15 Luxurious Ways To Elevate Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice cream sandwiches are a comforting classic that reminds us of those simple childhood summers when responsibilities were minimal. This nostalgic sensation doesn't have to go away, even when you upgrade your sandwiches with premium ingredients. Not only can you transform a standard ice cream flavor by mixing in special ingredients like Manuka honey or crushed pine nuts, but you can also give store-bought sandwiches an upscale look by dipping them in ganache or adding a touch of edible gold.

We've gathered some suggestions that will allow you to find merriment and look at these tasty treats with a new lens. These ingredients are considered luxurious due to several factors, including price and quality, ease of sourcing, and whether they are artisanal, handcrafted, or require skill to create. So, while you might have to look far and wide to find these tasty additions and add them to your sandwich, the complex sensory experience that they bring will be well worth it.

1. Give it an expensive touch with Manuka honey

Manuka honey is an ingredient found in grocery or health foods stores. Unlike other kinds of honey, this special sugar is made when the bees gather nectar from the Manuka tree, which makes it a more exclusive (and expensive) type of honey. But, you won't have to use a lot of it to make your ice cream sandwiches. Mix a drizzle of Manuka honey with your ice cream of choice to add sweetness and all of the honey's medicinal benefits. 

Vanilla, blueberry, or coffee ice cream makes a fantastic match for the honey, but any store-brand ice cream from your local grocery chain can taste luxurious with a Manuka honey inclusion. Scoop out the ice cream, drizzle the Manuka honey, and mix it so it streaks throughout. You should also consider adding edible lavender or cinnamon to give more depth to the ice cream, too. Vanilla wafers or snickerdoodle cookies make a great base for this sweet mashup.

2. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on the ice cream sandwich

Olive oil and ice cream might seem like a funky combination, but the nuanced notes of the fat can work nicely with the creaminess of the frozen dessert. Extra virgin olive oil can have various tasting notes, depending on the brand, where and how it's made, and other factors. You might want to consider buying specific olive oil brands to put on ice cream that complement the sweet flavors, such as Arbequina, which can be fruity and sweet. Or, try the mild, light flavor of Leccino olive oil.

You'll usually see olive oil paired with vanilla ice cream, but try it with butter pecan, chocolate, pistachio, and other flavors. Taste your olive oil beforehand to see what flavor profile you can gather from it, and then pair it appropriately. Assemble the sandwich using your base, such as shortbread cookies or biscotti, then add a scoop of ice cream, drizzle a small amount of olive oil onto the frozen dessert, and then top it with your second cookie or biscuit. The liquid oil will start to solidify when it hits the cold, so you don't have to worry about it dripping onto your hand.

3. Transform even the most basic ice cream sandwich with arepas

If you're hosting a party and want to make ice cream sandwiches, your guests will likely never expect the sandwich base to be made with arepas. The arepas are a doughy yet chewy, round bread that is often made with attention to detail and craftsmanship that can't be compared to standard ice cream sandwich bases. Arepas can serve as a delectable base for your ice cream sandwiches for an enhanced savory adventure. 

When you assemble the arepas, you don't want them to be piping hot. Otherwise, you'll risk liquefying your ice cream. You can make arepas yourself or find them online or at a restaurant near you. Start by slicing the arepas open slightly and stuffing them with your ice cream. Try them with vanilla, strawberry, or chocolate ice cream, and serve them with sliced fruit like strawberries or bananas. These warm arepas will upgrade your ice cream sandwich with a savory, artistic touch — perfect for when you don't want a total sugar rush of ice cream and a standard cookie sandwich base.

4. Offer an expensive crunch with the help of pine nuts

Pine nuts are expensive because the trees take a long time to mature and require a lot of labor to harvest. You'll usually find these luxury nuts in pesto sauce or pignoli cookies, but you can also use them to provide an indulgent, textural component in your ice cream sandwich. Try pairing pine nuts with vanilla ice cream since the basic flavor complements the nuts and won't overshadow their delicate flavor. Pine nuts can be a bit bitter, so the sweetness of the cold treat can help round its profile out. Scoop out your desired amount of ice cream, chop or crush the pine nuts, and mix them together in a bowl.

You want to disperse the pine nuts evenly throughout the ice cream. Then, assemble your ice cream sandwiches as desired. Try quickly toasting the nuts in a pan to bring out the nutty, buttery flavors for an extra flavor boost. Another easier way to integrate the nuts is to roll the sandwich in the chopped or whole nuts. 

5. Bring a savory element to your ice cream sandwich with sesame rolls

Striking the perfect balance of sweet and salty is a great feeling. One way to play with these flavors is to give ice cream sandwiches a savory twist with sesame rolls. Sesame rolls are usually fluffy and are made with a milk bread or brioche base topped with sesame seeds. The seeds themselves have a mild, sometimes sweet, nuttiness. While the classic cookie or biscuit offers a strictly sweet profile, a quality sesame bun will act as a savory, artisan component and elevate the taste of your sandwich. You can likely find the sesame rolls at your local bakery or international market. Or, try making them yourself. 

