Using extra rich homemade brownies and your favorite flavor ice cream, you can make brownie ice cream sandwiches at home. My #1 tip: Give the assembled brownies plenty of time to freeze so they slice into neat squares or rectangles.
Welcome to the June Baking Challenge! Complete with 8 ingredient homemade brownies, these brownie ice cream sandwiches are inspired by the store-bought version we all know and love. In addition to letting the assembled brownies freeze overnight, I recommend slightly under-baking the thin sheets of brownies so they aren’t rock solid after freezing. What a difference it makes!
I have a full list of success tips, as well as a video tutorial and step-by-step photos, so make sure you browse this post before getting started. I can’t wait for you to try these at home!
These Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches Are:
- Fun to make
- Inspired by the store-bought version
- Made with extra rich homemade brownies
- Awesome with vanilla ice cream, but you must try coffee or strawberry!
- A wonderful make-ahead treat
- Great in the freezer for up to 1 month
**Though the full detailed instructions are written below, let me walk you through the process so you understand what you’re doing.
Overview: How to Make Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches
I found this recipe idea on Tasty and was thrilled to try it with homemade brownies. The most difficult part of recipe testing was finding the perfect brownie recipe that would (1) be thin enough (2) be soft enough and (3) taste good enough. A hard code to crack, but I started with my seriously fudgy homemade brownies and built on that foundation.
- Make homemade brownie batter. Using my homemade brownies as the base, I increased the butter, left out the melted chocolate, and added a bit of baking powder. I left out the chocolate so these brownies could be softer and, well, more convenient. (They’re made with only cocoa powder, so if you ever need a 9×13 inch pan of brownies that uses just cocoa powder, here’s your recipe– and you can use the same baking/cooling instructions as my homemade brownies. I don’t recommend a 9×13 inch baking pan for making these ice cream sandwiches, though. See next step.) I also added butter to make up for the loss of liquid chocolate and added baking powder to give the brownies a little lift and extra softness.
- Bake in two 9-inch baking pans. Use 2 9-inch square baking pans for the correct thickness. I only have one 9-inch square baking pan, so I bake the batter in batches. I do not recommend one 9×13 inch pan for this recipe. Though the brownie batter will fit and you could cut the cooled sheet of brownies in half, the “sandwich” will still be too thick. An 8-inch pan is too small. You could try two 9-inch round pans of brownies, but you won’t have even ice cream sandwich squares. Before baking, place a piece of parchment directly on top of the batter– this helps the brownies stay flat and prevents the brownies from puffing up too much.
- Under-bake. A quick 15-16 minutes per thin square sheet of brownies. As the brownies cool for a few minutes, remove your ice cream from the freezer so it slightly softens.
- Scoop ice cream on top of one layer of brownies. Carefully spread into an even layer.
- Place 2nd square sheet of brownies on top.
- Freeze. Place the whole pan in the freezer for at least 12 hours. I find 12-18 hours is the perfect amount of time. Any less and the ice cream will still be pretty soft and squish out when you try to cut them. The longer after 18 hours, the harder the sandwiches are to cut.
- Cut. Use a very sharp knife and some arm muscle!
The brownie batter is thick, so do your best to spread it into your lined pan(s). Lining with parchment paper is imperative so you can easily lift the brownie square out of the pan as a whole. Bake with parchment paper directly on top, too. This prevents the brownies from puffing up too much.
You’ll have two square sheets of super thin and soft brownies.
Soften ice cream, then spread it on top.
Cover with 2nd square sheet of brownies.
Freeze, then cut into squares or rectangles.
Success Tips (Follow These Closely)
- Use parchment paper: You need parchment paper to line the square baking pan(s) with enough overhang on the sides so you can lift the warm brownies out as a whole for assembly. You also need parchment paper placed directly on top of the brownie batter to keep them flat. I swear by these pre-cut sheets of parchment.
- Use 9-inch square pans: Best thickness for these ice cream sandwiches. See recipe notes below!
- Under-bake the square sheets of brownies: To prevent the brownies from turning break-your-teeth hard in the freezer, slightly under-bake them. Pay very close attention to this bake time. They will be very soft coming out of the oven.
- Freeze for 12-18 hours: As mentioned above, any shorter than this and your ice cream will squeeze out of the sandwich as you cut. Any longer and they’ll be delicious, just very hard to cut.
- Use your sharpest knife to cut: A super sharp knife and arm muscle works. At 8 months pregnant, this was a workout!
