You know I like almond, and you know I love macarons. But did you know that macarons are perhaps the best cookies for ice cream sandwiches?
Soft and chewy, even when frozen solid. Pillowy softness that yields perfectly with each and every bite, and no rogue ice cream squishing out the edges (a common annoyance when you mix ice cream and crunchy cookies).
Lighter-than-air cookies, creamy almond-scented ice cream, and crunchy almonds – if heaven had a taste and texture, this would be it.
The base recipe comes from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. I adapted the recipe slightly to make more, smaller sandwiches (even these are big enough for two). The cookies themselves are fairly foolproof, since the typical measure of macaron-perfection isn’t required. They are quite fragile, however, and so I recommend using the cookie-cutter method described below to assemble them.
If you haven’t made one of Jeni’s ice creams before, they are different than your typical custard-base ice creams. Rather than rely on egg for creaminess, the recipe uses a bit of cornstarch, corn syrup, and cream cheese to create the ideal ice cream texture without the extra richness. The vanilla is crisp and clean, the hint of almond shines. And if you shudder at the thought of tempering eggs, well, with this recipe you don’t have to. No tempering required. And I like her ice water bath method, but I’d still advise refrigerating the base for at least a few hours to really cool it down.
While I chose to do a basic almond flavored macaron filled with vanilla bean and almond ice cream (I told you I love almond), the flavor possibilities here are really endless. Both for the cookies (remember the macaron challenge? ANY of those cookie flavors would be divine super-sized and filled with ice cream!) but also the ice cream itself.
I can’t even.
Almond Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches
- 8 ounces almond flour or very finely ground almonds
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup egg whites (from 6 to 7 large eggs), room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
For Ice Cream:
- 2 cups whole milk, divided
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
- seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup coarsely chopped almonds (if desired, for garnish)
- For cookies, line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Trace 2 1/2 to 3 inch circles on the parchment using a round cookie cutter or drinking glass. Flip over the parchment so that the pencil lines are on the bottom.
- In a food processor, combine almond flour and powdered sugar and pulse until evenly incorporated. Sift mixture through a fine mesh sieve, discarding any large bits remaining.
- In a large metal mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk eggs and salt until frothy. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until egg whites are shiny and hold medium peaks, about 5 minutes.
- Fold the almond mixture into egg whites, one-third at a time, until just combined and no dry ingredients remain. At this point you can also add food coloring if you want more colorful cookies.
- Transfer half of the mixture to a large piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip. Starting in the center and working your way out, pipe spirals of batter inside each traced circle. Refill your piping bag as needed and continue to pipe remaining cookies. Let cookies sit, uncovered, for 30 minutes to dry.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until cookies have risen slightly and bottoms are just barely golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely before releasing from baking sheets. Freeze cookies for at least 1 hour (or up to 1 month) prior to assembling sandwiches.
- To prepare ice cream, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with cornstarch in a small bowl; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk cream cheese, vanilla bean, and salt until smooth (if using extract, wait to add it until the very end). Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice water and set aside.
- Combine remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a saucepan set over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until it begins to boil. Let boil for 4 minutes, then remove from heat. Whisk in cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Pour hot cream mixture into cream cheese mixture and whisk until smooth.
- Pour ice cream base into a gallon-sized zip-top freezer bag and seal. Submerge bag into ice bath and let sit, adding more ice as necessary, until completely cooled, about 30 minutes. At this point the ice cream base can be churned immediately or refrigerated overnight if needed.
- Before churning, line a 9-by-9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and place in the freezer.
- Pour chilled base mixture into the canister of an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. When ice cream is thick and creamy, spread into an even layer in prepared pan. Press a layer of parchment paper or plastic wrap on the surface, then freeze until frozen solid, at least 3 hours or overnight.
- To assemble, place half of macarons flat side up on a work surface. Carefully lift out block of ice cream from baking pan and place on a cutting board. Cut out equal sized rounds using the same cookie cutter or drinking class that you used to trace the cookie templates. Place one round on each cookie. Top with a second cookie and gently press (careful, cookies are fragile!) to adhere. Roll edges in chopped almonds, if desired. Wrap each sandwich in waxed paper or plastic wrap and freeze at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.
Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home.All images and text © Lindsay Landis / Love & Olive Oil
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I was wondering how do you freeze the macaron sandwich. I froze it and the macaron came out rock hard. Thank you
Help! I started measuring the ingredients out for these and I ground up the nuts before measuring out the amount. The original recipe in the Jeni’s Ice cream book says to use 8 ounces of WHOLE nuts and then grind them up into a flour. 8 ounces of ground almonds is completely different than 8 ounces of whole almonds. Do you have any idea how much ground almonds is equivalent to 8 ounces of whole almonds? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Joanna – if you’re measuring by weight, 8oz of ground almonds is equal to 8 ounces of whole almonds! It’s by volume that you run into trouble. Do you have a scale? Otherwise, Google says that 8oz ground almonds is equal to about 2 cups.
So I made these for my dad for father’s day, but have yet to try them. It was surprisingly super easy, perhaps because this is my second time around with a macaron recipe! I didn’t make the ice cream. Instead I bough Hagendaz gelato in salted caramel and pistachio. I’m going to role the pistachio cookies in chopping pistachio. Not so sure what to role the caramel cookies in?
As soon as I saw this picture, I thought: holy Jeni’s! I absolutely love Jeni’s (a few years back I lived in Columbus, OH) and have just recently discovered their ice cream sandwiches in stores here on the West Coast. LOVE the idea of making them at home. Thanks so much for sharing!
I cant believe what an incredible idea that is :o Looks so lovely, I might wanna try that once ;) Thanks for showing!
Oh this is killing me, it looks so delicious! I cannot wait to bite into one of these :)
I love Jeni’s macaron recipe. :) It can be a little finicky in a hot kitchen, so I’m looking forward to trying it again since the weather has turned cooler. Yay for ice cream sandwiches! :)
What a perfect idea! I like macarons and ice creams, so why not to combine it.
This is such a great idea!
I love love love this recipe. I love love love these pics. I love love love your blog.
Lindsay, these look awesome! I love the flavor of almond, and I think they are the perfect size for a dessert. But let’s be honest, I’d probably eat the whole batch :)
These are gorgeous! I still have yet to make a homemaed macaron–one day I’m definitely going to get around to it. Love the idea of spreading out the ice cream on a baking sheet and cutting it with a biscuit cutter…brilliant!
I’ll take one! Or 4 haha
I’ve ordered these from Jeni’s and love them so much. Now I can’t wait to make my own.
Yum these looks SO beautiful and delicious!
Oh my! I must try this. I can just imagine the combination and I know it will be perfect.
I have this cookbook but haven’t tried the macaron ice cream sandwiches. Yours came out looking so pretty!
I have a bunch of ice creams on my blog made from Jeni’s base recipe, I use it all of the time..super easy and creamy. I love the cookie cutter tip,. I made ice cream sandwiches before and couldn’t believe how much of a pain it was to get that flush fitting of cookie to ice cream :)
What a great idea to use them for ice cream sandwiches!
Oh.My.Goodness. you are killing me with these!
These are STUNNING!! Such a creative idea — I know I would LOVE them!!
Wow. I cant get over these!! So beautiful… I can almost taste it. Or maybe that is just my overly hopeful imagination! :)
These look fantastic! I never liked the buttercream style macaron filling. Obviously ice cream would just make them that much better.
Never thought about macarons for ice cream sandwiches… genius!
Love, love, love this ice cream sandwich recipe with almond macarons, Lindsay! I just adore almond anything, really. This is just over-the-moon! Cannot wait to try. Thanks for sharing, girl. Pinning!
I love ice cream and almonds too. I always make macrons for the holidays with a bit of chocolate, I will have to give this idea a try.
Lindsay these are so pretty! I may be the only person left who’s scared to make macarons, but so far I just live vicariously :)
Wow! This is a genius idea! Love!!
I love ice cream and meringues together. But the addition of the almond – sublime. And the tiny little cookie shapes – adorable. Want one – no, two – now. Please!