Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwiches
These Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwiches are a fun twist on a classic frozen treat. Creamy cheesecake ice cream is sandwiched between crisp red velvet shortbread cookies, all in the shape of a star. Just the ticket for staying cool and celebrating summer and the fourth of July!
Easy Red Velvet Ice Cream Sandwiches
Frozen Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwiches are a fun twist on a classic ice cream treat. These homemade ice cream sandwiches, made with red velvet shortbread cookies and tangy cheesecake ice cream, are a delightful way to celebrate summer, plus Memorial Day and the 4th of July!
When it comes to patriotic desserts, these red velvet ice cream sandwiches are THE STAR of the party!!
Biting into an ice cream sandwich is a quick ticket to childhood memories for me. Lazy hot summer days, riding my bike from sun-up to sun-down with my sisters and friends, finding a sprinkler to cool off in…and enjoying an ice cream treat from the giant chest freezer that Mom kept stocked so well.
Ice cream sandwiches were always one of my favorites, so I LOVE the patriotism + nostalgia of these homemade star-shaped frozen treats!
What You’ll Need
You will need a short list of common ingredients for both the ice cream and the red velvet cookies.
For the Ice Cream:
- Cream cheese – For the best creamy texture, be sure to use full-fat cream cheese.
- Lemon zest – Gives a contrasting brightness to the creamy ice cream.
- Sour cream – Again, be sure to use a full-fat variety. The sour cream gives added tang and creaminess to the ice cream.
- Half and half – To lighten up the texture of this cream cheese ice cream.
- Granulated sugar
- Kosher salt
For the Star Cookies:
- Unsalted butter – Softened.
- Granulated sugar
- Kosher salt
- Cocoa powder – For that classic red velvet flavor and coloring.
- Red food coloring – To boost the bright red color.
- Pure vanilla extract
- Red sugar – To sprinkle on top for a sparkly, lightly crispy effect.
Can I Use Different Ice Cream or Cookies?
If red velvet cookies aren’t your thing, you can easily make these ice cream sandwiches with other types of homemade cookies. You could use a classic shortbread cookie, chocolate chip cookie, or even sugar cookie.
As far as ice cream goes, you can use store-bought or homemade vanilla ice cream as a shortcut. But I definitely recommend making the cheesecake ice cream – it’s beautifully creamy and adds a delightful fresh tanginess to the ice cream sandwich.
If you do decide to change up either the cookie or the ice cream, or both, be sure to think about how the flavor of the cookie will pair with the flavor of the ice cream. Ensure that they’re a good match.
How to Make Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwiches
Making homemade ice cream sandwiches is surprisingly easy. Just be sure to allow time for each step, and for the finished sandwiches to properly chill in the freezer – overnight or at least 3 hours in the freezer is best. This recipe is perfect for making ahead of time!
- Make the ice cream mixture. Blend the cream cheese and other ice cream ingredients in a blender until smooth.
- Freeze the ice cream. Chill the mixture for an hour then freeze in your ice cream maker. Transfer to a baking pan lined with parchment paper and spread in a smooth layer. Freeze for at least 2 hours, until completely frozen.
- Make the cookie dough. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the flour and salt until just incorporated, followed by the cocoa powder. Add the food coloring and vanilla, mixing until the color is evenly distributed.
- Chill. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and form each one into a round disc. Wrap each disc tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Cut the cookies. Roll the discs to 1/4″ thickness and use a star cookie cutter to cut out the star shapes. Sprinkle with red sugar and place on the baking sheet. Here’s the star cutters that I have.
- Bake. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes and then let cool completely.
- Assemble the ice cream sandwiches. Dip the star cookie cutter into a bowl of hot water, then use it to cut out the ice cream stars. Place the star ice cream on top of an upside down cookie, then top with another star cookie. Repeat with all remaining ice cream stars and ice cream cookies.
- Freeze. Place in a freezer-safe container and freeze until thoroughly frozen. Keep frozen until serving.
Can I Cut These Into Different Shapes?
