Let's face it, some nights there's barely enough time to make a main dish, let alone dessert - especially if you're pulling together an impromptu dinner party. In a pinch, you've probably picked up a bakery cake or pie and said, "that'll do." However, now that the weather's warmer, I suggest a dessert that's just as simple and wonderfully seasonal: ice cream sandwiches. Everyone loves them and are always amazed by the effort. If you use completely store-bought ingredients (like Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream and and Pepperidge Farm cookies) the entire dessert comes together in about 2 minutes. I won't tell your guests if you don't!
To read a few tips on flavor pairings, how to choose the right cookies and how to keep your sandwiches firm,
- When making ice cream sandwiches, try to let either the ice cream do the talking, or the cookie. For example, when I made my sandwiches, I chose Ben & Jerry's Americone Dream, vanilla with a caramel swirl and chocolate covered waffle cone pieces and decided to pair it with simple chocolate cookies. However, if I had gone for a lemon-ginger cookie, I probably would have paired it with plain vanilla.
- When choosing a cookie, look for ones that are large and chewy when fresh. If they're too firm they're likely to crack when eating. The best ones are cookies you can really sink your teeth in. If you're going with store-bought cookies, look at the ones they offer in the bakery first. If your grocery store doesn't have a bakery, look for large ones that are labeled chewy.
- Use an ice cream scoop to portion out the ice cream. One large scoop in the center will be easier to deal with than several smaller spoonfuls.
- Before scooping, take the ice cream out of the freezer for 15 minutes. This will make the ice cream softer and easier to scoop.
- You can serve your sandwiches immediately, but they may be quite runny and the ice cream will squish out the sides while eating. To prevent this, make them and put them on a baking sheet (covered in wax or parchment paper) and stick them in the freezer for at least 30 minutes (tip: make them before you start making dinner). If you plan on keeping them around for a few days, be sure to transfer them to an airtight container.
Know any great ice cream sandwich tips? How about great store-bought cookie recommendations? Tell us all in the comments below!