The other week a few friends and I got together for an impromptu weekday potluck, and naturally I wanted to bring dessert. I had a bit more time on my hands than just buying something from the store but not enough to make something elaborate from scratch. I love the idea of an ice cream sandwich. Whoever first thought of using cookies as a vehicle to deliver ice cream to your mouth is a genius. I decided to do a semi-homemade approach here by making my own delicious blueberry lemon compote as one of 3 ingredients for these sammies. I swirled the compote into vanilla ice cream and smushed that between graham cracker squares. The lemon zest in the compote kept it light and refreshing — one bite and I almost forgot it was 30 degrees out. Almost.
The great thing about ice cream sandwiches is that they’re kind of like a white canvas, and the combinations are endless. It was sort of empowering in a way to realize I could add pretty much anything (fruits, nuts, fudge, cookie butter, caramel, candy, etc…) to an ice cream base and create any dream flavor I wanted. If you had more time, any homemade cookie or even brownies or blondies cut in half would be incredible in place of the graham crackers. The method I describe below makes perfect square ice cream sammies, but feel free to go for a more rustic (aka easy) approach: scoop some ice cream onto your graham cracker, dollop it with a spoonful of compote, top with another cracker, and EAT!
Blueberry Vanilla Swirl Ice Cream Sandwiches
1.5 quarts vanilla ice cream, softened
9 whole graham crackers (18 squares)
- Line a square 8×8 pan with parchment paper so the paper is hanging over the edges. Leave the ice cream at room temperature for about 10 minutes until softened enough to spread.
- Spread the vanilla ice cream into the bottom of the square pan.
- Dollop the compote over the top and use a knife or spoon to swirl it into the ice cream.
- Freeze for at least 4 hours or longer.
- Remove the ice cream by lifting the parchment paper onto a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut the ice cream into squares the same size as the graham cracker squares.*
- Press the ice cream squares between two graham cracker squares and lay back into the baking pan. This should make 9 ice cream sandwiches. Cover the pan in plastic wrap and place back into the freezer for at least 15 minutes or until ready to eat.
(*Note: The ice cream started out very hard and the graham crackers were not sticking to it. The ice cream softened while I was assembling them, and the sandwiches held together more. They started melting quickly, so I tried to do this step fast and get them back in the freezer.)
Adapted from Epicurious
2 heaping cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup sugar or honey
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 tsp cornstarch
- Cook blueberries, sugar, and zest in small saucepan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, mashing the blueberries to release the juices.
- Stir together lemon juice and cornstarch and stir into the blueberry mixture. Bring to a boil for 1 or 2 minutes to thicken the compote.
- Transfer blueberry compote to a bowl and chill until cold.