Holiday Cool: Maple-Gingerbread Ice Cream Sandwiches

In my continuing quest to serve pumpkin-free desserts for Thanksgiving, I often end up layering flavors and textures: pretzel with caramel with chocolate, lemon with ginger with marshmallow, or cherry with cranberry with pear. I guess maybe I’m hoping that no one will notice the absence of pumpkin if I pile as many autumnal tastes on the table as I can.

I think my nefarious plan is working better than ever. This year’s distraction, which brought sweet maple together with a pinch of cinnamon and ginger, a dash of allspice, and a lick of molasses in a handheld package, made us all a little giddy and giggly, like little kids getting away with something sneaky at the grown-ups’ table.

maple gingerbread ice cream sandwiches
And it proved beyond a doubt that ice cream sandwiches aren’t just for the summer months—a cold dessert over the holidays is a welcome change from the vats of hot chocolate, mountains of sugar cookies, and bowls of foil-wrapped candies that pile up in December (though one of these sandwiches would pair awfully well with a mug of salted caramel hot cocoa).

I know that time is at a premium this month, too—we’ve all got parties and cookie swaps and frantic gift searches and, oh yeah, lots of work to finish before everyone skedaddles home at the end of the month. I’ve been holding on to this no-ice-cream-maker-necessary recipe from Bon Appetit for a while, and this seemed like the perfect time to test it out. The soft-serve-esque maple cream firms up nicely thanks to an egg custard/whipped cream emulsion, but melts quickly once out of the freezer, so work quickly when assembling your ice cream sandwiches.

The cookies you use to build your sandwiches are up to you: make a homemade batch of gingerbread if that’s your thing, mix it up with oatmeal cookies if you want a little texture, or just grab a fresh few dozen from your favorite bakery if you’re pressed for time. No one’s judging; everyone’s just grateful for a new and unexpected treat mixed in with the traditional, tried, and true.

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  1. says

    I’m starting to think that I’m the only one in our little group that enjoys pumpkin. I tried to thwart your nefarious plan and ended up being the only one to eat a slice of maple pumpkin pie. Given that James is STILL talking about these ice cream sandwiches, I think I’ll have to make them for him. Must clean out the freezer first…

    • Casey BarberCasey Barber says

      There are a few left in our freezer, but I fear they won’t make the trip to your house intact!

    • Casey BarberCasey Barber says

      I like my gingerbread cookies thin and crispy, but they’ll soften a bit in the freezer once you’ve assembled the sandwiches, so a puffy, soft cookie would be equally awesome. YES to an eggnog ice cream too! The same thought was running through my mind. Can you imagine a peppermint-chocolate cookie with eggnog? THE POSSIBILITIES.