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A Sweet Ode to the Legendary Ice Cream Sandwich

Homer Simpson was known for his love affair with sandwiches, but as far as we’re concerned one sandwich, in particular, rises above the rest. We’re talking about the ice cream sandwich — a delightful dessert novelty beloved by both the young and young at heart. Ice cream sandwiches are so popular, in fact, that they’ve got an entire day dedicated to them. So what better time to celebrate the ice cream sandwich than August 2, AKA National Ice Cream Sandwich Day? Here’s a closer look at everything you’ve always wanted to know about this time-honored treat.

Ice cream

Perfectly portable party-pleasers.

From Pushcart Peddler to National Institution

The history of ice cream sandwiches dates back more than a century. According to Jeri Quinzio, author of Of Sugar and Snow: A History of Ice Cream Making, it was invented by an unknown pushcart peddler in 1899. After selling them for a few cents for the initial few years, the price was reportedly forced down to a dollar, according to a recent report from The New York Times.

Concluded a 1901 New York Mail column, “As a new fad, the ice-cream sandwich might have made thousands of dollars for its inventor had the novelty been launched by a well-known caterer, but strangely enough the ice-cream sandwich made its advent in a humble Bowery pushcart.”

So how did the process work, exactly? According to Syracuse’s Post-Standard as reported by the New York Times, “The vendor removes a cover from the top of his cart, then an inner cover, disclosing the freezer, places the thin oblong wafer in a little tin mold made for the purpose, spreads it with loose cream, claps another wafer on top and turns it out into the grimy little paw awaiting it.”

And many grimy little paws there were: The original ice cream sandwich man didn’t even have time to make change.

Continued The New York Mail of the treat’s unique handiness, “The thin wafers which go to make up the sandwich help to modify the coolness of the ice cream, so that it can be eaten more readily.”

Given their many allures, it’s not hard to believe that the ice cream sandwich quickly transcended trend status on its way to becoming an American institution.

Five Fun Ice Cream Sandwich Facts

Foodimentary.com recently shared some interesting tidbits about ice cream sandwiches, including the following:

1. Ice cream sandwiches claim the distinction of being the country’s second best-selling ice cream novelty.

2. An average of 48 ice cream sandwiches are eaten every second in the United States.

3. The biggest segment of ice cream eaters are in the 30-44 age group.

4. Nearly 50 percent of all ice cream sandwiches are consumed by residents of the eastern seaboard.

5. If all of the ice cream sandwiches made during a single year were placed in a line end to end, they’d circle the planet 3.5 times.

Ice Cream Sandwiches Get Elevated 

While there’s no substitute for a good, old-fashioned ice cream sandwich, today’s artisan ice cream makers are also discovering a near-endless number of ways to mix things up. At the forefront of the ice cream sandwich revolution? Nye’s Cream Sandwiches. From being declared Oprah’s Favorite Old-Fashioned Treat to appearing on the pages of Martha Stewart Weddings, these sublime delicacies — fusing house-made chewy cookies and chef-inspired artisan ice cream — will forever change the way you think about ice cream sandwiches.

Ice cream

Caramel ice cream meets coffee cookies.

From classic combos such as vanilla chocolate, strawberry shortcake and peppermint chocolate to seasonal selections like key lime pie, Meyer lemon cardamom, and raspberry cheesecake, each culinary creation has been personally guided by chef Christian Nye’s epicurean vision.

Sherbet-lovers, meanwhile, will also find plenty of hand-scooped scrumptiousness with Nye’s Sherbet Collection, including phenomenal flavor combinations like root beer sherbet paired with brown sugar cookies and pineapple sherbet paired with graham cracker cookies.

While Nye’s makes it easy to enjoy the exquisiteness of gourmet ice cream sandwiches, ambitious foodies may also want to do some creating of their own, and FoodyDirect is a terrific place to start. With carefully cultivated collections of ice cream, custard and sorbet and cookies and brownies, FoodyDirect makes it easy to experiment with all that ice cream sandwiches have to offer — from Amaretti Gluten-Free Cookies to “Boozy Scoops” ice cream flavors like gin and tonic sorbet and banana bourbon caramel.

When it comes to dessert dominance, cookies and ice cream have long been locked in a dead heat. Sure, you could force yourself to choose between one or the other, but why would you when you can have the best of both worlds, instead?  Browse all our delicious bakery and dessert items to get started today.