Hot weather is made for homemade root beer cookie ice cream sandwiches! Bake a batch and store in the freezer for a delicious dessert any time.
Darlings, this might be one of my favorite cookie ice cream sandwich recipes at the moment. After your first bite, you’ll understand why. These dark cookies have a perfect hint of root beer flavor that pairs so well with vanilla ice cream. Optional sprinkles up the fun factor, of course. And the best part is, if you can bake drop cookies, you can definitely make your own ice cream cookie sandwiches! A worthwhile reason to turn on the oven this summer, if you ask me.
I really didn’t think anything could top ice cream macarons. But these root beer ice cream sandwiches just might win out depending on my mood. This recipe gets bonus points for being far quicker to bake, haha.
What is root beer extract?
A few months ago, the Godfather and I were on a trip and decided to wander around a local grocery store – as we do. While walking down the spice aisle, I spy something new to me on the shelf… root beer extract! Did you know this was a thing? Because I learned something brand new that day in the grocery store.
Root beer extract is a very concentrated syrup sold in some grocery stores for making your own root beer at home. My bottle is the Zatarain’s brand and there are instructions for mixing up your own root beer on the bottle. Have I tried it? No. But that wasn’t the reason to purchase, was it? Root beer extract (or concentrate) is perfect for use in baked goods! Like these root beer cookie, ice cream sandwiches, naturally.
How did you get the dark color on the cookies?
This was probably the trickiest part of working out this recipe. I wanted a rich, dark colored cookie for contrast, but didn’t want to add any ingredients that would interfere with the flavor of the root beer extract. Without anything added for color, the cookies ended up a kind of pale tan.
But since that didn’t say “root beer cookie” to me, and I didn’t want to use gel food coloring, I found a work-around. I used black cocoa powder. Black cocoa powder is a very dark form of dutch cocoa powder. It doesn’t have a lot of cocoa flavor, but it adds a rich color to recipes.
Because black cocoa powder has very little chocolate flavor, you typically use a 50/50 mix of black cocoa powder and natural cocoa powder in a recipe where you want a chocolate flavor. We don’t here, so I only use black cocoa powder. If I don’t have black cocoa powder – it’s not always easy to find, nor do I always keep it in the house – a dark dutch cocoa powder will do. The Hershey’s special dark can be found at most grocery stores and it makes a good substitute.
How do I assemble the ice cream cookie sandwiches?
There are a couple ways to do this. The first is just softening your ice cream, place a scoop in the middle of the cookie, smooshing another cooking on top, and hoping for the best. It can work, but the results aren’t particularly even or pretty.
A second option is to soften the ice cream, spread a single layer on a lined jelly roll pan. Freeze until solid, then use a cookie cutter to cut out the ice cream circles and layer. I did this once. It was a decent amount of work and added an extra dish to wash. Hot weather is not for washing dishes. I like this option when I am making ice cream cookies with a thick ice cream filling. My in-house test crew preferred a thinner filling layer for this recipe.
The third option, and my favorite for these root beer cookie ice cream sandwiches, is to use a piping bag. I softened the (store-bought) vanilla ice cream to just a scooping consistency. I placed a few scoops in a large piping bag, snipped the tip, and piped the ice cream onto my cookies. Top with another cookie and voila, pretty ice cream cookie sandwiches!
If you work just a few cookies at a time, the ice cream doesn’t get too soft with the heat of your hands. Place each assembled cookie flat on a baking sheet and return to the freezer for about 15 minutes to harden a bit. Then you can package the cookies in an airtight container in the freezer. They’ll keep up to 3 months. And when you want dessert, you just grab one and enjoy!
You’ll have enough for 18-20 sandwich cookies.**
Happy baking, darlings!
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup black cocoa powder (extra dark also works)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons root beer extract
- 1 pint vanilla ice cream for the filling
- sprinkles for decorating, optional
- Preheat your oven to 375 F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl (you can use a hand mixer just fine), stir together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- Cut the softened butter into tablespoons and using the low speed on your mixer, stir in the butter, egg, and root beer extract.
- Mix until well combined. The dough should just come together, but not look too wet.
- Use a tablespoon or small cookie scoop to portion out your cookie dough on your baking sheets.
- Slightly flatten each disc.
- Bake the sheets for 10 minutes, rotating once halfway through baking time.
- Allow the cookies to sit for 5 minutes on the sheet before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Let the ice cream soften while the cookies are cooling.
- When the ice cream has just softened enough to scoop, transfer some to a piping bag or freezer-weight plastic bag. Snip an opening of about 1/2 an inch.
- Pair the cookies together by size. Pipe a circle of ice cream on one cookie, and top with the other. If you are using sprinkles, place the sprinkles in a shallow dish, and press the edges of the cookie into the sprinkles. Place the cookie flat on a cool baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
- Freeze the cookies for 15 minutes until the ice cream has hardened again, then you can transfer to an airtight container for longer storage in the freezer. Prepared cookies can be stored up to 3 months.
- If you are working in a hot kitchen, you may need to fill the cookies in batches, putting them in the freezer as you go.
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