Cookies over ice cream: Now that’s a sandwich!

Hand-held ice cream. An excellent treat on a hot summer day, but who wants to spend time scooping and filling ice cream cones?

The solution? The ice cream sandwich. Put them together ahead of time, then pull one out of the freezer when hit by the urge to indulge.

Stacy Wisniewski opened Butter & Cream ice cream shop just off the square in Decatur last July. Within a month she was offering ice cream sandwiches, and now the shop has four or five ice cream sandwich varieties available at all times.

“Some people come in for ice cream sandwiches to take home, others want one to eat right away. Right now we’ve got Dark Chocolate cookies with Salted Caramel ice cream, Peanut Butter cookies with Freckled Chocolate ice cream and Corn cookies with Blueberry Cobbler ice cream,” said Wisniewski, running through just a few of the flavor combinations.

Butter & Cream makes its ice cream, sauces, toppings, cookies and cakes in the kitchen of the Church Street store. The shop opened with 15 flavors of ice cream and sorbet. Some of the original flavors, such as Freckled Chocolate and Mint Chocolate Chip, remain on the menu while others, such as Blueberry Lavender and Milk Chocolate Stout are seasonally inspired or inspired by partnership with other local companies like Three Taverns Craft Brewery.

Wisniewski says she didn’t know ice cream at all when she decided to open the shop. “I knew I wanted to give something back to Decatur, which had been my home since 1994. And I knew ice cream was something that made people happy. And I had certainly made plenty of cookies. I used to make cookies a lot. So many that I was counting how many years it was before I could stop making birthday cookies for my childrens’ classrooms.”

Now her shop offers ice cream, sorbet, cookies, cakes, sundaes and special toppings like Bourbon Spiced Pecans. And ice cream sandwiches.

When thinking ice cream sandwiches, Wisniewski says the choice of cookie is the most critical.

“You don’t want a cookie that’s brittle. It should have a little chew. A Mexican wedding cookie, for example would crumble. Same thing with shortbread. You want a cookie that’s crispy around the edge and chewy in the middle.”

She suggests ice cream sandwiches make a great party dessert, whether at home or at a potluck. “They’re great for cutting and sharing. You don’t have to eat a whole one.”

Sharing an ice cream sandwich may mean you can sample more than one variety. And making your own ice cream sandwiches means you can put together whatever flavor combination you like.

Make your ice cream sandwiches ahead of time, wrap them in plastic wrap and give them a few hours in the freezer to completely firm up. When you’re ready to serve, you can swap out the plastic wrap for parchment paper for a company-friendly presentation.

Now you’re all set whenever the urge for a cold treat strikes.

You don’t have to use homemade cookies and ice cream for your ice cream sandwiches, but why not? Butter & Cream’s recipes will make for some very generous ice cream sandwiches. Feel free to make smaller cookies for more individual-size treats. These cookies are rich in flavor but not too sweet, making them a great complement to the rich ice cream.

Butter & Cream’s Brown Sugar Almond Cookies

Wisniewski says, “We like to beat the cookie dough mixture for much longer than typical cookie recipes. This extra step makes a thicker, chewier and, we think, better cookie.”

2 cups slivered raw almonds (about 8 ounces)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

20 tablespoons salted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Turn off oven.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar on medium-high speed for 4 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Continue to beat on medium-high speed for 5 minutes.

Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture. Mix until barely combined. Add cooled almonds and beat until fully incorporated. Remove bowl from mixer. Use a rubber scraper to do a final mix of the dough, stirring for about 30 seconds. Chill the dough for one hour.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Use a 1/4-cup measure to scoop dough onto prepared sheets. Put six balls of dough on each cookie sheet, placing them 3 inches apart. Refrigerate remaining dough.

Bake cookies until light golden brown, about 10 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through. Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool. Allow cookie sheet to cool and continue with remaining dough. Makes: 24 4-inch cookies.

Per cookie: 258 calories (percent of calories from fat, 56), 4 grams protein, 25 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 16 grams fat (7 grams saturated), 44 milligrams cholesterol, 239 milligrams sodium.

Butter & Cream’s Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wisniewski says, “We like to beat the cookie dough mixture for much longer than typical cookie recipes. This extra step makes a thicker, chewier and, we think, better cookie.”

These cookies are more chocolatey than sweet. And as with all dark chocolate cookies, it’s easy to overcook them and burn the edges. Keep an eye on them and remove from the oven just as the centers have developed their signature crinkles.

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

16 tablespoons salted butter, softened

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Flaked sea salt, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

In a microwave safe measuring cup, melt 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips. Heat in 30-second intervals, stirring chocolate between each interval. When all chips have melted, cool chocolate to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar on medium-high speed for 4 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and cooled chocolate. Continue to beat on medium-high speed for 5 minutes.

Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture. Mix until barely combined. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and beat until fully incorporated. Remove bowl from mixer. Use a rubber scraper to do a final mix of the dough, stirring for about 30 seconds.

Use a 1/4-cup measure to scoop dough onto prepared sheets. Put six balls of dough on each cookie sheet, placing them 3 inches apart. Slightly flatten dough and sprinkle with sea salt, if desired.

Bake cookies until just set and tops have begun to crack, about 8 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through. Be careful not to overbake. Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool. Allow cookie sheet to cool and continue with remaining dough. Makes: 24 4-inch cookies.

Per cookie: 245 calories (percent of calories from fat, 51), 3 grams protein, 29 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 15 grams fat (9 grams saturated), 38 milligrams cholesterol, 271 milligrams sodium.

Butter & Cream’s Salted Butterscotch Ice Cream

Wisniewski recommends using Plugra butter in this recipe.

2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup non-fat dry milk powder

5 egg yolks

4 tablespoons European-style salted butter

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice. Cover ice with cold water. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together cream, milk and milk powder. Set aside.

In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk egg yolks. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. When butter stops foaming, stir in sugar and salt. Cook until sugar has melted and mixture is boiling. Carefully pour in cream mixture (mixture will expand and foam up) and whisk until smooth. Attach a candy thermometer to pan and cook mixture, whisking gently, until it reaches 100 degrees. Remove from heat.

Use a heatproof 1/2 cup measure and whisk 1/2 cup hot cream mixture into egg yolks. When mixture is smooth, add another 1/2 cup hot cream mixture to egg mixture. Then whisk egg mixture back into saucepan with remaining cream mixture and whisk until smooth.

Return saucepan to medium-high heat and cook until mixture reaches 165 degrees. Use a spatula to stir the sides and bottom of the pan constantly. Remove from heat.

Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl. Sink bowl into prepared ice bath and chill, stirring occasionally, until mixture has cooled. Stir in vanilla and refrigerate mixture until thoroughly chilled. May be prepared up to one day ahead.

Freeze ice cream according to directions with your ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to a chilled container and freeze at least eight hours before serving. Makes: 4 cups

Per 1/2-cup serving: 441 calories (percent of calories from fat, 65), 6 grams protein, 33 grams carbohydrates, no fiber, 33 grams fat (19 grams saturated), 257 milligrams cholesterol, 494 milligrams sodium.

X