Get a brioche bun or a plain roll from the store, make an egg wash, sprinkle on black or white sesame (or both), and then pop it in the oven for up to five minutes to toast. The crunch of the bread and the little sesame seeds pair well with matcha, vanilla, strawberry, or chocolate ice cream. You could then roll the ice cream sandwich in sesame seeds or sprinkle them onto the ice cream to complete your dessert. 

6. Give your ice cream sandwiches a luxurious upgrade with Amarena cherries

There are many types of cherries, but Amarena cherries are the ones you want to use for a sweet and sour addition to your ice cream sandwich. These cherries usually come in syrup, so it's a perfect sugary way to add a refined flair to your sandwiches. Amarena cherries are a more upscale and expensive variety than your average, store-bought Bing cherry, but they are not totally impossible to locate. 

Create your own version of cherry ice cream by chopping and mixing the fruit with your frozen dessert of choice. It's important to chop these fancy cherries into small pieces so that you aren't biting into rock-hard fruit. Vanilla is a great base, but you will often see chocolate ice cream combined with cherries or vanilla ice cream with cherries and chocolate chunks or chocolate chips. This combination offers a textural juxtaposition that makes your sandwiches more exciting. Try this ice cream base with chocolate or almond cookies. For a design worthy of an expensive treat shop, try dipping the sandwich in white chocolate and sprinkling it with chopped almonds. 

7. Use pistachio paste or butter for a luxurious addition to any ice cream sandwich

Nut butter, including peanut and almond butter, is extremely popular and easy to find. Instead, go for a pistachio-based spread like pistachio paste or pistachio butter, which isn't readily available at every grocery store. You may be able to find it in an international market or online, but it's this exclusivity factor and its creamy mouthfeel that contributes to its status as a luxury ingredient. The pastel green condiment has an alluring hue and adds a delectable smoothness to your dessert.

Pistachio butter tends to be more liquid and runny than the paste, which makes it a pleasing option for mixing directly into the ice cream so it doesn't fall off. You could also choose to dunk half (or the entire sandwich) in pistachio butter and then freeze it to set. Meanwhile, pistachio paste can be spread directly onto your sugar cookie, sliced sponge cake, or whatever you use for the sandwich.

8. Elevate the ice cream sandwich with wine or Champagne gummies

Put an adult spin on ice cream sandwiches with Champagne, rosé, or wine gummies, which you can find at candy shops or online. It's important to first consider how chewy the gummies get once they hit the cold ice cream. Instead of using whole gummies, cut the candies into small sprinkles. That way, you're not left with a tough, full gummy stuck to your teeth.

Sprinkle the gummy bits on the outside of your ice cream sandwich to provide a colorful texture and an unexpected, sumptuous flavor. The gummies won't be overwhelming or overly alcohol-flavored, especially if they're store-bought. However, you can infuse your gummies with a luxury beverage of your choice, such as an exclusive wine or Champagne. Put the gummies in a bowl and then pour the liquid over the top so they're fully covered. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and let the alcohol absorb. 

9. Give the ice cream sweet richness with real maple syrup

Real maple syrup is easy to locate, but it's one of the luxurious ways to elevate ice cream sandwiches due to its price tag and the craftsmanship that goes into making the sweet condiment. And no, we're not talking about that thick pancake syrup you might find at a 24-hour diner. Maple syrup is just that — pure maple syrup with no additional ingredients. Mixing maple syrup directly into your ice cream is the most straightforward way to add the sugary liquid and its flavor notes to your sandwich. You could also drizzle it directly onto the ice cream before adding the sandwich base.

Vanilla ice cream infused with maple syrup is mouthwatering, but you might want to consider adding it to toffee or butter pecan ice cream instead. Chopped pecans, walnuts, or cinnamon can provide a more profound depth of flavor and counterbalance the sweetness. Scoop the ice cream onto a maple cookie, gingersnap, molasses cookie, or simple vanilla cookie, or use pancakes as the ice cream sandwich base for a brunch-inspired twist. 

10. Customize the ice cream sandwich with buttery croissants

Croissants are considered a luxurious ingredient because of the attention to detail needed to create them. These pastries will improve the richness of your ice cream sandwich, and they're also stunning to look at. To integrate this French pâtisserie classic, slice a full-sized croissant in half and stuff your ice cream inside. Chocolate, pistachio, strawberry, coffee, or Rocky Road ice cream make for delicious pairings. 

Meanwhile, mini croissants are an amusing way to upgrade ice cream sandwiches for kids, serve at a party, or mix and match flavors for yourself. Since they're smaller, you can make different ice cream sandwich varieties. While you could always go for an almond croissant or pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant), these variations might be more challenging to work with. However, they can provide a layered taste factor to your sandwich. 

