Homemade It's-It Ice Cream Sandwich

If you've ever lived in California or visited you're probably familiar with San Francisco's own  It's-it ice cream sandwich. A scoop of vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two oatmeal cookies and smothered in chocolate. It's absolutely fabulous. I love these things. I've only been in California for 2 years so they're new to me and what a treat! And why not, it's my birthday today, and as the years go by I'm enjoying each new discovery and experience more and more. Life is good. So I was on a mission to recreate them and make it as close to the original as possible. I did a lot of research on this recipe, more than I anticipated, but I really wanted to get everything right. The oatmeal cookie needed to be soft, taste of cinnamon, no raisins, be relatively flat and taste good frozen, this recipe worked great. It was also easy to get the cookies the same size without using a cookie cutter. You refrigerate the dough prior to baking, scoop out a tablespoon of cookie batter, form it into about a 1 inch ball, then press it on cookie sheet, they came out pretty consistent in size and kept their round shape. The tricky part of this whole project was getting a nice chocolate covering, mine came out pretty messy because I basically have no experience with dipping candies or anything of that sort, but I found some dipping techniques here by Liz Gutman, from her advice I figured the best way would be to spear it, a fork was too big, I tried, but a skewer seemed to work really well.

Below are the recipes for the cookies, ice cream, chocolate sauce and the grand assembly, overall it was definitely worth it, they taste remarkably close to the real thing. Enjoy!


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When making the cookies flatten gently and try to keep consistent size

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Vanilla Ice Cream
(adapted from Krups ice cream maker recipe)

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla

In a saucepan, heat milk slowly over low heat.  In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar.  Slowly add the hot milk to the mixture, continuing to whisk.  Pour mixture back into saucepan and heat slowly until thickened, stirring constantly.  Cool, then add cream and vanilla.  Chill thoroughly, several hours or overnight, then freeze according to ice cream maker instructions.

Soft oatmeal cookie recipe
(Adapted from Catherine Johnson)

  • 1/2 cup room-temperature butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup regular sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups oats

Combine the butter, regular sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, cream them together for 2 to 3 minutes until they are well combined.

Beat in the egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon until they are well combined. Mix these dry ingredients into the creamed mixture.

Once the dry ingredients have been incorporated, mix in the oats. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease your cookie sheet. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll them into small 1-inch balls. Place the dough balls on the cookie sheets at least 2 inches apart. Using a fork or your fingers, gently press down on the dough balls to flatten them into a cookie shape.

Place the cookie sheet into your oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the baking sheet and serving.

Note: this cookie recipe made 30 cookies. I used 16 to make 8 ice cream sandwiches

Chocolate Shell
(adapted from Yummy Supper)

  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate or dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil

Over a double boiler melt the chocolate and oil, whisking until melted, remove from heat. Use immediately.

Homemade It's-it Ice Cream Sandwich

(Makes 8 sandwiches)

Make the ice cream ahead or you can use store bought as well. Make sure your cookies are made ahead of time and completely cooled. Also make sure to match up your cookies in advance for consistent size. Take 1 scoop of ice cream, sandwich between 2 cookies, repeat for all 8 sandwiches and freeze on parchment paper for about 30 minutes. 

Prepare your chocolate sauce and have it ready in a deep bowl, not too shallow so that it's easier to cover the sandwich with 1 dip. Have your frozen sandwiches, sauce and prepared parchment lined sheet all lined up in a row, in that order for quick assembly. Spear the frozen sandwich with a skewer, dip into chocolate sauce (use a spoon if you need to touch up any areas), then place on parchment paper. Work quickly and place the sandwiches in freezer as soon as possible. Freeze for 1 hour and enjoy!

Note: I assembled all 8 at once, and by the 8th the ice cream was starting to melt a bit into the sauce, so it might be better to do in batches of 2 or 4 and freeze as you go.


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