I have a way of evaluating recipes that could be called the effort-to-excitement-ratio. If you put in a ton of effort, was everyone super impressed and excited? Or better yet, if you did something that felt really simple, was everyone *still* super impressed and excited? Because that's the best kind of recipe.
One of my favorite dessert ideas that fits this criteria is homemade ice cream sandwiches. When I break these out for guests, everyone goes crazy! Basically, they're a fancy version of everyone's childhood fave, the Chipwich. The great thing about ice cream sandwiches is that they're super simple to make, and really easy to adapt. You can go all out, making homemade ice cream and fresh baked cookies from scratch. Or you can buy slice-and-bake cookie dough and a couple flavors of gelato, and honestly, everyone will flip out over it regardless
For Greg's birthday, I decided to make him these tasty treats since he is not much of a cake guy. I went the all out route, and what we ended up with was pretty spectacular! I made Vietnamese iced coffee ice cream from a recipe I had been meaning to try for ages, and it came out delicious, tasting very true to the drink. For the cookies, I went the classic route, with the good old-fashioned Tollhouse recipe (it's a classic for a reason!). Links to the recipes I used are in the instructions below.
- 24 cookies - for chocolate chip I suggest the Tollhouse recipe. You can get creative here with whatever cookie variety you like, or go low maintenance with slice-and-bake.
- 1 quart ice cream - I made this delicious no cook recipe for Vietnamese iced coffee ice cream
- Colorful cupcake wrappers for serving
If you are going to make your own ice cream, do that first so the ice cream has a little time to set in the freezer. Then prepare your cookies, under baking them slightly. Let them cool completely (you will probably want to steal a few warm ones to eat!). Meanwhile, take the ice cream out of the freezer for a few minutes to soften. Match up similarly sized cookies and put a small scoop of ice cream on top of one cookie. Top with another and smoosh a little to make a sandwich. If you are not going to serve until later, put them neatly on a tray in the freezer on a flat surface. They are also great freshly made!
To serve, set them out on a tray on top of flattened out cupcake papers in fun colors, and watch your guests (or in my case, birthday guy!) go crazy for them.