It's important not to refreeze the croissant once you assemble the ice cream sandwich. This can mess with the texture, as it's already a sensitive and crumbly pastry. Scoop the ice cream inside of it just before you plan on eating it.

11. Add edible gold leaf for a shiny and fancy addition

Thanks to its price and shiny but delicate appearance, edible gold leaf can give most foods and drinks an entertaining upgrade. It can be placed on anything from sushi to pastries, and adding it to your ice cream sandwich is just another lavish way to use it. 

You don't have to coat the whole ice cream sandwich in it, as that is quite costly. Instead, apply small pieces of gold leaf to the cookie or ice cream. To make the shimmer more visible without using much of it, dunk the ice cream sandwich or cookie base in white or milk chocolate and stick a few pieces on. A chocolate-covered shortbread cookie or a black and white cookie makes the perfect base for the shimmery gold.

The gold doesn't have a taste, so you don't have to worry about metallic notes ruining the sweetness of the ice cream. It's a pricey and luxurious way to elevate ice cream sandwiches, so be sure to use it sparingly. 

12. Dip the sandwich in a rich chocolate ganache

Chocolate-covered ice cream sandwiches are not unheard of, but you can upgrade even a freezer-burnt store variety by dunking it in chocolate ganache and then refreezing it so it sets. This velvety ganache can make a decadent topping for your ice cream sandwich. Make your chocolate ganache with quality dark chocolate, muscovado sugar, heavy cream, and salt. A higher cacao bar can provide a more sophisticated, extravagant taste compared to milk chocolate. 

Use a spoon to cover half of the ice cream sandwich and knock off any excess so you're not left with large chunks of ganache. Use a spoon to make configurations such as zigzags and swirls, or spread the ganache directly on the cookie as a chocolate layer. Cover a plate or dish with wax paper and put the sandwiches in the freezer to set. The ganache is an upgraded chocolate shell with a captivating crunch that enhances store-bought ice cream sandwiches and homemade renditions. 

13. Elevate the flavor or ice cream sandwich with real vanilla extract or beans

A good-quality vanilla extract or, better yet, vanilla beans can be the ideal (albeit expensive) way to take your ice cream sandwiches to the next level. Although costly, scraped vanilla beans give you a stronger taste, along with tiny, enchanting vanilla flecks throughout the ice cream. The extract gives a flavor boost without the noticeable spots. You can add the extract or the scrapings to your homemade ice cream directly to infuse it with flavor.

You can also use pre-made ice cream, including flavors like standard vanilla, butter pecan, salted caramel, or chocolate chip ice cream with a vanilla base, and then mix in the vanilla. You'll want to avoid masking the fresh vanilla flavor with a strong ice cream base, like mint chocolate chip or Rocky Road. After all, there's no reason to waste the expensive ingredient on an already flavorful ice cream flavor.

14. Mix up the sandwich base with choux pastry

You might want to try choux pastry, also known as pâte à choux, when you want to handcraft a few impressive ice cream sandwiches. Swapping your standard base for choux pastry is undoubtedly one of the more luxurious ways to elevate ice cream sandwiches that you won't likely spot at a local ice cream parlor.

This pastry is the base for cream puffs or a show-stopping croquembouche. You can either make the choux yourself or look for it at a local bakery. Many pre-made, store-bought cream puffs already contain the cream in the middle, so we wouldn't recommend using this option unless you want to remove the cream from the center. 

Choux pastry isn't too tricky to whip up from scratch and takes less than an hour to prepare and bake. But it still has an expensive and artisan look and taste. Once the choux has cooled, you can gently cut the circles in half to stuff them with ice cream for small but delicious ice cream sandwiches. Since choux is not overpowering in flavor, you can pick almost any ice cream, from rum raisin to Neapolitan to cookies and cream. Add some drizzled caramel to the pastries for a croquembouche-inspired sandwich.

15. Ramp up the flavor and texture of the ice cream sandwich with gourmet salt

Salt is no stranger to sweets. Sweet and salty food taste good together because the salt enhances sweet flavors and offers complexity. When it comes to your sandwiches, you can dip half the sandwich in chocolate and sprinkle it with flaky salt. You don't have to load it up with salt; a tiny sprinkle will suffice. 

Or, take your salty addition a step further with gourmet-infused salts. You can buy flavors like wine-infused, vanilla, or lavender salt from specialty cooking stores or online. To make a batch for yourself, take about a ¼ cup of kosher salt and then a teaspoon of your addition of choice, whether that's espresso, lavender, or rose petals. Before adding your top sandwich layer, sprinkle the salt directly onto the ice cream. 

Pairing salt with ice cream is simple. For example, try salting peanut butter ice cream with chocolate chips and a sugar cookie base.