The ice cream sandwich has always been ripe for innovation. Cookies and wafers were the “bread” first, but soon doughnuts, brioche rolls, and Pop-Tarts broke the mold. It’s been a while since we’ve had a new vehicle for ice cream. As luck would have it, I know just the thing. Make an incredible ice cream sandwich with an arepa.
Arepas are excellent for this significant role because they have all of the necessary traits that make a good ice cream holder. They’re soft, but not crumbly (even if you split one in half to expose the pillowy center). When you bite into the sandwich the arepa will stay together without being tough. Arepas have a tight crumb, so they won’t become sodden and make your fingers messy with melted ice cream. The flat, circular shape and medium size makes for a great portion. Arepas are naturally gluten-free, and most importantly, they’re a delectable carb.
To make your own arepa ice cream sandwich, buy a pack of them from the refrigerator section of the supermarket, or make your own. This recipe is a basic arepa and has a neutral flavor, but you can make it sweet by adding two tablespoons of granulated white sugar to the dry ingredients.
Bring the arepa to room temperature. Use a serrated knife and split the arepa around the side and through the center so you have two circles. Place a couple scoops of ice cream in the center of the cut side of one arepa-half. Top with the other half so the fluffy interior is against the ice cream, and promptly devour. (Alternatively, you could just use two whole arepas and sandwich ice cream in the center.)
I made a caramel corn arepa ice cream sandwich, and it brought me great joy. I whipped-up a thick version of arepas de choclo, an arepa that incorporates puréed sweet corn and mozzarella cheese into the dough. After they cooled, I split an arepa and added a scoop of Talenti salted caramel gelato to the center. This handheld summer snack was sweet, salty, and a little smoky. Griddling the corn dough of either type of arepa will make those little charred areas which adds a subtle smokiness to the ice cream sandwich. You won’t regret it.
You could even batch prepare arepa ice cream sandwiches. Just split and freeze the arepa halves first, then load them with ice cream, wrap tightly, and freeze again for future snacking. Arepas vary depending on the recipe (for example, these are thinner), but the one below makes thicker arepas de choclo, ideal for splitting in half.
Arepas de Choclo
Table of Contents
- ⅔ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¾ cup sweet corn kernels
- ½ cup precooked corn flour (masarepa precocida)
- 1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup shredded mozzarella (or quesito Colombiano)
Add the butter to the milk in a small measuring cup. Microwave the milk for about 30 seconds to melt the butter, but it doesn’t need to be too hot. Purée the corn in a food processor. Add a splash of the milk mixture if it helps grind up the corn more easily. Add the cheese to the food processor and pulse a few times.
In a large bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients. Add the puréed corn mixture and stir thoroughly. Cover and let the dough rest for 15 minutes. The dough should feel like soft clay after resting. Divide the dough into four. Using the palms of your hands, shape each section into a flat circular disk about four inches in diameter.
In a frying pan over medium-low heat, fry each arepa until both sides are well browned. Cool before splitting and filling with ice cream.