Grown-Up Ice Cream Sandwiches

The current weather: One bazillion degrees, with equal humidity and an excellent chance of thundercrackers. All across America.

Looks like it's time for ice cream, boys and girls. It's the only way to forget the barometric pressure and lick our way into oblivion.

Chocolate cookies bookend a heaping scoop of coffee frozen yogurt for an outrageous ice cream sandwich. (Kim O'Donnel)

Just before the skies opened yesterday, I was paging through "The Perfect Scoop," a new title by pastry chef David Lebovitz, who also writes a lively food blog from Paris.

In addition to all the weird and wonderful flavors of ice cream, sorbet and frozen yogurt, Lebovitz has included a chapter on "vessels," because as he writes, "Everything in the world deserves a proper, final nesting place."

My eyes locked on the page for ice cream sandwich cookies. Now there's something I haven't tried at home. I closed my eyes and traveled back to the mid-1970s. Summer on the beach at the Jersey shore, waiting in earnest for Paul the ice cream man. For me, it was a tie between the chocolate-covered on a stick and the sandwich, but mainly for the licking opportunities around the edges. But in all honesty, those ice cream cookies of my youth were gummy and soggy, and not very chocolate-y.

Excited about the prospect of real ice cream sandwich cookies, I quickly got to work, and the recipe is a real cinch. I even substituted the lower-fat Earth Balance shortening with terrific results. The hardest part was shaping the cookies so that they'd be similar in size, which gets a whole lot easier if you use a round cookie cutter.

The finished product is a tantalizing mix of fudge and shortbread, with a welcome note of salt. They were good enough to eat all by their lonesome, so I really needed to act fast and decide on a frosty filling

There was not enough time to make ice cream, which requires about eight hours of chilling time for the custard, but there was enough time for frozen yogurt. The beauty of making your own frozen yogurt is the absence of stovetop cooking and only about two hours of pre-ice cream maker chill time.

I deliberated between vanilla and coffee, ultimately deciding on the latter when I realized I still had cold-brew coffee concentrate in the fridge.

The yogurt couldn't have been easier to make, a simple mixing of all ingredients, a two-hour chill and then churning in the machine. The final result is luscious albeit a little like soft-serve ice cream. This is my lesson learned along the way -- let the yogurt sit in the freezer overnight young lady, or else you'll have melted ice cream sandwiches.

Oh well. They were wonderful for breakfast. No, they weren't wonderful. They were OUTRAGEOUS.

Chop-chop. There's no time to spare. This one's a serious keeper.

Recipes below the jump.

Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies
From "The Perfect Scoop" by David Lebovitz

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (KOD note: I substituted equal amounts of Earth Balance brand shortening)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Beat together butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, or by hand, until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt. Stir dry ingredients gradually into creamed butter mixture until completely incorporated and there are no streaks of butter.

Form dough into sixteen 1 1/2 -inch rounds. On the baking sheets, flatten rounds so they're 3 inches across, spacing them evenly. You can 8 on a normal 11x17 baking sheet, with 3 going lengthwise down the sides and 2 in the center in between.

Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets midway during baking, then remove from oven.

Once cool, sandwich ice cream between 2 cookies, then wrap each ice cream sandwich in plastic wrap and store in freezer.

Makes 16 cookies, for 8 ice cream sandwiches.

Coffee Frozen Yogurt
From "The Perfect Scoop" by David Lebovitz

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup brewed espresso, cooled to room temperature (KOD note: Alternatively, use ¼ cup cold-brewed coffee concentrate)
1/4 teaspoon finely ground dark roast coffee

In a mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth and well-combined. Pour into a container with a lid and chill for two hours. Freeze mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.

May be eaten immediately, but will be more like soft-serve ice cream. To use as part of an ice cream sandwich, put frozen yogurt in freezer for at least two hours to set up.

Makes about 1 quart of frozen yogurt.

By Kim ODonnel |  July 11, 2007; 11:40 AM ET Frozen Treats , Summer
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Kim, this looks delicious, you just inspired an ice cream (sandwich) social! I'm not vegan, but am interested in soy ice cream recipes. Any good resources/recipes/suggestions? Thanks!

Posted by: Julie | July 11, 2007 12:56 PM

1 cup brewed espresso, cooled to room temperature or 1/4 cup cold-brewed coffee concentrate

??? The different volume of liquid doesn't matter?

Posted by: EM | July 11, 2007 1:56 PM

EM, the 1/4 cup of coffee concentrate refers to the cold-brew method I wrote about earlier in the week (ergo the hotlink). The concentrate is more intense in flavor, the reason for a smaller amount. Re: the 1 cup espresso: those are the author's words --and I think I'd use personal judgement here. Does 1 cup mean 8 ounces or does it mean an espresso cup's worth? I'd probably go with the latter. Either way, you need something strong so that flavor carries through in final result. Hoe this helps.

Julie, I wrote a little bit about this last year --well, the idea of vegan ice cream. Let me dig up the link.

Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | July 11, 2007 2:47 PM

Please, can anyone remember the 1970s Maine favorite, the Bar Harbor, ME "Harbor Bar?" I would kill for one of those.

Posted by: Don | July 11, 2007 3:31 PM

Julie, just remembered I had dog-eared this page from "Super Natural Cooking" by Heidi Swanson. She's got an intriguing recipe for "Dairyless Chocolate Mousse" and I'm wondering how it hold up frozen or put into popsicle molds. Here are the details:
Dairyless Chocolate Mousse
From "Super Natural Cooking" by Heidi Swanson

1/2 cup chocolate soy milk
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
12 ounces silken soft tofu
1/4 cup amaretto (almond liqueur)
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
Pinch salt

Pour milk into a small saucepan and slowly bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Slowly melt chocolate in a double boiler (place a metal bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water).

