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Last updated: August 23. 2013 11:47PM - 201 Views

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The beauty of ice cream in summer is you really dont need to do anything to it to enjoy it. A big unadorned bowl is a simple, delicious pleasure all on its own.



Still, sometimes we cant help but tinker with perfection. So for our July Fourth celebration, we decided to take the seasons finest treat and make it even finer. We created a DIY ice cream sandwich buffet perfect for any backyard barbecue event. And we quickly discovered the possibilities were boggling.



Start with the bread of the sandwiches. Were going to assume you dont want to bake your own cookies. Thats fine, because there are all sorts of choices available at the grocer. And dont hesitate to get creative. Graham crackers, slices of cake, even cinnamon buns or doughnuts can be pressed into service. Play around with different sizes, too. Small cookies can be used for ice cream sandwich sliders.



And dont forget to dress your sandwiches. Smear toppings such as fudge, caramel or peanut sauce onto the cookies (much as you would when assembling a PB&J) before adding the ice cream.



Then there are the many choices of fillings ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, gelato, sherbet We suggest serving them one of two ways. The easiest way is to soften the frozen treats slightly so they are easily scooped and spread on the bread. To soften them, you can either leave them at room temperature for 10 or so minutes, or microwave them for 10 to 20 seconds.



Alternatively, select frozen treats packed in pint-sized cardboard tubs. Use a serrated knife to carefully slice each tub crosswise into four or five rounds, then arrange the rounds on a baking sheet. Keep the rounds frozen until ready to assemble. Just dont let the rounds sit out at room temperature too long while people are assembling their sandwiches; the ice cream will soften quickly.



We start you off with ideas for some creative combinations, but your best bet is to wander the grocery store and explore the options.



When it comes to enjoying the buffet, encourage your guests to get a little crazy. Why sandwich just one variety of ice cream when you could combine two or more? And assure them that creating totally over-the-top treats is not just appropriate, but expected. Try sandwiching chocolate ice cream between two whoopie pies with layers of peanut sauce and marshmallow spread, for example.



ICE CREAM SANDWICH BUFFET INGREDIENTS



For the bread:



Graham crackers



Pound cake, sliced and toasted



Chocolate wafer cookies



Oatmeal raisin cookies



Chocolate chip cookies



Molasses cookies



Sugar cookies



Whoopie pies



For the spreads:



Chocolate fudge sundae sauce



Caramel sauce



Butterscotch topping



Fruit jams, such as raspberry or strawberry



Marshmallow spread



Nutella



For the frozen fillings:



Ice cream



Sorbet



Frozen yogurt



Sherbet



Gelato



SHORTCAKE SANDWICH



Spread 2 pieces of thinly sliced and toasted pound cake with strawberry jam, then fill with vanilla or strawberry ice cream.



BLACK AND RED



Sandwich raspberry sorbet between chocolate wafer cookies.



CREAMSICLE



Sandwich orange sherbet between vanilla sugar cookies. Add a smear of chocolate fudge sauce, if desired.



SMORE



Spread marshmallow topping on 2 graham crackers, then fill with rocky road or chocolate ice cream.



LEMON SPICE



Drizzle a touch of butterscotch on a soft molasses cookie, then top with lemon sorbet or sherbet, then a second molasses cookie.






Ice cream sandwich buffet
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