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Cool, creamy vanilla ice cream surrounded by crunchy, buttery oatmeal cookies. Chewy chocolaty brownies encasing refreshing mint–chocolate chip ice cream, indulgently dipped in slightly bitter chocolate. Ice cream sandwiches are among the sweetest memories of my childhood . . . just as much a part of summers growing up in California as running through the garden sprinklers in our swimsuits.
Ice cream sandwiches are traditionally made by sandwiching ice cream between two baked cookies or wafers. Combining the crunchy, chewy cookies with creamy, cold ice cream somehow more than doubles the resulting pleasure.
No wonder ice cream sandwiches have been a favorite treat for children and adults alike in the United States for generations. They made their debut in New York City in the 1890s and quickly caught on across the country with one particular version being honored as the Official Food of San Francisco. They eventually found their way to places as diverse as Australia, Scotland, and Singapore, where they are usually made by slipping a scoop of ice cream between two layers of rainbow-colored bread!
I launched my Buttercup Cake Shop in London in 2006. As we expanded into a premier cupcake company with locations in Kent and London (including the 2012 Olympics site), we started to get quite a few inquiries about whether we also sold ice cream. This got me thinking: what goes better with cake than ice cream? We began offering cupcakes blended with vanilla ice cream and called it a cupshake, ice cream on top of cupcakes (cupcake sundaes), and my childhood favorite, ice cream sandwiches.
Ice cream sandwiches made their UK debut at Buttercup in spring 2011 and proved instantly popular. We bake the cookies fresh every day and assemble the sandwiches to order on the spot, so they are soft and ready to enjoy immediately. Although initially I envisioned them being mostly popular with children, it turns out I wasn’t the only adult keen to indulge! I especially get a kick out of watching stylish men in their twenties and thirties tuck in unreservedly. Today, ice cream sandwiches have become hotter than ever! They are the latest comfort food to receive gourmet status at bakeries and gelato shops in New York City, where endless combinations of ice cream and “cookie” are available.
In this book you will discover easy, step-by-step instructions on how to prepare, assemble, and decorate delicious and novel sandwiches. Rose Meringues (page 41) are ideal for a dinner party, and White Chocolate Chip Teddies (page 51) will be a hit at any child’s birthday. In addition, try the special treats for seasonal celebrations, such as Graveyard Coffins (page 77) for Halloween and Flocked Trees (page 68) for Christmas. And when nothing but the most indulgent treat will suffice, try the Caramel Snickerdoodle-doos (page 12), an irresistible combination of vanilla, caramel, and cinnamon, or Aloha Sandwiches (page 16), a marriage of chocolate, toasted coconut, and macadamia nut that will transport you to paradise!
Whatever the occasion, you’ll find that making ice cream sandwiches is straightforward. It’s an activity that can be shared with children, and with some adult help, cutting and filling the sandwiches is not only easy but also boosts their confidence in the kitchen.
For ease of use, the recipes are divided into three sections: several chapters of sandwiches (with assembly and decoration ideas), the cookie recipes, and the main ice cream recipes. I have included recipes for ice cream you can make at home, including some that don’t require an ice cream maker and still result in a creamy, smooth texture. The division of cookie and ice cream recipes also makes mixing and matching easier should you want to customize. Feel free to experiment with flavor combinations, add your own decorations, and adjust the portion sizes as you wish.
If you are short on time, there is always the option of using store-bought cookies and/or ice cream. You can easily make any of the cookies or ice creams a day ahead and do the assembly and decoration separately. Ice cream sandwiches can be stored in the freezer for several weeks, so they’re perfect for impromptu get-togethers with friends, last-minute playdates, or when you crave a guilty pleasure.
I hope you will have fun in the kitchen with the recipes that follow and wish you pleasurable satisfaction with the resulting creations. Happy sandwiching!
Cookies ’n’ Cream Cupshake
Whoever first put together vanilla ice cream and Oreo cookies was a genius! I think we’ve gone one step better at Buttercup by combining vanilla ice cream with our cookies ’n’ cream cupcake, and now this is our top-selling cupshake flavor. If you are short on time, you can skip making the buttercream in the first step and simply add 2 Oreo cookies and 2 tablespoons whipped cream straight into the blender with the other ingredients.
Makes 1 large cupshake
1 teaspoon (5 g) butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons whipped cream
2 Oreo cookies, crushed
2 large scoops softened vanilla ice cream, homemade (page 112) or store-bought
1 chocolate cupcake, homemade (page 109) or store-bought
½ cup (125 ml) cold whole or part-skim milk, plus more if required
In a small bowl using a mini whisk, mix the butter and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream and crushed cookies, then set aside.
Ensure the ice cream is taken out of the freezer far enough in advance to soften to scooping texture. Put 2 large, rounded scoops in a blender. The scoopfuls should be well packed without pockets of air or you will end up with a cupshake that is too liquid.
Cut the cupcake into quarters, discard the paper liner, and add to the blender. Use a large spoon to push down the cake as much as possible. This step is necessary to ensure the cake grinds up rather than remaining in chunks. Pour the cold milk over the cupcake. Add the Oreo mixture.
Place the top securely on the blender and blend on low speed for 20 seconds. Switch to high speed until a normal milkshake consistency is achieved. Turn off the blender and use a spoon to make sure any chunks of cake at the bottom have broken up.
If you find the milkshake is too thick to mix properly, you can add up to 2 tablespoons more milk. Do not add more than this or it will be too liquid.
Pour into a serving cup, filling to within 1⁄8 inch (3 mm) of the rim. Serve immediately with a wide straw and long spoon. (The mixture will be too thick to enjoy through a narrow straw!)