Absolutely. Feel free to cut your ice cream sandwiches into whatever shape you desire. However, I do recommend using simpler shapes without lots of details, for easier cutting. Hearts, circles, and Christmas trees would all be good options, depending on the occasion or holiday.
You could also just cut rectangles, like the traditional ice cream sandwiches we all know, if you don’t have any cookie cutters on hand. This would also be a very efficient way to use both the cookie dough and the ice cream, with less “scraps” left over from cutting out shapes!
Tips for Success
Here are a few tips for making this patriotic dessert even easier.
- Roll the dough twice. If the dough is sticky, just pick it up and pat into a round, flour your surface again, and roll out the dough again. I find that this second rolling does the trick every time.
- Do not overmix the dough. Mix the cookie dough just until the ingredients are combined. Overmixing can lead to denser cookies.
- Don’t overbake the cookies. Keep an eye on the cookies the last few minutes of baking to ensure they don’t brown too much. They should be fully set and just lightly browned when removed from the oven.
- Allow plenty of time for chilling. These red velvet ice cream sandwiches are a dessert that needs to be prepared in advance, since both the ice cream and dough need to chill. The cookies also need to cool completely before assembling the ice cream cookie sandwiches. And they need time to freeze in the freezer once assembled.
How to Store
Place your homemade ice cream sandwiches in an airtight container immediately after assembling. If you need to stack them, place parchment paper between layers so the cookies don’t stick together.
These will keep well in the freezer for up to a month. Be sure to keep frozen until just before serving as the ice cream will melt.
More Patriotic Desserts & Eats:
- Poppin’ Patriotic Marshmallow Pops
- Fudgy Patriotic Brownies
- Patriotic Caramel Corn
- Mojito Fruit Salad
Like this recipe? Save it to Pinterest!
Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwiches
for the ice cream:
- 8 ounces full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup full fat sour cream
- ½ cup half and half
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- pinch of kosher salt
for the star cookies:
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons 1 ounce red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- red sugar to sprinkle on top
- For the ice cream: Cut cream cheese into small chunks and place in a blender or food processor. Add the lemon zest, sour cream, half and half, sugar, and salt. Puree until very smooth, ensuring there are no chunks.
- Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator for 1 hour, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Line a 9'' square baking pan with parchment paper and then spread the ice cream into the prepared pan, smoothing it out as much as possible. Freeze ice cream in the pan until it is completely frozen. This will take at least 2 hours.
- For the star cookies: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until the mixture is a bit fluffy. Add in the flour and salt, and mix until just incorporated. Then add the cocoa powder and mix again. Carefully add the food coloring and vanilla, mixing on lowest speed until red coloring is evenly distributed.
- Divide dough into 2 equal portions and pat each into a 4" round disc. Wrap each disc tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Once dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin. Remove one dough disc from the refrigerator and roll to 1/4'' thick. If the dough is sticky, just pick it up and pat into a round, flour your surface again, and roll out the dough again. I find that this second rolling does the trick every time. With a small star-shaped cookie cutter (mine measures 2-1/4'' across, here's a link to the star cutters I have), cut out star shapes and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle stars with red sugar.
- Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, taking care to not let the cookies brown. Remove from oven and let cookies rest on baking sheet a couple minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To finish: Cut the frozen ice cream around the perimeter of the pan, and then gently remove the frozen slab of ice cream using the parchment paper overhang. Dip the same star cookie cutter used for the cookie into a shallow bowl of hot water and start cutting out ice cream stars, dipping the cutter into the hot water in between each cut. To get the most stars out of the ice cream, be sure to fit the cuts as close together as possible.
- Turn a star cookie upside down and place an ice cream star on top of the cookie. Top with another star cookie, right side up, and gently press together to make a sandwich. Repeat until all ice cream stars are used. You will have more star cookies than you need.
- Immediately place the ice cream sandwiches in a freezer-safe container, and place in the freezer until thoroughly frozen. Keep frozen until ready to serve.
This post was originally published in 2012 and then updated in 2022.