Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches with Strawberries

“Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches with Strawberries” is just a whimsical, fun summer dessert. The little members of the family can help stir up the brownie batter and everyone will enjoy eating the dessert. The recipe combines a delicious chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and strawberries for the filling. The dessert is frozen and then cut into bars. Who can resist these brownie ice cream sandwiches? And surprise, the strawberries are the star of this recipe. This dessert needs plenty of freezing time (at least 4 hours), so allow adequate time to make the dessert. Let’s get started.

When making the brownie sandwiches, the ice cream needs lots of time to freeze. Of course, if you can’t wait, eat the brownie ice cream bars immediately as they are very tempting. However, beware, ice cream melts quickly — especially in our Louisiana heat.

Make the recipe

First, let me discuss how to assemble the bars. I made this recipe many times, with melted ice cream messes all over my kitchen. I finally came up with a method which worked for me. Although this seems trivial, trust me, it is imporant to understand what we are dealing with so that you avoid the melting ice cream sandwich shown above.

I discovered that it is difficult to cut a completely frozen brownie into bars if you add the ice cream filling to the entire brownie before you cut it. The ice cream filling squishes out and goes all over the counter. And, if the ice cream isn’t completely frozen when you assemble the bars, it goes also everywhere. The best method for me was make the filling first and freeze it completely. Then I baked and cut the brownies, stacked the ice cream filling onto the brownies to make the bars.

To accomplish this, I did a little engineering. I made an aluminum foil mold which was half the size of my baking sheet. Then I frozen the ice cream/strawberry filling in the shallow mold for four hours. After peeling off the aluminum foil, I cut the frozen ice cream filling to match the size of the brownie bars. Then I stacked retangles of frozen filling onto the brownie retangles to make the bars. Success.

Make the filling

Since the ice cream filling took the most time, I made it first. The filling consists of softened vanilla ice cream, mashed strawberries and defrosted whipped topping which are all mixed together. Ah, mashing the strawberries (with a little sugar) is step which the young family members might enjoy. I poured the ice cream concoction into my aluminum foil mold and froze it. (I tried slicing the strawberries, but frozen strawberries slices were difficult to cut and they didn’t have the flavor of the mashed strawberries.)

Brownie Recipe

While the ice cream/strawberry mixture was freezing, we made the brownies. My four-year-old granddaugher had the best time helping with this part. The brownie batter is basically a one bowl recipe. Just dump in the ingredients, one at a time, and stir everything together. I measured out the ingredients and my grandaughter poured them into the bowl and stirred. These are the softened butter — sugar — egg — milk — and vanilla extract. Combine flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder in another a small bowl. Then dump this in and mix well.

A jelly-roll baking sheet pan is just the right size for this recipe This sheet pan (11″ x 15″) is a little smaller than a rimmed cookie sheet. (If all you have is a rimmed cookie sheet; just don’t spread the batter quite to the long edge.)

Line the jelly-roll baking pan with parchment paper. Oil well. Spoon the batter — in several dollops — onto the parchment paper. This step is past the pay grade of a 4-year-old, so the adult supervisor needs to take over at this point. The batter is sticky and thick (after all, it is a brownie) and makes a very thin layer when spread to the edges of the pan. This is not a mistake. With a little patience, you can evenly spread it out to the edges. Use a light touch with the sticky batter and keep going.

Bake the brownie in a 325 degree oven until just baked. Remove from oven, poke holes in the large brownie with a fork and let it cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Assembling the dessert

The last step is to assemble the dessert. This recipe makes 12 bars, so cut the brownie sheet into 24 rectangles (for the tops and bottoms of the bars) — cut vertically to make six rows in the pan from top to bottom — and cut horizonally (side to side) to make four rows.
(6 x 4 = 24).

Meanwhile, remove the frozen ice cream filling from the freezer. Cut it into 12 rectangles (one piece for each bar) — three rows from top to bottom and four crosswise rows. The size of the filling pieces should match the size of the brownies.

