Next level ice cream sandwiches: lovely, crisp waffles with a ridiculously creamy filling. Don’t forget the sprinkles.
Oh man. You know what makes me happy?
Waffles. Ice cream. Puppies. Not necessarily in that order. But I’m starting with waffles and ice cream today because, tadahhhhhhh! They’ve combined forces to make something even more powerful than either item alone! WAFFLE ICE CREAM SANDWICHES! And not just any waffle ice cream sandwich … which is not to imply that any waffle ice cream sandwich would be, you know, BAD … but these are just right up my alley.
Light and crispy red velvet waffles.
And thick and rich cream cheese ice cream.
Also, hey, sprinkles, because it’s almost Valentine’s Day! More on those sprinkles later.
Not only do I adore waffles and ice cream, but this recipe also requires the use of my two favorite kitchen appliances. HINT: One makes waffles. One makes ice cream.
Interestingly, these were the two appliances that Ross used to dismiss as “unnecessary.” But when it came time to register for wedding gifts, I insisted on including a waffle iron and an ice cream maker, and know what he says about them now?
“Oh sweetheart, you were SO INCREDIBLY RIGHT, as USUAL!”
Well, not quite. But he’s totally come around to them. I think the initial resistance came from the fact that his family didn’t own either one growing up, which seems crazy to me. Then again, I grew up without a stand mixer, and I still wonder, even now, if it’s totally necessary to take up all that cabinet space… but the fact is, we use the stand mixer, and the waffle iron, and the ice cream maker in regular rotation, so for us, they’ve earned their room and board. I say that as someone who used to live in the shoeboxiest of Manhattan shoeboxes, and someone who thinks twice and thrice (What’s four times? Fouice?) before buying anything for the kitchen.
By the way, even though a waffle iron and ice cream maker were questionable to Ross, he has found Pastasaurus to be a necessary item in our household, OBVIOUSLY LIZ. (For the record, I’m okay with it too.)
Anyway, waffles! As illustrated above, you could just eat them in regular breakfast form…without ice cream in between them. I mean, I would still dress them up with whipped cream and sprinkles. And eat ice cream on the side. (Ignore my heavily cinnamon-ed coffee. A bit of a heavy hand.)
But really, that’s crazy talk. Add the ice cream! Go nuts! I feel like Valentine’s Day is a great excuse for treats, no matter your situation. You either make them for your beau/belle, or you make them for yourself because YOU ARE WORTH IT, or you make them for an all-girls’ sleepover party and pair them with a delightfully off-dry rosé.
And let’s not be sexist. Bros could make these for bros. Man up and eat your sprinkles.
Oh yeah, back to the sprinkles! So originally, I considered the little sugar hearts to be “garnish.” How foolish I was.
But before I continue, some context: I first tried the waffle and ice cream together, without sprinkles, and I assumed life couldn’t get any better. The waffle is tender and just a little crispy, with that traditional red velvet hint-of-chocolate, buttermilk-tang. I tweaked and pinched my mom’s traditional waffle recipe until she probably wouldn’t recognize it, but it became just what I was looking for. And the ice cream? Literally like eating frozen cheesecake. I’m not kidding. It’s so creamy and…cheesy…like…cream cheese… Okay I’m terrible at describing it, but seriously try it and see if you can come up with anything better. It basically blew my brain cells. I love cream cheese frosting, I love cheesecake, I love ice cream, and this just puts them all together in one delicious bite.
Okay back to the sprinkles for real. The waffles and ice cream were so good on their own, I almost skipped the sprinkles. I really picked up a jar for some decoration, and I assumed the sandwiches would be just as delicious with or without them. But when I took a bite of a sprinkle-festooned sandwich, I saw the error of my ways. Light, crisp waffle, plus cold, creamy ice cream, PLUS the sweet crunch of sugar? The added texture really put these over the top. You know I’m not a fan of gratuitous garnish, as I discussed while making my Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sours with those absolutely necessary sprigs of herb in every glass. But these sprinkles are no slouch. I mean, in an emergency, I guess you can skip them…but only if you failed to plan ahead and put sprinkles in your emergency rations kit. (What? We have birthday cake Oreos in ours.)
If you can wait, let the ice cream soften just a little, so you get that beautiful creamy mix almost dripping on your thumb — but not quite, because that would waste ice cream.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all!
Waffle recipe my own. (Like it? Cool! Follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook for more delicious stuff!) Ice cream recipe adapted from The Kitchn’s version of David Lebovitz’s recipe in The Perfect Scoop.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces
- Zest from one lemon
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ cup half and half
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup corn starch
- 1 to 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (see notes)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- ½ to 1 teaspoon vanilla (see notes)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 - 2 teaspoons red food coloring (see notes)
- Sprinkles (for garnish, kind of, but really, use them)
- Add all of the ingredients to a food processor. Process until smooth.
- Pour into a closed container and chill in the refrigerator until very cold, preferably overnight.
- Follow your own ice cream maker's instructions to freeze and process the ice cream. Store in the freezer until ready to use.
- Whisk the first six ingredients (flour through salt) in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the butter, vanilla, egg, milks, and food coloring. Stir gently until just combined.
- Let the batter sit for thirty minutes. (Don't skip this step or your waffles will not be as crispy.)
- Preheat your waffle iron to medium heat. (A higher temperature will cause them to be browner and therefore less red, but also a bit more crispy - use your own judgment as to what you prefer.)
- Cook the waffles in your waffle iron. Let cool slightly on a wire rack.
- Cut your waffles into your preferred sandwich size. I cut my squares in half.
- Spoon some ice cream in between two pieces of waffles. Dip the sides of the ice cream in sprinkles. Let soften for a couple minutes, then dive in.
Using more cocoa powder and more vanilla will give your waffles a richer flavor, but it will also give you a less-red waffle. Go with your personal preference.
Using one teaspoon of food coloring will give you a nice reddish brown color. Using more will obviously give you a deeper red. I've seen some cake recipes that call for multiples tablespoons of red food coloring to make a red velvet cake, and while that seemed unnecessary to me, your personal opinion is what matters.
Waffle sandwiches are best eaten immediately. You can store the waffles in a plastic bag in the freezer (prior to adding the ice cream) for several weeks. Reheat briefly in the microwave and then toast to crisp them up. The ice cream will also last several weeks in the freezer in an airtight container.
Ice cream recipe adapted from The Kitchn's version of David Lebovitz's recipe in The Perfect Scoop.