Today is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, giving everyone an official excuse to indulge in one of the world’s most decadent dessert mashups. If biting into a mouthful of dairy-free ice cream packed between two big vegan cookies sounds like a good way to stay cool on a hot summer day, then keep reading because we’ve created the ultimate guide to getting your ice cream sammy on. Enjoy!
1. Visit your neighborhood grocer’s frozen-food section
If you’re pressed for time, picking up a box of ready-made ice cream sandwiches from your local grocery is the quickest way to get that yummy in your tummy. Most mainstream supermarkets carry vegan ice cream products these days, but you’ll likely find a larger selection at a health food store. Many vegan brands of ice cream sandwiches are widely available, including Almond Dream’s Lil’ Dreamers, five varieties of So Delicious Minis (made from either soy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk), and six flavors of Tofutti Cuties (including Cookies’N Cream, Mint Chocolate Chip, and Wild Berry). Then there are Rice Dream Non-Dairy Frozen Pies, which are basically ice cream sandwiches encased in a layer of frozen chocolate—making this the dessert du jour for those who don’t mind a little brain-freeze while satiating their sweet tooth.
2. Make your own—the easy way
So you want to get creative with your ice cream sandwiches? Then buy some of your favorite dairy-free ice cream and vegan cookies and make your own sandwiches at home. The trick is to get soft cookies (such as Alternative Baking Company or Liz Lovely) that will allow the ice cream to melt into the dough, and let you bite through them into the ice cream (you can find a list of the best vegan ice creams and cookies in VegNews’ 2017 Veggie Awards ballot). If you get cookies that are big enough and a pint of ice cream, you can simply cut the ice cream into slices with a large knife while it’s still in the package, then peel off the paper once it’s between the cookies. And if you want to get really creative, cut a doughnut or brownie in half and use that as the “bread” for your ice cream sandwich—waffles and pancakes also work well! And don’t forget toppings to roll around the outside of the ice cream such as dark chocolate chips, sprinkles, coconut flakes, or chopped nuts.
3. Check out your local vegan ice-creamery
The ice cream parlor evokes the simple pleasures of childhood, making it a great place to observe National Ice Cream Sandwich Day—especially if you have children with whom you can celebrate. Many ice cream shops now serve vegan ice cream, and some are 100 percent vegan. Many also serve plant-based ice cream sandwiches, including Cream in 16 Northern California locations, Curbside Creamery in Oakland, Lil’ Dipper in San Diego, the Cookie Counter in Seattle, Moojo in Austin, and Alchemy Creamery in New York City. To find out if there’s a store near you where you can enjoy this holiday, type “vegan ice cream sandwich” and your city into a search engine to see what pops up.
4. Make ‘em from scratch
If you’re all about doing it yourself, you’re going to want to make your own homemade ice cream while baking cookies, as there’s something satisfying about churning non-dairy milk, nuts, and sweetener into ice cream (and filling the house with the homey scent of fresh-baked cookies). If you’ve never made ice cream, don’t fret because it’s easier than you think, and you don’t even need an ice cream maker. Just follow our expert tips and try our recipes for Chocolate-Dipped Ice Cream Sandwiches or Frozen Oatmeal Raisin Sandwiches. For those who want to make this a real party, check out our pointers for building your own vegan ice cream sandwich bar, or peruse Pinterest for even more ideas.
Photo courtesy of Seattle Magazine