- 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (85g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder*
- 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 gallon vanilla ice cream (slightly softened– you can use any flavor and you’ll have a little leftover)
- Preliminary note: For best success, I recommend reviewing the recipe notes and video tutorial above before beginning.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on the sides to lift the warm brownies out. Set aside. (If you have 2 identical 9-inch square baking pans, you can line both and bake the batches of brownie batter at the same time.) I don’t recommend other size baking pans. See my recipe note.
- In a microwave-safe bowl or a saucepan on the stove, melt the butter. After melting, whisk in the sugar until completely combined, then whisk in the eggs and vanilla. The batter will be light brown and a little dull looking.
- Add the cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking powder. Fold it all together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. It will come together, I promise! Batter will be very thick. You will have about 4 cups of batter.
- Spoon and spread half of the batter (about 2 cups) into prepared pan. (Lightly cover remaining batter and keep at room temperature.) The batter is thick and heavy, so do your best to spread it evenly in the lined baking pan. I find the back of a spoon is most helpful. Place a small sheet of parchment paper directly on top of the brownie batter, smoothing it down as pictured in the photos and video tutorial above. The top parchment paper helps the brownies stay flat and prevents the brownies from puffing up too much.
- Bake for 15-16 minutes. I find any longer over-cooks the brownies, making the ice cream sandwiches difficult to cut and eat. Remove brownies from the oven and cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Carefully, using the overhanging parchment paper on the sides, lift the warm and soft square sheet of brownies out of the pan as a whole. Set aside.
- Line the warm pan with another sheet of parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on the sides to lift the warm brownies out. Give the remaining brownie batter a stir. It will be very thick at this point. Add a teaspoon of water to thin out if necessary. (No more.) Spoon and spread the remaining brownie batter in the pan. Place a small sheet of parchment paper directly on top of the brownie batter, just as you did before.
- Bake for 15-16 minutes. Remove brownies from the oven and cool for 15 minutes in the pan. During this cooling time, I remove the ice cream from the freezer so it has a chance to soften.
- Scoop the softened ice cream onto the warm brownie layer in the pan. You’ll use almost all of the gallon of ice cream. Using the back of a spoon or your ice cream scoop, gently spread it into an even and thick layer.
- Carefully pick up the 1st square sheet of brownies and place on top of the ice cream layer. Gently press it down into the ice cream to help it stick. Cover the entire pan with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and freeze for at least 12 hours and up to 1 week. I find 12-18 hours is the perfect amount of time. Any less and the ice cream will still be pretty soft. The longer after 18 hours, the harder the sandwiches are to cut.
- Remove the pan of ice cream brownies from the freezer. Carefully lift them out as a whole using the parchment paper overhang on the sides. Using a very sharp knife and some arm muscle, cut into 8-12 squares or rectangles. Enjoy immediately.
- Wrap each leftover sandwich individually and store in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- Two 9-inch square pans of extra thin brownies is best. I only have one 9-inch square baking pan, so I bake the batter in batches. I do not recommend one 9×13 inch pan for this recipe. Though the brownie batter will fit and you could cut the cooled sheet of brownies in half, the “sandwich” will still be too thick. An 8-inch pan is too small. You could try two 9-inch round pans of brownies, but– obviously– you won’t have even ice cream sandwich squares. For success, I recommend following the recipe.
- Cocoa Powder: You can use either natural or dutch-process cocoa powder.
- Best Ice Cream to Use: Homemade ice cream works wonderfully, but avoid homemade no churn ice cream (made with heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk) because it’s too soft. I usually use store-bought such as Breyers vanilla (or any flavor) or Dreyers/Edys classic or slow churned varieties.
Inspired by Tasty
Keywords: ice cream, ice cream sandwich, brownies
How to Join Sally’s Baking Challenge
Make my homemade brownie ice cream sandwiches recipe with your favorite ice cream flavor. If you’re not into this recipe, here is the alternate June Baking Challenge:
After you make the ice cream sandwiches or alternate recipe, share your recipe photo with me any of the following ways:
- Use #sallysbakingchallenge and tag me (@sallysbakeblog) on your public Instagram or Twitter account. (Instagram messages are hard to track, so please email instead.)
- Upload your recipe photo to my Facebook page or Facebook group.
- Email me your recipe photo.
For a bonus entry, leave a review on the recipe below!
By sharing your photo, you are automatically entered in the baking challenge for the $250 Amazon gift card prize. My assistants and I keep track of your photos and randomly select 1 winner at the end of the month. The challenge is open to the whole world. Challenge ends on June 29th 2020 at 5pm ET. The winner will be selected at random and posted in the July Baking Challenge blog post on June 30th 2020.
Visit the Sally’s Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions about my baking challenges!