PB&J Ice Cream Sandwich

photo by Maren Caruso

After being on vacation for several weeks, I was ready to sink back into routine. I was in detox mode: refocusing on exercise, loading up on fruits and veggies, stocking up on green juices. And I was off to a great start.

But then this happened:

It had arrived just before I left for my trip.  As I flipped through its colorful pages, all resolve around “eating clean” crumbled. It was as if the recipes were tailor made for my particular brand of sweet tooth…

Spicy Date Ice cream on Brown Butter Walnut Bars

Plum Frozen Yogurt on Lemon Shortbread

Peaches and Cream on Oatmeal Cookies

…and the ringer…PB&J Ice Cream Sandwich.

A peanut butter ice cream sandwich on toast, a recipe author Jennie Schacht later told me she ate for breakfast every morning for an entire week once she’d nailed it.

I had to give a try.  Immediately.

We had it for dessert one night. And then, with the kids off at day camp the next day, I served one up for myself  at lunch (it is a sandwich after all), only using chocolate hazelnut spread instead of jam. Delish.

The warm crunchy toast makes a perfect counterpoint to the cold, rich ice cream. It’s also not cloyingly sweet in the way of some desserts since the ice cream gets tucked between slices of toast, not cookies or brownies. Making this with Jennie’s homemade peanut butter ice cream is worth the effort, but if you lack the time, she suggests stirring two teaspoons of peanut butter and one teaspoon of honey into a scoop of softened vanilla ice cream for each sandwich.

Any which way you make this, it’s a treat well worth getting derailed from a post-vacation detox.

PB&J Ice Cream Sandwich

This is my go-to sandwich when I am jonesing for one and there are none stashed away in the freezer. Sometimes I hope not to find a sandwich there, just so I can make this one, which delights with warm toast, cool ice cream, and the reassuring flavors of childhood. With ice cream awaiting in your freezer, a sandwich need never be more than a toaster away. I make these up one at a time when the mood strikes. If you’re hosting a child’s sleep-over party or have family in town for the holidays, make all twelve at once for an easy and memorable breakfast or midnight snack. Peanut butter is personal: Choose creamy for a smooth ice cream or chunky for more texture. In either case, look for a natural-style peanut butter made from only peanuts (salt optional), with no sweeteners or gums. I prefer a mild honey such as clover or orange blossom for this ice cream.


Peanut Butter Ice Cream

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch or cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Toast and Berry Jam or Chocolate Spread

  • 1 to 12 slices good-quality sandwich bread , such as challah, bakery white or honey whole wheat
  • Unsalted butter , for spreading on the toast (optional)
  • 1 to 12 tablespoons berry jam or chocolate hazelnut spread


For the Ice Cream

  1. Whisk 1/2 cup of the milk with the sugar, honey, tapioca, and salt in a medium saucepan until no lumps remain. Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk.
  2. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until it begins to steam and slightly bubble at the edges. Adjust to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a cream sauce, 2 to 3 minutes longer; do not fully boil.
  3. Off the heat, add the peanut butter, give it a minute or two to soften, then stir until smooth and well blended. Stir in the cream and vanilla.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a metal bowl set over a larger bowl of ice and water. Stir occasionally until the mixture is cool, taking care not to slosh water into the bowl.
  5. Cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 2 hours. Transfer the bowl to the freezer for the last half hour before spinning it.
  6. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. When it is ready, transfer the ice cream to a chilled container, cover, and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Assembling the Sandwich

  1. For each sandwich, toast 1 slice of bread until it is medium dark. Trim the crusts and butter the bread if you wish. Cut the slice in half, either crosswise or diagonally, as you would a sandwich.
  2. Spread 1 tablespoon of jam or chocolate hazelnut spread on one toast half. Scoop and spread 1/4 cup slightly softened ice cream across the other half. Sandwich the two together and enjoy while the toast is warm.
  3. Shortcut: If you don't have time to make the peanut butter ice cream, mix 2 teaspoons of peanut butter with 1 teaspoon of honey and swirl into a scoop of softened vanilla ice cream for each sandwich.

Ever so slightly adapted and reprinted with permission from Jennie Schacht, author of  I Scream Sandwich (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2013)

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this cookbook. The opinions expressed are my own.




08.05.2013 at8:46 AM #

Nicole Sommerfeld

Sounds amazing, can’t wait to try. I love anything ice cream. My kids really enjoy turning healthier eating into fun eating as well. Who wouldn’t want to try an ice cream sandwich? (I mean this kind, not the kind with the black, mushy cookie outing….) Maybe lunch next Saturday!

08.05.2013 at10:54 AM #

Katie Morford

And these are sort of fun to assemble…something about putting ice cream onto toast!

08.05.2013 at12:27 PM #

Jennie Schacht

Ha! Guess what I am eating for lunch as I read your post? This weekend I made the PB ice cream, swirled in some blackberry preserves, and layered it between the chocolate cookie wafers from the Pure Nostalgia sandwich. And that, my friend, is today’s lunch — all food groups covered: protein, fruit, and chocolate. You can see I am quite in synch with your notion of pairing it with chocolate. I’ll have to try it with the chocolate-hazelnut spread from the Bella Nutella sandwich. So fun to mix and match. Thank you SO MUCH for taking the PB&J for a test drive. I’m delighted that you gave in to impulse and enjoyed one for lunch. I’m confident you got your kale fix at dinner. xo Jennie

08.05.2013 at12:27 PM #

Katie Morford

Thanks Jennie. Your recipes are so inspiring!

08.06.2013 at8:31 AM #


This is crazy creative and sounds delicious! Wow wow wow.

08.06.2013 at8:31 AM #

Katie Morford

Thanks Kasey…I’m only copy catting an old favorite!

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