Carefully lift up one brownie piece, taking care to unstick the bottom from the parchment paper and transfer it (upside down) to a plate. Place one of the frozen ice cream filling rectangles on top. Then top with another brownie bar, this one right side up. When you are finished, you will have 12 ice cream bars. Here are half of the assembly of bars.

You must work quickly, as the ice cream melts in a short amount of time. Either eat these treats immediately or place back in the freezer to firm up.

The surprise of this dessert is strawberry flavor — the flavor really shines when I mashed up the strawberries (as oppposed to slicing them). The flavors — brownie and strawberries — complemented each other very nicely. Although the brownie is very thin, it is easy to pick up with your hands and didn’t fall apart — another nice surprise.

Yum. Time to eat. We made this dessert last summer on a family vacation. And, yes, everybody loved the dessert. I’m so glad that my granddaugher likes to help in the kitchen. What a treat to have a cook’s helper!

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches with Strawberries

  • Servings: 12 bars
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients for the ice cream filling:

  • 1 pint (2 cups) vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 8 oz (about 1 cup) strawberries
  • 1/2 cup whipped topping, defrosted

Ingredients for the brownies:

  • 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) butter
  • 1/2cup  sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Method and Steps for Ice Cream layer: (Make ice cream layer first, it must freeze for 4 hours.)

  1. Make a mold for the ice cream filling. Cut a piece of aluminum foil slightly wider than the baking sheet and slightly longer than half the length. Using the baking sheet as a mold, press and crimp the edges of the aluminum foil up to make a shallow container as wide and half the length. Set aside.
  2. Add vanilla ice cream to medium-sized bowl. It should be softened but not melted.
  3. Cut the stems off the strawberries, cut strawberries into chunks and transfer to a flat dish such as a plate or pie pan. Add the sugar. Mash the strawberries with a potato masher or the back of a spatua.  (Alternately, chop up with a food processor.)
  4. Mix the mashed strawberries into the ice cream.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped topping using a lifting motion.
  6. Spread the ice cream mixture into the aluminum foil mold and spread out using the spatula to smooth it. Cover with plastic wrap place into freezer to firm up, at least four hours.

Method and Steps for the Brownies:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 11″ x 15″ jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Coat the parchment with oil. (No parchment paper? Use aluminum foil.)
  2. Melt the butter for about 30 seconds in a microwavable bowl until it is softened. It doesn’t have to completely melt.
  3. Transfer the softened butter to a large bowl. Add the sugar. Stir and stir with a wire whip until combined.
  4. Add the egg and beat.
  5. Add the milk and vanilla extract. Stir.
  6. Combine all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder in another bowl. 
  7. Change to a cook’s spoon and pour the flour combination into the liquid ingredients. Stir and stir until it is all combined in. The batter will be thick and sticky. 
  8. Pour the bownie batter by spoonfuls onto the oiled parchment paper. Use a spatula or the cook’s spoon to spread the batter into an even layer all the way to the edges. Use a light touch. The brownie batter is very thick but it will cover the entire surface of the jelly roll pan if you keep spreading. It makes a very thin layer — this is intentional.
  9. Bake in 325 degree oven for 12 – 15 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven to the kitchen counter. Use a fork to prick all over. Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

To finish Ice Cream Brownie Sandwiches:

  1. Cut the brownie into retangular bars, make six vertical rows and four crosswise (horizonal) rows making 24 bars total.
  2. Remove the ice cream filling from freezer. Cut the frozen filling into 12 retanglars, three vertical rows and four crosswise rows. (The filling retangles should match the size of the brownie bars.)
  3. Lift one brownie bar off parchment paper and place face down on a plate. Top with a frozen ice cream filling piece. Place a second brownie bar right side up on ice cream filling to make an ice cream sandwich. Repeat with the reminding brownie bars and ice cream filling pieces. This makes 12 ice cream bars.
  4. Either serve immediately or return to the freezer until ready to serve. The ice cream melts quickly.

The brownie recipe is adapted from an article in our local Advocate newspaper in the summer of 2022. That recipe originated in a newspaper column in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette. Alas, you must have paid subscriptions to both these newspapers to read either article. However, I made so many changes in my recipe that the newspaper articles served only as an inspiration.

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