The sky is nearly cloudless, and every breath is a bit labored as the hot, thick air of June makes its way in and out of our lungs like the exhausted whir of an overworked engine. The persistent sun turns steering wheels and metal chairs into looming traps for fingers and thighs, and it beams on sunblock, mosquito repellent, and sweat-soaked skin to create a slightly stinging satisfaction that only early summer can provide. It is in these moments that we half-longingly remember the days in December when it was too cold to leave the house, when we warmed ourselves with blankets and fires and warm bowls of soup, when we told ourselves that we couldn’t wait until the summer and wouldn’t complain about the heat this year.
Yet here we are, talking about the weather as though it is a cruel punishment, searching for something to cool us down at barbecues, throughout outdoor get-togethers, and after doing lawnwork. This is when our favorite coping techniques– because that is truly what they are– come into play: a refreshing dip in the pool, a cold glass of lemonade, or maybe even a delicious frozen treat.
And it doesn’t matter if you’re 7 or 70, an ice cream sandwich is a welcome gift of cool that it’s impossible to refuse when the temperature spikes. There’s a sort of nostalgia I enjoy in a simple ice cream sandwich, but we won’t be talking about those chocolate cookie encased treats today.
You see, as we grow older, we lose a lot of things– our hair, our sanity, and our innocence, for example– but we gain things like maturity, knowledge, and the ability to use an oven (which you’ll appreciate even more after you try these improved ice cream sandwiches out). We can still enjoy our typical store bought icy desserts, but we can also bring fresh berries, fudge sauce, and decadent dark chocolate brownies into the mix every so often for a truly special summer treat. We couldn’t do that when we were 7! Well, maybe you could, but I most certainly was not allowed anywhere near the oven… and if I had been, disaster would have ensued.
These Dark Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches were once sitting in my freezer for about 3 hours, with the noble intention of staying snuggled between ice cube trays and hot pocket packages until a warm day warranted them. But, as is the case any time I try to plan ahead, that didn’t work out so well when a few friends came over and stumbled upon them, and in only a few hours, all of of the Dark Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches had disappeared.
I used vanilla ice cream and mixed in fresh raspberries and chocolate chips, but you can use any kind of ice cream and any additions you’d like. Get creative. Let me know what flavor combinations you try out in the comments!
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate unsweetened cocoa powder
- 6 eggs
- 1 quart vanilla ice cream
- 1 cup fudge sauce
- Raspberries or other ice cream additives, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar, flour, cocoa, and eggs. Stir until smooth.
- Line two 8 inch square baking pans* with aluminum foil. This makes it easier to lift the brownies out of the pans. Pour the batter evenly between each baking pan.
- Bake for 23-28 minutes. Cool completely and then freeze, covered, for at least 2 hours.
- Scoop the ice cream into a large bowl and mix in the ice cream additives until well combined. Berries, chocolate chips, peanut butter, or candies work well.
- Spread the ice cream over one pan of the brownies. Then, spoon the fudge sauce on top of the brownies.
- Remove the other brownie layer from the pan and peel away foil. Place this brownie layer on top of the ice cream and fudge sauce layer, and press gently to form a large ice cream sandwich. Wrap the sandwich in aluminum foil and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
- Remove the aluminum foil and remove the ice cream sandwich from the pan. Peel off any remaining foil.
- Cut the ice cream sandwiches into squares, rectangles, or as you desire. Wrap the individual sandwiches and store in the freezer or serve immediately.
* I used disposable aluminum pans, which were cheap and worked perfectly, so don’t worry if you don’t already own 2 8 inch square baking pans!
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