These homemade ice cream sandwiches with dulce de leche are so easy and delicious! And they are fun to dress up for every occasion. Add red, white, and blue sprinkles for your 4th of July picnic. Or dredge them through your favorite ice cream toppings like chocolate sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, toasted coconut, or chopped almonds. The possibilities are endless. When I’m playing dress-up with these homemade ice cream sandwiches, it brings me back to my dress-up Barbie sessions when I was a little girl, no lie. (I was a huge Barbie fan?)
Cuban Flavors I Grew Up Loving
One of the things I love so much about these homemade ice cream sandwiches is that they have two of the flavors I grew up eating… dulce de leche and Maria crackers.
If you’re not familiar with dulce de leche, it’s similar to caramel but it’s very spreadable and has an even richer taste than caramel. The main difference between dulce de leche and caramel is that dulce de leche is made with sweetened condensed milk, and caramel is made with sugar and water. You should easily find dulce de leche in your grocery store aisle right next to the sweetened condensed milk. The brand I used is Nestle.
To make dulce de leche at home, you bake the sweetened condensed milk in a water bath (bain-marie method) for several hours. Or you can simmer the can on the stovetop fully submerged in water. This process takes a few hours, and you need to keep adding hot water to keep the can fully submerged. But you don’t have to go through all that trouble for this recipe. You can use the store-bought dulce de leche, it’s just as good.
Maria crackers are the Cuban version of graham crackers. I would eat these crackers spread with dulce de leche or with cream cheese and guava. I like them more than graham crackers because they are thinner and look prettier for desserts. Really, the main reason is that I grew up eating them. But they do look pretty when you use them in these homemade ice cream sandwiches.
Dulce de Leche and Vanilla Ice Cream Are So Good Together
I also grew up eating ice cream sandwiches made with vanilla ice cream and chocolate wafers, I’m sure we all did. As much as I love that flavor combo, I find the dulce leche and vanilla combo even better! This flavor combo is more subtle than chocolate and vanilla, and builds as you eat it.
I especially love these little homemade ice cream sandwiches rolled in toasted coconut. They remind me of my favorite cookie, alfajores. These are dulce de leche sandwich cookies made with soft vanilla cookies and dulce de leche filling rolled in crushed toasted coconut. I’m so gonna make these for you one day! But until then, you can check out this New York Times recipe for alfajores, if you’re curious.
Easy Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert for Lazy Summers
My little sandwiches are so easy to make, they have only four ingredients and take just a few minutes to prep. But you will want to let them set for a few hours before serving.
Here’s what you need:
Vanilla Ice Cream – I like using French vanilla because it complements the dulce de leche best. Also, make sure you get one that softens without melting too much. I tried making these homemade ice cream sandwiches with Blue Bell ice cream and as much as I loved the taste, I found the ice cream hard to work with. It seemed to melt without softening. So, the sandwiches would end up looking uneven. My favorite brand to use is Publix premium ice cream, but Breyers would also work.
Dulce de Leche – this is sweetened condensed milk that’s been cooked until it gets golden brown and spreadable. A little goes a long way, so go easy. I use about two teaspoons per ice cream sandwich. But you can add more or less to taste.
Maria Crackers – you’ll find these in your grocery store in the aisle with the crackers. If you can’t find these crackers, you can use graham crackers cut in half.
Sprinkles, Toasted Coconut, or Chopped Almonds – the topping you use will depend on the occasion. I like using the toasted coconut or toasted almonds because it’s so good together and looks elegant, like a grown-up dessert. But it’s also fun to use sprinkles and would also have more kid appeal. You can also add sprinkles to mark a holiday, like red and pink for Valentine’s Day, red, white, and blue for Memorial Day and the 4th of July, or Orange and Yellow for the fall.
Assembling These Ice Cream Sandwiches
I have more detailed instructions in the recipe below. But here’s a quick rundown.
You need to work quickly because ice cream melts fast and you don’t want a cold mess on your hands. So, prep the sprinkles and have everything handy before you take the ice cream out of the freezer. Also, have a ready container you can add the sandwiches to so you can put them back in the freezer.
Here we go:
- Have your sprinkles, almonds, or toasted coconut ready in a bowl.
- Take the ice cream out and let it soften as you prep the Maria crackers.
- Spread about one teaspoon of dulce de leche on each Maria cracker, on the “bottom” side. You want the pretty embossed side to show in your finished ice cream sandwich.
- Once all the cookies are prepped, add one scoop to half the crackers and then place a second cracker on top and gently press down.
- Roll the edges in the sprinkles or other topping.
- Place these back in the freezer to let them set. This will allow the Maria cracker to soften and the ice cream to harden so it’s not a melting mess when you eat it. Although, a melty mess is not so bad if you’re a kid and there’s a water hose nearby!
Have fun making these little homemade ice cream sandwiches and let me know how they turn out in the comments below.Print
These homemade ice cream sandwiches with dulce de leche are so easy and delicious! And they are fun to dress up for every occasion! Add your favorite sprinkles for garnish or use toasted coconuts or chopped almonds.
A gallon of French vanilla ice cream (you’ll need about 3 cups of ice cream for 12 ice cream sandwiches)
1 can dulce de leche (you’ll need about a half cup)
24 Maria crackers
1 cup of sprinkles, almonds, or shredded coconut for garnish
Prep the garnish:
You want to have a bowl of these ready before you start since the ice cream melts so fast. So, toast and chop the almonds. Or, toast the coconut and crush them a bit to make smaller pieces. If you’re using sprinkles, just pour these into a small bowl.
Make sure you have a container already set up to store the ice cream sandwiches. The first time I made these, I had to scramble to find something while my babies were melting!
Prep the crackers:
Take the ice cream out so it starts to soften. You can’t press it down if it’s too hard.
Spread about one teaspoon of dulce de leche on each Maria cracker, on the “bottom” side. You want the pretty embossed side to show in your finished ice cream sandwich.
Assemble the ice cream sandwich:
Once all the cookies are prepped, add one scoop to half the crackers and then place a second cracker on top and gently press down. Then roll the ice cream sandwiches in the sprinkles or other garnish. If you find that they are melting too fast. Place in the freezer to set and then roll in the sprinkles after the ice cream has set.
A gallon of ice cream and a can of dulce de leche will yield way more than 12 ice cream sandwiches, so feel free to make more. Just make sure you increase the amount of Maria crackers and sprinkles you buy to accommodate a larger quantity.
You’ll find the assembly to be a bit of a messy process and the ice cream sandwiches may not look perfectly even. This is the beauty of the sprinkles. They cover a multitude of mistakes! Once you garnish, they’ll look pretty, and any imperfections will be unnoticeable.
I used a medium ice cream scoop that holds just a little less than a quarter cup of ice cream. If you use a bigger scoop the ratio of ice cream to cookie will be off (unless that’s how you like it).
You can mix and match the garnish and make different ones to please your crowd.
- Serving Size: 1 sandwich
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