The Unexpected Cracker That'll Take Your Ice Cream Sandwich To New Heights

cracker ice cream sandwiches stack
cracker ice cream sandwiches stack - New Africa/Shutterstock

Chewy, creamy, and ultimately sticky, the ice cream sandwich carries with it the warm nostalgia of bygone childhood days. It is so beloved it has its own national holiday on August 2. Traditionally, an ice cream sandwich is a layer of ice cream wedged between two soft chocolate cookies and is widely believed to have been invented in 1899 by a pushcart salesman in New York. In the centuries since, it has expanded to include the use of a diverse array of cookies, crackers, and even pancakes and waffles. But among the variations on the original, there's one unexpected base that will take your ice cream sandwich to the next level: Saltine crackers.

That's right, the crisp, salty crackers provide a delicious contrast to the sweet ice cream. Due to sodium's ability to suppress bitterness, salt works as a natural flavor enhancer, bringing out the sweetness of the ice cream. This version of the ice cream sandwich also delivers a slam-dunk combination of textures. So put that soup aside, and add some saltines to your next ice cream sandwich recipe -- your tastebuds will be so glad you did.

Read more: The Ultimate Ice Cream Brands, Ranked

Softening The Ice Cream Is Important

scooping vanilla ice cream
scooping vanilla ice cream - Kuppa_rock/Getty Images

Using saltines to make ice cream sandwiches is simple, and it begins with softening your ice cream. You want it soft enough to be able to slide out of its container easily (and be spreadable), but not so soft that it's liquidy. You can do this the old-fashioned way, by thawing it at room temperature or in your refrigerator, or -- if you're in more of a hurry -- you can soften it by cutting it. Just heat a knife under hot water, and slice your ice cream lengthwise and crosswise. Alternatively, you could use your microwave, setting it at 30% and thawing for 30 seconds.

After your sandwiches are assembled, you have a few options for storage. You can wrap them individually in plastic wrap, where they will stay fresh for around two weeks, or you can wrap them in wax or parchment paper and secure them with a rubber band. Be sure that your wrap is touching the edges of the ice cream so that it doesn't end up with freezer burn. It's important to freeze for at least three hours before eating, although the optimal freezer time for fully frozen sandwiches is six hours.

Ways To Elevate Your Saltine Ice Cream Sandwich

spreading brownie batter in pan
spreading brownie batter in pan - Toscawhi/Getty Images

Wondering how to take that saltine cracker ice cream sandwich to the next level? Luckily, there are a myriad of ways to do so, each as decadent as the last. If you like a fudgy dessert, add a chewy, chocolatey element to your sandwich with a layer of brownie. To do this you can bake boxed brownie mix over a layer of saltines, cool, and then spread your softened ice cream over it. The brownie layer will not only add richness to the flavor profile but will also add a thick, satisfying texture that complements the meltiness of the ice cream and the crispiness of the crackers.

Alternatively, you can elevate that ice cream sandwich by topping your saltines with a layer of Christmas crack -- the popular combination of toffee, almonds, and chocolate chips that resurfaces during the holidays. This seriously rich combination of ingredients will pair well with the saltiness of the crackers and deliver a flavor pop. If you go this route, however, consider sticking with a plain ice cream flavor, such as vanilla.

Read the original article on Daily Meal