Ice cream sandwiches offer the best of both worlds: cold, creamy ice cream sandwiched between dense, chewy cookies. Making them from scratch isn't impossible; it just takes patience.
The perfect ice cream sandwich starts with a cookie that's cakey, chewy and crumbly all at once. For our double chocolate cookies, we got there with the help of some brown sugar, which not only results in a soft, pliable cookie, but also tastes less sweet than white—a bonus when you're layering sweet (ice cream) on top of sweet (cookies). We also sprinkled the cookies with a little sea salt to balance out the flavors.
As for the filling, when you're pairing ice cream and cookie flavors, remember to keep it simple. We've been playing with ice cream all summer, so we decided to branch out and make a nutty, slightly savory black sesame ice cream.
Once assembled, we rolled the edges in some more black sesame seeds and took a bite. Then another and another and, well, you get the point.
To learn more, read our article "Cookie, Ice Cream, Cookie, Repeat."
Black Sesame Ice Cream Sandwiches
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 6 ice cream sandwiches
Prep Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes, plus churning and freezing time
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes, plus churning and freezing time
For the Chewy Double Chocolate Cookies:
2 cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup butter, melted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg plus 1 yolk
½ cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon sea salt
For the Black Sesame Paste:
½ cup whole milk
½ cup black sesame seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon honey
For the Black Sesame Ice Cream:
6 egg yolks
½ cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
½ cup black sesame paste
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 cups heavy cream
Extra black sesame seeds, for rolling
1. Make the double chocolate chewy cookies: Preheat oven to 325˚. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda; set aside.
2. Place the melted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Whip on medium-high speed, adding both sugars a little at a time until it's all mixed in.
3. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and whisk in the vanilla, egg and egg yolk. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the dry ingredients until just barely incorporated. Stir in the chocolate pieces.
4. Take a ¼ cup of the cookie dough and, using your hands, roll it into a ball and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten with the palm of your hand to measure 3 inches. Repeat with remaining dough and sprinkle a little sea salt on top of each cookie. Bake cookies until the edges are slightly toasted, about 12 minutes. (Makes 12 cookies.)
5. Make the black sesame paste: Bring the milk to a simmer in a small saucepan. Transfer the milk, sesame seeds and honey to a blender and blend on high speed until the seeds have broken down and formed a thick paste. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
6. Make the black sesame ice cream: Build an ice bath and set aside. Put the egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
7. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the milk, sugar, black sesame paste and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually ladle the hot milk into the egg yolks, whisking to prevent the yolks from curdling. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over medium heat and stir continuously until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve.
8. Combine the hot custard and cream together and transfer to a gallon-size resealable freezer bag. Seal the bag and submerge in the ice bath until the custard has completely chilled, about 20 minutes.
9. Chill the bowl of your ice cream machine. Pour the chilled base into the pre-chilled bowl and follow the manufacturer's instructions to churn until the mixture is a soft-serve ice cream consistency, about 30 minutes.
10. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the ice cream to an 9-inch x 9-inch square cake pan lined with parchment paper. Press an additional sheet of parchment directly onto the surface of the ice cream to prevent a film from forming over the top. Cover the container with a lid and freeze until the ice cream is firm, 3 hours. Makes about 1 quart.
11. To assemble, use a 3-inch ring mold to cut the ice cream from the pan. Sandwich the ice cream between two cookies and press gently to fill ice cream to the edges. Repeat until all ice cream is gone. Roll the outside of each ice cream sandwich in black sesame seeds. Serve immediately or store in the freezer until ready to serve.