Sometimes, there's nothing more satisfying that biting into a cool and refreshing ice cream sandwich on a hot summer day. With July 4th mere weeks away, why not reinvent the wheel with a festive take on the frozen treat? This fun recipe, dreamed up by food blogger Brenda Score of A Farmgirl's Dabbles, gives the nostalgic dessert a brand-new look by incorporating red velvet shortbread and celestial cookie molds. Pro tip: Serve your sandwiches on a chilled marble pastry board ($50; williams-sonoma.com) to keep them frozen longer than a standard serving tray would allow—that is, unless your hungry guests clear the platter first. Read on for the full breakdown.
Red Velvet Ice Cream Star Sandwiches
Makes 24 sandwiches
Active Time 1 hour
Total Time 4 hours
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 2-oz bottle red liquid food coloring
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 gallon premium vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup red decorating sugar
1. Beat butter and sugar with a stand mixer at medium-low speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add food coloring and vanilla extract; mix until coloring is evenly distributed.
2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl. Add dry mixture to the butter mixture and beat at medium-low speed until just incorporated.
3. Divide dough in half, flatten each half into a 4-inch-round disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 2 hours.
4. Meanwhile, place a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper in the freezer. Line another rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap, allowing 1 inch to extend over the sides, and set aside.
5. Let ice cream soften at room temperature until easily stirred yet still frozen, 20-30 minutes. Once ice cream is soft, transfer to a large bowl, and stir until smooth. Pour ice cream into the plastic-lined baking sheet, spread into an even layer, and refreeze until solid, at least 1 hour.
6. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
7. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
8. Place 1 dough disk on a lightly floured surface, and roll with a lightly floured rolling pin into 1/4-inch thick. Cut out 24 stars with a 2 ½-inch star-shaped cutter ($8; amazon.com), and place them 1-2 inches apart. Sprinkle cookies with decorating sugar.
9. Bake cookies until dark red, but not browned, 11-13 minutes. Cool them on the tray for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely, about 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough.
10. Using the same star-shaped cutter, cut frozen ice cream into 24 stars, dipping the cutter in warm water between cuts. Transfer them to a pre-frozen parchment-lined tray.
11. Quickly assemble desserts by sandwiching ice cream between two cookies, sugar sides out, and gently pressing them together to seal. Transfer them to a baking sheet and freeze in a single layer wrapped in plastic until ready to serve.