Crispy and chewy flourless chocolate cookies encase rich vanilla ice cream in these homemade gluten-free ice cream sandwiches. They're easy to make, and are a real summertime treat!
Why this recipe works
- Flourless chocolate cookies are crispy & chewy, a great contrast against the ice cream
- The cookies come together quickly. No mixer required!
- You can use homemade or store bought ice cream
Ice cream sandwiches take me back to childhood.
Memories of softened vanilla ice cream smooshing out between chocolate wafers and dripping down my arm takes me back to when the biggest worry I had was making sure I ate it all before it melted.
Now I can make my own chocolate cookies for homemade ice cream sandwiches, plus I can make the best vanilla ice cream to fill them.
And since National Ice Cream Sandwich Day is August 2nd, now is the time to make some!
What you need
Rather than having the traditional soft chocolate wafer, I decided to go in a different direction using flourless chocolate cookies. They have a crunchy exterior and a chewy interior that provides a nice texture experience for this gluten-free ice cream sandwich.
A new-and-improved flourless Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich recipe is born!
How to make flourless chocolate cookie ice cream sandwiches
The cookies come together quickly. No mixer is needed since there's no butter to cream. Just five ingredients (ok, six if you count the sea-salt garnish).
Step 1: Make the cookie batter
To make the batter, whisk the powdered sugar with the cocoa powder and salt. Add the egg whites and vanilla extract and stir with a spatula just until the batter is moistened (photo 1).
Step 2: Portion the cookies
Portion out two tablespoons of batter using a medium cookie scoop. The batter is runny and should form into a circular shape easily. Give the cookies space to spread on the pan. If you can spare the time, let the batter rest at room temperature on their trays for 30 to 60 minutes to dry before baking (photo 2).
Step 3: Bake the cookies
Bake the cookies for 20 minutes, until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked, shifting the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through to ensure even baking.
The cookies will be fragile when coming out of the oven, so let them cool completely before removing them from the pan. If desired, finish the cookies with a sprinkle of sea salt after the cookies come out of the oven.
Step 4: Assemble the ice cream sandwiches
Gently spread one scoop of softened ice cream on the bottom cookie. Add the top cookie and lightly press down.
Remember, flourless chocolate cookies are fragile on the outside! Be gentle as you spread the ice cream on the bottom cookie and smoosh the assembled sandwich together.
For a fun & festive look, roll the sandwiches in mini chocolate chips or sprinkles before freezing. Now they're ready for a party!
Tips for making flourless chocolate cookies
Be sure to use two half sheet baking pans lined with a Silpat silicone mat or parchment paper. If you're using parchment paper, spray it with baking spray to insure the cookies don't stick. Yes, spray the parchment paper!
Like with French Macarons, allowing the batter to dry out on the pan before baking gives them just the right amount of loft needed. If you don't have the 30 to 60 minutes needed, the cookies will be flatter but still useable.
I finished the cookies with a sprinkle of sea salt after the cookies came out of the oven because it would stick more before baking (and I didn’t want to over-salt them). You can decide whether to add salt before or after baking, or even at all.
Let the cookies cool completely on the baking pan before attempting to move them. Otherwise, they might break apart on you. They'll be tasty, but unusable for ice cream sandwiches.
Questions asked and answered
Here are some questions you might have...
Laying the first cookie on plastic wrap means you can wrap the sandwich before moving it. The wrap also helps hold the sandwiches together while the ice cream is still soft while freezing, and protects the crispy cookie exterior in the freezer.
You can use any flavor ice cream that suits your fancy, but I prefer the traditional combination of chocolate-cookies-and-vanilla-ice-cream. Using store-bought ice cream is fine, but for a homemade treat make your own vanilla ice cream. Other homemade flavor suggestions would be Chocolate Mint Chip Gelato, Chocolate Mint Marshmallow Ice Cream, or Caramel Swirl Almond Gelato. You can even use diary-free ice cream for a gluten-free, dairy-free ice cream sandwich.
A hand-held treat
These homemade ice cream sandwiches are creamy, crispy, chewy, chocolatey, all in one! Truly, they're better than what you can get at the market.
The flourless cookies hold everything together without sticking to your hands (which sometimes happens with store-bought sandwiches). Another plus!
It's time to make new summertime memories!
[ ** bites into a gluten-free ice cream sandwich ** ]
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
There are many ways to enjoy a treat if you're on a special diet. Here are a few ideas that are all gluten-free, and I have many more. Have a go!
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Gluten-free Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches
- ice cream scoop
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder, natural or dutch-process
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- sea salt flakes, optional
- 1½ cups vanilla ice cream, softened, see Recipe Notes
- Whisk the powdered sugar with the cocoa powder and salt. In a large bowl, Add the egg whites and vanilla extract and stir with a spatula just until the batter is moistened. Don't over-mix the batter or it will stiffen. We’re not trying to whip these egg whites as we would for a meringue.
- Scoop two tablespoons of the batter onto the baking sheets in evenly spaced circles using a medium cookie scoop. If you can spare the time, let the batter rest at room temperature on their trays for 30 to 60 minutes to dry before baking.
- Position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat temperature to 325°F.
- Bake the cookies for 20 minutes, until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked, shifting the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through to ensure even baking.
- If desired, finish the cookies with a sprinkle of sea salt after the cookies come out of the oven. Let the cookies cool completely before removing them from the pan.
- Assemble the ice cream sandwiches: Allow the ice cream to soften at room temperature, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Lay a square of plastic wrap on the counter. Place one cookie upside down so the flat side is facing you. Gently place one ¼-cup scoop of ice cream (about 45g) in the center of the cookie and use a spreader to smooth the ice cream to the edges. Go slowly and be gentle…these cookies are fragile!
- Place another cookie on top right side up. Wrap the ice cream sandwich with the plastic and gently smoosh the two cookies together. Repeat with the rest of the cookies.
- Place in freezer and freeze until firm, about an hour. Enjoy!
- Cookies can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. The assembled ice cream sandwiches will keep in the freezer for a week or two.