1. When you scoop your ice cream, make sure it's as frozen as possible. Since the sandwich will take a minute or two to devour, the ice cream will soften as you're partaking; it's better that you start with conservatively frozen ice cream, rather than conservatively soft. It's also okay to scoop the sandwich, then freeze it. Don't worry, the cookie won't harden — it will actually get softer as it absorbs the moisture of the ice cream.
2. Think about how the cookie and ice cream flavor profiles interact! Ice cream sandwiches are a great way to deconstruct other desserts, or even savory dishes. For example, a peanut butter and jelly ice cream sandwich could be a peanut butter cookie with strawberry ice cream; lemon meringue could mean a macaron and Meyer lemon ice cream. We always say the "sushi sandwich" is a ginger-molasses cookie with wasabi ice cream...be playful with your combinations!
3. Make sure the cookie is chewy and pliable, but also soft. This way when you bite into the ice cream sandwich, the cookie will bend to your bite but still hold onto the ice cream in the center. You want it soft enough that you can bite through and have that perfect textural experience.
(More: You can also go rogue and use toasted (whole wheat!) sandwich bread — don't knock it 'til you've tried it.)
4. Don't bake the cookie too thick, and be sure to smoosh down the top cookie when the sandwich is complete. You need to be able to fit the whole sandwich in your mouth — make sure it's humanly possible!
5. Find the un-sweet flavors to balance the dessert. With two cookies and a scoop of ice cream, there is potential for a lot of sweet here. In our opinion, the way to counterbalance that is to highlight the other palate sensations: salty, savory, smoky, boozy, tart, and so on. These layers will make the treat so much more complex, and will let you devour a whole sandwich without risking a sugar overdose.
Ready to build a killer ice cream sandwich? Get started with our Frank Beh-ry Ice Cream Sandwich inspired by architect Frank Gehry. (Get it?)
16 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
8 large egg yolks
12 to 14 strawberries
1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
Juice of half a lemon
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