One of the happiest sounds of my childhood summers was the jingling strain of the ice cream truck, faint and far off at first, then getting louder and nearer.
By the time the little white vehicle reached the bottom of our hill, a swarm of neighborhood kids had converged ― barefoot, dimes clutched in hands ― to buy their favorite treats: Nutty Buddies, Push-Ups, and those wonderfully squishy vanilla ice cream sandwiches made with slightly cardboardy chocolate cookies.
My taste for ice cream sandwiches has grown up, as I have. It turns out that making them at home is as fun as buying them from the ice cream vendor. And homemade versions are several notches higher on the gourmet ladder.
They can be customized with favorite flavors to boot - slabs of crunchy oatmeal cookies packed with peach or strawberry ice cream, chewy brownies layered with coffee or mint-chocolate chip ice cream (I dunk the works in melted chocolate).
Full-fat ice cream freezes the hardest, producing the neatest, easiest-to-handle bundles; lower-fat ice cream makes sandwiches that are softer and a little less tidy, but still perfectly delicious.