The ice cream sandwich is sure as heck trendy these days. You can get varieties such as red velvet and carrot cake, but I'm still a loyal fan of the classic chocolate shortbread rectangle. All throughout grammar school, I looked forward to the lunchtime ice cream cart which would drop off milk crates of Nutty Butty's, Italian ice, Fudgsicles, and ice cream sandwiches in the hallway outside the classroom door. (In retrospect, this doesn't seem like the wisest food choice for a school to hand deliver to its students).
If I was particularly wealthy that day, I'd splurge the quarter and get the showstopping peanut Nutty Butty ice cream cone. But I was a cheap 8 year old, so I'd often pick the less expensive ice cream sandwich, which was still awesome and even better when I eyed a double chocolate one in the crate. But would they let us sit in the classroom to let all that ice cream puddle onto our seats and desks? No way. After the delivery we'd be unleashed to the playground to burn off the sugar rush before heading back to class (very smart planning on their part).
Recently I had the chance to make a homemade version of this classic ice cream sandwich while I was testing recipes for a really cool cookbook full of hip dessert tables called Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It by Amy Atlas. I was surprised to find out how easy they are to make yourself. All you're really making are the cookies. Once you've made the dough for the chocolate shortbread, you roll it out, cut the rectangle shapes, poke the cookies with holes, and bake. For the ice cream filling, simply press slightly softened ice cream into a lined pan, freeze until solid, then cut the ice cream to fit the cookies. This recipe gives all the measurements you need to make the job practically brainless, all the way down to the adorable holes that are docked into each cookie.
In order to get that slightly softened texture of the cookie, wrap the sandwiches well and let them rest in the freezer overnight (which also makes it a terrific make-ahead dessert). And if you're not feeling as retro as I was, you can personalize these and make them as trendy as you want by using your favorite ice cream and some chopped nuts pressed onto the sides.
About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore as a freelance writer for Time Out Singapore. Check out her blog: shophousecook.com . Follow Yvonne on Twitter.