Pumpkin, Pecan & White Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches – no churn spiced pumpkin ice cream sandwiched by buttery, oaty cookies. Jump to Recipe
I first tried my hand at ice cream sandwiches last summer. Mainly through my own impatience, it was a recipe that never ended up over here. The premise was good – coconut ice cream scooped between my favourite chocolate chip cookies, then half coated in melted dark chocolate. Unfortunately, the ice cream wasn’t quite set enough when I set about trying to photograph. All too quickly there was ice cream melting all over the table and dripping down onto the deck, with dark chocolate splattered over haphazard pieces of baking paper. The chocolate refused to set, and I didn’t have enough time to put them back in the freezer as it was late afternoon and #naturallight was in short supply. Giving up, I tried to take a bite, but the half-melted inner squished right out the other end of the sandwich. Sticky fingers, sticky camera, sticky shirt, sticky table. It still tasted good – no matter how messy ice cream and chocolate chip cookies get, it is difficult to make them taste bad – but it was so not what I had envisaged.
Fast forward 8 months and half way across the world to Williamsburg, NYC. Thalia & I stood on the shore of Brooklyn, mesmerised by the view of Manhattan. We were at Smorgasburg, an outdoor weekend street food market. I’d just eaten my first poke bowl (SO GOOD) and tried a brisket burger with a sadly plasticky, orange-tinged bun because I figured that was pretty american, right? With the sun beating down, queuing up for ice cream sandwiches seemed like the obvious course of action. And these weren’t the melty kind. Espresso ice cream & caramel between brown butter cookies, they were rock-solid and sturdy, with no ice cream threatening to drip anywhere. Perfect for photos, non-sticky fingers and non-ice cream coated clothing.
When I was invited to the annual #virtualpumpkinparty hosted by Sara at Cake Over Steak and Aimee at Twigg Studios, I was torn – over here in Australia, we’re heading straight into summer. Pumpkin pies and warm pumpkin pastas aren’t exactly in season. Looking back through NYC photos it hit me – pumpkin ice cream sandwiches were the way to go: fall flavours, pumpkin parties, smorgasburg memories and a redemption of last summer’s fails all in one.
Cool, creamy pumpkin ice cream, chewy white chocolate cookies and a pecan crunch meld together in the perfect warm-weather autumn sandwich. It starts with a buttery, crisp on the outside yet chewy on the inside cookie, stuffed with oats, pecans and sweet white chocolate chunks. The ice cream is of my favourite no-churn variety (how else to make it in a rental holiday house kitchen with virtually no cooking supplies!) and flavoured with homemade pumpkin puree, cinnamon and ginger. I froze the ice cream in a baking tin to form a layer the perfect thickness for an ice cream sandwich, then cut out rounds using a cookie cutter for minimal messiness. I learnt from my mistakes! Lastly, sugar and butter quickly caramelize to form a candied pecan crunch, which is either swirled through the ice cream before freezing or used as a final coating on the edges of the sandwiches. The cookies are also absolutely delicious on their own – almost like a modern nutty, chocolatey ANZAC biscuit.
These are a few of the pumpkin party contributions that I can’t wait to make, and head over to Sara’s Pumpkin & Kale Risotto to see a full list of all of the other incredible contributions from bloggers all over the world!
- This Pumpkin & Maple Caramel Baked French Toast from Two Red Bowels
- Roasted Pumpkin with Yogurt and Hazelnut Dukkah from Molly Yeh
- Pumpkin Scones with Maple Butter from Lynette at InHappenstance
- Super Soft Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls from The Sugar Hit
- There are two options with the candied pecans. You can either use these to stir through the ice cream, or on the edges of the ice cream sandwiches. I originally did them on the edge, as per the photos, but I think stirring them through the ice cream would make it easier to eat, and the pecan crunch would be more evenly spread through. I have given options for both in the instructions.
- I froze the ice cream in a 20x30cm baking tin then used a cookie cutter to cut out even rounds. Another option would be to freeze the ice cream in a regular container, then scoop balls of ice cream to flatten between the cookies for a more rustic look.
- You can either serve immediately after assembling the sandwiches or return to the freezer for up to 3 days before serving. Serving immediately will give you chewy, room temperature cookies with the cold ice cream, while freezing with give crunchy, hard cookies. Both are good – it’s really personal preference and what you have time for.
- In Australian and New Zealand, there is no canned pumpkin puree. Instead, I made my own. Recipe follows:
- Cut about 1/4 of a pumpkin (about 400-500g, raw) into slices, including the skin.
- Dry roast on a sheet of baking paper (no olive oil, butter or other spices) for 30-45 minutes (depending on the size of your pumpkin) until fork tender.
- Remove from the oven and cool until cool enough to handle.
- Peel the skin away from the pumpkin. Place the roasted pumpkin in a food processor or blender and blitz until completely smooth. You should no longer have any fibres or bits in your puree.
- 1 cup pecans , roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 can (400g) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 cups cream
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- Candied pecans (optional, recipe above)
- 1 cup brown sugar , packed (160g)
- 1 cup whole rolled oats (125g)
- 1 cup plain flour (150g)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 150 g butter
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tbsp boiling water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup pecans , chopped
- 1/2 cup white chocolate , chopped into small chunks
Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.
Add pecans, sugar and butter.
Stir constantly until the sugar mixture starts to melt and the nuts are coated (about 5-8 minutes - you should no longer see sugar granules).
Transfer onto a sheet of baking paper and quickly use a couple of utensils or spatulas to separate the nuts out before they set. Leave to harden (10 minutes) then transfer to a container.
You can either use these to stir through the ice cream, or on the edges of the ice cream sandwiches. I originally did them on the edge, as in the photos, but I think stirring them through the ice cream would make it easier to eat, and the pecan crunch would be more evenly spread through.
Line a 20x30 baking tin (or a loaf tin if you want to scoop the ice cream for the sandwiches - see note above)
In a bowl, stir together the sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin puree and spices.
Separately, beat the cream and vanilla essence to stiff peaks.
Gently whisk the pumpkin mixture into the whipped cream until just combined.
Pour into the lined baking tin. Swirl the pecan crunch through the ice cream if using here (see note above)
Cover and freeze overnight (at least 6 hours or up to a week)
Preheat the oven to 160°C and line 1-2 baking trays with baking paper
Combine all the brown sugar, oats and flour in a large bowl.
Melt the butter and vanilla together over a low heat.
Combine the baking soda and boiling water in a small cup, then quickly pour straight into the butter mixture.
Working quickly, pour the butter mix directly into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Using a 2 tbsp cookie scoop, portion out the dough into tightly packed balls (or just roughly 2 tablespoons worth per cookie - you want them as even as possible for symmetrical ice cream sandwiches).
Place them on baking trays, leaving room between them to spread (see photos)
Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. They will be soft, so leave to cool on the trays.
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days before using in the ice cream sandwiches.
Remove the ice cream from the freezer. Using a 7-8cm diameter cookie cutter (or a cutter similar to the size of your cookies), cut out rounds of the ice cream. If you used a loaf tin, scoop balls of the ice cream and flatten it between two cookies.
Sandwich between 2 evenly sized cookies. If your ice cream is very hard, leaving the sandwiches out for a few minutes to soften a little will ensure the ice cream sticks to the cookies
Coat the outer edge of the ice cream with pecan crunch (if you haven’t swirled it through the ice cream)
Either serve immediately or return to the freezer for up to 3 days before serving. Serving immediately will give you chewy, room temperature cookies with the cold ice cream, while freezing with give crunchy, hard cookies. Both are good - it’s really personal preference and what you have time for.