Recipe: Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Sandwiches

Today I've brought you something that's been floating around in my brain for MONTHS now. For Christmas, G gave me the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid (!!!!) and after looking through a bunch of new ice cream cookbooks and the book that came with the attachment, I decided I wanted my first endeavor to be strawberry ice cream.

This is kind of a strange choice for me. I like strawberry ice cream, but I definitely wouldn't say it's my favorite or even go-to ice cream (for those wondering at home, my go-to ice cream is peanut butter swirl). But strawberry seemed easy enough, better than just plain vanilla, and a flavor that would lend itself to being homemade. Strawberry ice cream from a carton is good, but homemade strawberry ice cream, where you chopped the strawberries and made it that day, would be next level.

But it wasn't until I made these Raspberry-Dusted Lemon Donuts that I discovered the amazingness of freeze-dried fruits (I get mine at Whole Foods). I can't get enough! And, added bonus, they kind of mimic the crunchy bits on a strawberry shortcake ice cream bar! The Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Sandwich was born.

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Sandwiches

Makes 12 sandwiches

For Sugar Cookies
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/3 cups flour

Strawberry Ice Cream
1 pint strawberries, hulled and chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 oz freeze-dried strawberry slices, crushed into small pieces but not dust (optional)

Make your ice cream: In a bowl, mix chopped strawberries with 1/2 cup of sugar and lime juice. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

In a large bowl, whisk eggs until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Whisk in sugar until combined. Add in milk and vanilla extract and whisk until combined. Switch to a rubber spatula and add in strawberries and all the juice. Finally, stir in heavy whipping cream. Pour mixture into ice cream machine and follow manufacturer's instructions. Once ice cream is done, pour into a 9x11 inch baking sheet and spread evenly. Place in the freezer for 2 hours (overnight is even better).

Make your cookies: Cream butter and shortening with an electric mixer. Add sugar and mix until light and fluffy 3-5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk flour, salt, and baking powder to combine. With your mixer on low, add dry ingredients to the butter/egg mixer.

Drop rounded balls of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. I made mine about a tablespoon and a half large. Bake 8-10 minutes or until bottoms just begin to brown. Allow cookies to cool slightly on the baking sheet, about 5 minutes, and then transfer onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Make your sandwiches: Once cookies are completely cool, match cookies of the same size. Spread your crushed freeze-dried strawberries onto a plate. Because I wanted to ice cream centers to be uniform, I used a circle cookie cutter to cut out pucks of ice cream all the same size. I placed each puck onto a cookie and topped with another cookie, pressing them together slightly. If you want to make your sandwiches the easy way, scoop a large ice cream scoopful of ice cream and place it on one cookie. Using the other cookie, press the sandwich together. Either way, they'll be beautiful and delicious.

Over the plate, spoon the crushed strawberries onto the sides of one half of the ice cream center, pressing lightly with the back of the spoon until they stick. Place back in the freeze to harder completely. Once completely frozen, store in an air tight container in the freezer. Enjoy!

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