I love to come up with new, unexpected treats for the holidays however in many cased they turn into engineering feats more than cooking challenges! I thought it would be great fun to make red, white and blue layered Gluten-Free Ice Cream Sandwiches. Gluten-free ice cream sandwiches are not easy to find and a summer treat that all should be able to enjoy!
I recently found a cute Wilton Ice Cream Sandwich Cookie baking pan and was determined to turn it into something fun for Fourth of July. I imagined the layered ice cream making a great additional to our Patriotic-hued menu. Candidly I don’t think there is actual red or blue ice cream, in the truest, most vibrant shades we think of for the holiday (though we did find Red Velvet and Blueberry Cheesecake which were darker in shade but also had gluten). After vast searching and opening containers in the store to see the color, we decide Blueberry Frozen Yogurt was the closest we’d come to ‘blue’ and of course Strawberry Ice Cream is a summer must for the red. Ultra white Vanilla Frozen Yogurt delivered our pure ‘white’ layer just as envisioned.
To my children’s delight, I attempted a few methods to layer the ice cream settling on a method of semi-melting the ice cream/frozen yogurt to allow uniform layering with freezing steps in between. Any color combination can be used when making these dessert sandwiches, we were targeting the holiday in particular. Candidly when mine were done, I was thrilled with the visual though I’m not sure they scream ‘July 4th’ in color! We quickly forget about that part for their unique appearance.
This recipe does take a bit of time, I won’t fib. The freezing of the ice cream between layers is a worthwhile investment to have the sharp layers. Also as gluten-free bakers know, the absence of gluten as a binding agent causes GF baked goods to behave differently. I’ve learned never to rush them once they exit the oven. It is only when they are fully cooled that their strongest structure appears. In the case of these treats, I added a step of flash freezing them after cooling to ensure they were strong to accept the responsibility of holding an ice cream middle intact. Even when frozen, the Blondie cookies maintain a chewy consistency perfect for these sandwiches!
Who doesn't love an Ice Cream Sandwich? Let alone one with three layers of ice cream or frozen yogurt, a chewy Blondie cookie, and that is gluten-free! The visual impact of these decadent ice cream treats can't be denied and they taste fantastic too.
The recipe shown in the photos was made using a special Wilton brand Ice Cream Sandwich Pan; it produces great ice cream sandwich cookies and is my recommended pan for this recipe. However I'm sharing an alternative method for those who prefer not to use the special pan too! The key to success is taking one's time and not rushing the gluten-free cookies. They are solid once they are fully cooled and flash frozen for the sandwich assembly.
These sandwiches were intended to celebrate the red, white and blue for Fourth of July however any combination of ice cream colors or flavors may be used. Frozen yogurt works great too.
- 1 ½ cups Gluten-Free Flour (I used King Arthur’s Gluten-Free Blend)
- ½ teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
- ½ cup Granulated Sugar
- ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
- 2 Eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 3 pints of Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt (1 pint of each desired color/flavor of Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt)
- Wilton rectangular Ice Cream Sandwich Cookie Pan*, or alternatively an 8 x 8 inch square baking pan (having 2 allows parallel steps for doing the ice cream layering and baking at the same time).
- Parchment paper
- Baking sheet for flash freezing sandwich cookies
- Cut two pieces of parchment paper 8 inches wide and at least 14 inches long. Place the first piece of parchment in an 8x8 inch pan so it lays smooth on the bottom, is creased 90 degrees at the pan side seams, and smoothly covers the two sides, creased over the top and is secured with a clip (clothes pins work too). Repeat in the opposite direction so the entire pan is covered. This allows the ice cream layering to be smooth with sharp corners and can be easily lifted out of the pan when frozen.
- If making Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwiches, start with either the red or blue ice cream/frozen yogurt, soften in the microwave (if that setting is available; it can also be allowed to almost melt at room temperature). Stir vigorously to achieve the consistency of pudding. Ensure no lumps (unless there is fruit in the ice cream/frozen yogurt). Pour into the prepared pan and place in the freezer on a level surface. Allow to freeze fully; usually 2-3 hours.
- Repeat the process with the white ice cream/frozen yogurt. When this second layer has frozen fully, repeat with the last red or blue layer (depending on which color is the first layer). Allow to freeze fully.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. If using the Wilton Sandwich Cookie Pan, spray molds with no-stick spray. If using an 8x8 pan, line the pan with parchment paper in the same manner as with the ice cream noted above. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to mix together.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk to fully incorporate.
- Spoon the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Hand stir to fully combine into a smooth, glossy batter.
- Measure 2 tablespoons of batter into each cavity of the Wilton pan. If using the 8x8 pan, divide the batter equally in half. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (insert at an angle).
- If using the Wilton Pan: Remove pan from oven, place the top of a cooling rack face down against the top of the cookie pan. Holding them together, turn both over together and lift pan to release the cookies from the pan onto the cooling rack. Allow to cool fully before touching.
- If using 8x8 inch pan: Remove the pan from the oven and gently lift the baked batter out of the pan by the parchment paper, going slowly to keep the ‘cookie’ intact. Place on a cutting surface, using a large, sharp kitchen knife cut into 8 cookies (cut in half than three cuts the opposite direction forming 8 rectangular cookies). Gently place cookies onto a cooling rack and allow to cool fully. Repeat steps x through x for the second half of the batter.
- Once cookies are cooled, place them on a baking sheet and in the freezer to flash freeze them for 30-60 minutes minute. This allows them to have a stiffer texture when assembling the ice cream sandwiches.
- Remove the frozen layered ice cream from the 8x8 pan. Using a large, sharp kitchen knife, cut the ice cream into rectangles either to match the Wilton sandwich cookies, or into 8 rectangles in the same way the cookies were cut if using the 8x8 pan.
- Place one ice cream rectangle between two cookies. Gently press together to allow the cookies to allow the cookies to adhere to the ice cream. Return to the freezer to freeze for 30 minutes and serve.
*I found the Wilton pan at JoAnne Fabrics however it is readily available online at Amazon.com, Bed Bath & Beyond; locations maybe found using the Find a Store link on the Wilton site linked to in the Supplies section of the recipe above.
Cookie recipe adapted from Wilton