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National Ice Cream Sandwich Day: 19 wild, weird ways to celebrate

Lifestyle and LeisureCooking

National Ice Cream Sandwich Day is Friday, and as far as food holidays go, this one seems pretty straightforward, right? It's cookies + ice cream = ice cream sandwich, right?

Oh, no, no, no. That's missing the point, said food blogger Tessa Arias.

She is the ice cream sandwich queen and author of "Cookies & Cream: Hundreds of Ways to Make the Perfect Ice Cream Sandwich." It's the book of this summer, offering up a dazzling array of twists on the classic, although her book also covers plenty of the classics.

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A look through the photo gallery above also gives you just a taste of the wild, weird and wonderful ways in which people can celebrate National Ice Cream Sandwich Day and pay homage to the treat that brings out the kid in all of us. (Including feeding ice cream sandwiches to a pair of pigs. We are not making that up.)

Also included in the photo gallery are four recipes for ice cream sandwiches from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen.

Arias, who writes the food blog Handle the Heat-- she lives outside Phoenix -- says red velvet, chocolate coconut, Nutella chocolate hazelnut, and lemon blueberry are just a few of the flavors she encourages readers to experiment with.

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"There are no 'rules'" to ice cream sandwiches, she said, just personal preference. You don't even need to use cookies, either, for your ice cream sandwiches. You can use graham crackers, or macaroons or even honest-to-goodness sandwich bread. And there's nothing to say you can't mix and match cookies, or even try multiple filling flavors.

Speaking of filling, you have plenty of options. Who says it has to be ice cream at all? How about frosting? Or sherbet? Or gelato? And then there are the decorations. You can roll your ice cream sandwiches in sprinkles, toasted coconut, mini chocolate chips...

"It's pretty much limitless," Arias said.

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As to why ice cream sandwiches endure in a world that seems to crave the new and different (see the cronut craze), Arias said that is obvious.

"It's kind of like the ultimate indulgence," she said. "It reminds you of childhood memories and summertime. I think that a lot of people have memories of being outdoors and hearing that noise of the ice cream truck coming around. It's such a simple pleasure."

While there are no ice cream sandwich "rules," Arias does offer an important tip:

Make your ice cream sandwiches in advance, and then put them back into the freezer to firm up. That makes the whole process neater and easier to eat. This is especially helpful if you are trying to feed a crowd.

"They are so much easier to serve and decorate when they are made in advance," she said. "The worst is when you bite into an ice cream sandwich and it all squeezes out the other side. Making them ahead of time makes sure they are nice and frozen."

How are you celebrating National Ice Cream Sandwich Day?

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