I think everyone can agree that ice cream sandwiches are one of the best parts of summer. Unwrapping the first one out of the box, having the chocolate “sandwich” part stick to your fingers, and getting the last drop of ice cream before it melts and drips onto the sidewalk. To me, they are the perfect dessert. But, I wanted to step up my game just a little, so I decided to make these peanut butter and jelly ice cream sandwiches.
These ice cream sandwiches were inspired by Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, who made cookie dough ice cream sandwiches with actual cookie dough being the “sandwich” part. I loved the idea of those, especially because when you bit into the ice cream sandwich, the ice cream wouldn’t just come spilling out the other end. I’ve made many ice cream sandwiches, and it always seems like the cookie part is way too hard for the ice cream. They always sound so good in theory, but the actual final product just never lives up to the expectations – cookie dough solves that problem.
The peanut butter (eggless!) cookie dough surrounds the grape jelly ice cream and it’s like taking a bite into a cold PB&J, but way, way better. Do you remember those Uncrustables PB&J sandwiches that you’d stick in your freezer and then wait until they’d come to room temperature to eat them? I’d always eat them frozen and I loved them, so I thought why not make an ice cream sandwich with those flavors? This recipe makes about 9 ice cream sandwiches and you’ll most like have some grape jelly ice cream leftover (yay!). You can definitely save some time here by just buying a carton of vanilla ice cream and mixing your favorite flavor of jelly in it once it softens, but homemade is always better, and it really doesn’t take that long to make. It does seem like a lot of steps for some ice cream sandwiches, but it’s really not as daunting as it may seem. You’ll get the hang of it and start churning these out all the time!
Peanut Butter & Jelly Ice Cream Sandwiches
(Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)
Grape Jelly Ice Cream
(Adapted from David Lebovitz)
2 cups heavy cream
5 egg yolks
1 cup whole milk
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4-1 cup grape jelly
To begin, start by making an ice bath. Set a bowl over another bowl of ice. Pour the heavy cream in and set a strainer on top of that. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the whole milk, salt, and sugar. Warm the mixture, but be careful not to boil. Once the milk has been warmed, temper the egg yolks by stirring in a little of the milk at a time, making sure to constantly whisk. Once the eggs have been tempered, pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Over low heat, stir the custard constantly until it has thickened to the point where it coats the back of a spoon.
Strain the custard into the bowl with the cream, catching any lumps and discarding those. Stir together the custard and the cream, and add the vanilla extract. Refrigerate for at least two hours, or overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.
Once the ice cream comes out of the maker, layer 1/3 of the ice cream in the bottom of a bowl, followed by a thin layer of grape jelly (I used about 1/4-1/2 cup), top with ice cream, another layer of grape jelly, and the final layer of ice cream. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the freezer. After about an hour (or after it has firmed up a bit), gently fold the ice cream to incorporate the grape jelly throughout the ice cream. Place back in freezer until ready to use.
Peanut Butter Eggless Cookie Dough
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine all of the ingredients in a mixer, using the paddle attachment. Take the dough and place in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
To assemble the sandwiches:
When I was making these, I had a bit of trouble following my inspiration’s instructions (the cookie dough did not come out of the pan so easily), so I came up with my own method, which turned out a lot easier for me. She took great pictures of step by step instructions, so if you need a basic visual, definitely check hers out. Mine is similar except that I don’t freeze the cookie dough first. Here’s how I did it:
In an 8×8 baking dish, line the bottom with 2 strips of parchment paper, so they extend beyond the edges of the pan on all sides. Spray with cooking spray. Take the chilled dough out of the fridge and split the dough in half. Take one half of the dough and spread in an even layer on top of the greased parchment paper, making sure to reach all four corners.
Top with ice cream. I ended up using about 3/4 of the total ice cream I made. Feel free to use all of the ice cream, or save a little like I did for another snack.
Take the other half of the dough and on another greased piece of parchment on your counter, make an even layer of the dough, just like you did on the bottom, about the size of your dish. I then peeled off the cookie dough from the parchment, and placed the flat side up on top of the ice cream. I had to fill in a few areas that I didn’t quite cover, so I just tore off some excess and placed it where it was needed. Press down to make sure everything is sealed in.
Take the excess parchment and lightly spray it and then fold over the edges to seal off the dish. Place something on top of the dish to help way it down and make sure the cookie dough sticks to the ice cream; I ended up using the leftover bowl of ice cream since it wasn’t too heavy and wouldn’t crush the bars, but still had a little weight.
Let freeze overnight, or at least 6-8 hours. Remove the bars by pulling up the excess pieces of parchment and peel off from the cookie dough gently. If you have adequately greased the parchment, you should have no problem. Cut into individual squares with a warm knife (I dipped mine in hot water for a few seconds every cut) and serve immediately. You can also individually wrap these in parchment and store in a freezer bag to enjoy whenever the craving hits.