We’re nearly two months into what is unofficially declared pumpkin season, and I’ve heard a few people mention that they are already over pumpkin.  I am not one of those people.  For one thing, I’m never fully over pumpkin, no matter the time of year.  For another, my baking the past few months was so sporadic that I think the only other pumpkin thing I have made so far this year is the lightened up pumpkin cream cheese muffins.  This needed to change.  As life after studying slowly returned, these ice cream sandwiches were one of the first ideas I eked out of my tired brain.

Like pumpkin, ice cream sandwiches may be a seasonal treat to some, but…is there really ever a wrong time for ice cream sandwiches?  Didn’t think so.  I’ll sit next to the fireplace and eat one if I need to.  In fact, that sounds pretty fantastic to me.  We loved the pairing of these soft pumpkin oatmeal cookies with the creamy salted caramel ice cream.  Just looking at them now, I’m glad we still have a few in our freezer, as should you.  Happy weekend everyone!

  • Yield about 8 ice cream sandwiches


For the ice cream: 

  • 1 cup whole milk, divided
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1½ tbsp. cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbsp. heavy cream, warmed
  • 1 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the cookies:

  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • Dash of ground cloves
  • Dash of grated nutmeg
  • Dash of allspice
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ¾ cups old-fashioned oats


  • 01

    To make the ice cream batter, combine 1 tablespoon of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl.  Whisk to make a slurry.  Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese and salt.  In a liquid measuring cup, combine the cream and corn syrup.

  • 02

    Spread the sugar in an even layer in the bottom of a medium saucepan over medium heat. Let the sugar cook without stirring until you see portions begin to liquify and turn amber in color.  Gently drag any undissolved sugar into the areas that are fully melted.  Continue to stir gently until all the sugar is melted, and has turned a golden amber color.  (Watch carefully because caramel goes from perfect to burned in seconds.  I speak from much experience.)  Remove the pan from the heat and, stirring constantly, slowly drizzle in a few tablespoons of the cream-corn syrup mixture and stir until incorporated.  Use caution, as the caramel will bubble and steam vigorously when the cream is added.  Continue to add the cream mixture in small additions until fully incorporated.

  • 03

    Return the pan to the heat and stir in the remaining ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons of milk.  Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and let boil for 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the cornstarch slurry.  Return the pan to the burner over medium-high heat and cook until slightly thickened, 1 minute. Remove from the heat, then whisk in the cream cheese mixture until melted, followed by the vanilla.  If any chunks or flecks are present in the batter, pour through a fine mesh sieve.  Chill well in the refrigerator, preferably overnight, before churning.

  • 04

    Line a chilled baking dish with plastic wrap (I used a 10 x 6 dish, but you can use whatever size you like, as long as the layer of ice cream will be the thickness you prefer for the ice cream sandwiches.)  When the ice cream has reached a soft serve consistency, spread some of the ice cream into the pan in an even layer about ¾-inch thick.

  • 05

    To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, spices and salt.  Whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Blend in the egg white and vanilla.  Beat in the pumpkin puree until well incorporated.  With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Beat in the oats until combined.

  • 06

    Drop in small scoops (about 1½-2 tablespoons) onto prepared baking sheets, spaced 2-3 inches apart.  Bake 12-14 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned, rotating the sheets halfway through baking.  Allow to cool on the sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.  (If you need to store them before using for the ice cream sandwiches, keep in a single layer if possible.  Because they are moist due to the pumpkin, they have a tendency to stick together if stacked.)

  • 07

    To assemble the sandwiches, pair the cookies up by size. Use a round cookie cutter similar in size to the size of the cookies to cut out a portion of the ice cream. Layer one piece of ice cream between two of the cookies and return to the freezer immediately.  Wrap the sandwiches individually as desired.  Keep frozen until ready to serve.