Add warm soy milk and silken tofu to melted chocolate. Puree with a hand blender or transfer to a blender or food processor, until silky smooth.

Stir in amaretto, almond extract and pinch of salt. Taste and adjust flaovring, adding more extract if needed.

Chill for at least 1 1/2 hours -- the longer the better. Mousse sets up nicely as it cools. Makes 6 servings.

Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | July 11, 2007 4:00 PM

A lot of people love the book Vice Cream for vegan recipes. I like the three or so ice cream recipes in Voluptuous Vegan, especially the Peanut Butter Banana (to which I add a vegan fudge sauce because everything is better with fudge sauce ;-)

Posted by: Vienna, VA | July 11, 2007 4:27 PM

P.S. Kim -
that mousse recipe (some variation of melted chocolate chips, sweetener, and silken tofu) is classic vegan fare, in probably a dozen or more books and even more package labels. The first time I saw it written was Brother Pickarski's book Friendly Foods, though it may be much older than that.

I wouldn't necessarily freeze it, since tofu -- at least water packed -- becomes chewier and meatier after thawing (another classic vegan technique.)

Posted by: Vienna, VA | July 11, 2007 4:36 PM


These sound YUMMY. Can one make the frozen yogurt without an ice cream maker (e.g. Pour into a container with a lid and chill for two hours)? What material should the container be--plastic or metal or does it matter?


Posted by: Florida | July 11, 2007 5:16 PM

I've experimented with vegan ice cream and found the best one to be the simplest (and raw at that). Here's the recipe, which I posted on my blog:

Maple-Pecan Ice Cream
from Raw, by Charlie Trotter and Roxanne Klein

2 cups pecans, soaked for eight to 10 hours in filtered water
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons vodka (optional)

Drain the pecans, reserving 1 cup of the water. In a high-speed blender, combine the pecans, the 1 cup of water, maple syrup and vodka (if using), and process until smooth. Pass the purée through a fine-mesh sieve, and freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.

It's best eaten the day it's churned; then it gets hard and nubby.

I also like Whole Foods' brand of soy ice cream. Not too big on So Delicious and Double Rainbow.

Posted by: Jessica | July 11, 2007 9:39 PM

Wow, all I've heard about all summer is Lebovitz's new ice cream book -- guess I need to buy it! (His chocolate cookbook has some equally amazing recipes, by the way.) I put my i.c. maker away after blaming it for my post-wedding weight gain, but with all these great fro yo & sorbet recipes, I may need to give it another shot.

Posted by: Alexandria, VA | July 12, 2007 2:34 PM

this is obvious, of course, but make sure the semi-sweet choco chips are in fact vegan. many are not, and some even are not vegetarian.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 4:44 PM

Thanks for everyone's suggestions on vegan ice cream (and mousse)!

Posted by: Julie | July 16, 2007 1:24 PM

I am not a coffee drinker, but do keep ground espresso for baking. Could this be substituted for the finely ground dark roast coffee? Thanks!

Posted by: Allison | July 18, 2007 12:03 PM

Don: Harbor Bars are back in NH and ME. You can get them in convenience stores especially on the ME coastline. They just started distributing them this summer(2007). Call 1-617-291-0610 and leave a message w/ Andrew for more info.

Posted by: Stu | July 18, 2007 9:35 PM

When I made this, the cookies were VERY crispy, and started to burn with nearly 5 minutes cooking time left...any thoughts? I'd love to make them again, but hoping they would be softer, so that they could actually be eaten as a 'sandwich' instead of having the icecream squish out the sides...

Posted by: Schnecke | July 20, 2007 7:49 AM

Schnecke, my cookies were not crispy but they were not squishy. More like shortbread. Think "Chipwich" over ice cream truck style sandwich. Hard to say what's going on with the quick cooking -- your oven could be faster...and I'm wondering, did you use parchment paper to line trays? That really helps, and do as Lebovitz suggests, which is to rotate trays. I also would make sandwiches, then let them spend some deep in the freezer before eating. Try cutting with a serrated knife. cheers.

Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | July 20, 2007 8:31 AM

My oven is normally 'slower', which is why this surprised me. I did use parchment, and did rotate. But, I am anxious to try again, because this was so simple, and if softer, would be a wonderful treat. Thanks!

Posted by: Schnecke | July 20, 2007 10:59 AM

Kim- the gingersnap cookies you posted about in Dec (?) make GREAT ice cream sandwiches- especially with this coffee ice cream. Love the spicy accent.

Posted by: Late to the Party | July 20, 2007 5:43 PM

they are making harbor bars again. I just had one and bought it in castine, maine at the conveince store. Northeast harbor's pine tree market also sells them. wondering who started the company again?

Posted by: alexandra Greenawalt | August 6, 2007 12:51 PM

Crispy cookies - did you use the all butter recipie? Try the mix with shortening - all butter = crisp cookie.

Posted by: cook | August 7, 2007 1:22 PM

Don, I just came back from a vacation in Maine, where I tried a Harbor Bar, and it was love at first taste. I was just looking online to see if I could buy them and have them shipped to me in PA, when I came across you're question. Maybe if enough interest is shown we can get them sold world wide!!! OH BOY!!!

Posted by: Mary | August 10, 2007 3:04 PM

Any questions or comments regarding Harbor Bars can be sent to and/or Harbor Bars was started back up by a Harbor Bar Fanatic that missed them just as much as you and I. The company is currently small and trying to reach as many fans as possible.

Posted by: Stuart | August 15, 2007 8:24 AM

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