which Sobotik said allows air to escape easily and prevents the baked goods from cracking. This ice cream mold can make up to four rectangular ice cream sandwiches at once and it comes with a tool for scooping and spreading ice cream. Chef’n also sells another ice cream sandwich maker that produces 10 mini round treats.

3. Wilton Non-Stick Rectangle Ice Cream Sandwich Pan

Pour brownie, cake or blondie batter into this pan to make six sets of outer layers for ice cream sandwiches. The pan has a non-stick surface that helps prevent treats from sticking to it after being baked. It’s dishwasher-safe and the pan’s cavities give baked goods a multi-dimensional woven pattern.

4. Pampered Chef Ice Cream Sandwich Maker

After whipping up your favorite cookie or brownie recipe, pour the batter into the silicone tray that comes with this ice cream sandwich maker. When the treats cool, place the ice cream mold on top of the silicone tray and spread ice cream over three baked goods. Place the filled ice cream sandwich maker in the freezer for a few hours and then assemble the layers: You’ll have three large ice cream sandwiches to enjoy in no time.

5. Cuisipro Mini Ice Cream Sandwich Maker

This ice cream sandwich maker comes in a set of three shapes: a heart, star and circle. You can use them to cut out shaped layers of ice cream, cookies, brownies and cakes, then assemble them to create cute ice cream sandwiches. The ice cream sandwich makers come with a recipe book and they’re safe to put on the top shelf of the dishwasher.

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