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Cookie Butter Core Ice Cream

Casey Barber
2 quarts

Chef notes

If you’re up for a holiday baking project like none other, try this: two kinds of homemade ice cream (vanilla and caramel) that are swirled together and filled with homemade cookie butter core. Ice cream probably isn’t front of mind during winter but this one is festive as can be. 

But what is cookie butter, anyway? It’s a spread that closely resembles peanut butter but instead of being made with nuts, it’s made with a combination of Biscoff cookies (or another type of spiced speculoos cookie), powdered sugar, and vegetable oil. The cookies are blitzed in a blender or food processor until finely ground in a powder; the oil and powdered sugar are then slowly added in until the mixture starts to resemble a spreadable nut butter. It’s an ingredient that we’re obsessed with, especially during the holiday season, and there’s no shortage of delicious ways to bake with it — starting with this homemade ice cream recipe. Of course, you can find pre-made cookie butter at most grocery stores, but if you’re churning ice cream from scratch, you may as well go all out and make the filling too.

Make the cookie butter in advance and set it aside while you prepare, churn, and chill the ice cream bases. Once both ice creams are completely frozen, layer them together in an airtight container and sprinkle with more crushed speculoos cookies. Leave room in the middle for the cookie butter core — the result is a frozen dessert that resembles your favorite pint. 

Technique Tip: Strain the ice cream custard before churning to remove any cooked egg bits, vanilla pod (if you’re using fresh vanilla beans), or any other grainy bits that won’t make for a totally smooth and creamy mixture.   

Swap Option: Try making cookie butter with vanilla or chocolate wafers for a different flavor. 


For the cookie butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 (8.8-ounce ) package Biscoff or other speculoos cookies, divided
For the vanilla ice cream base
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the caramel ice cream base
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
Fulfilled by


STEP 1: Make the cookie butter and ice cream bases

For the cookie butter:

1. Place half the cookies from the package into a sealed bag and coarsely crush them with a rolling pin. Reserve the remaining cookies for crumbling into the ice cream.


Following the instructions in this DIY cookie butter tutorial, add the cookies to a blender or food processor, crushing them to a fine powder. Slowly add the vegetable oil and powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, until the cookie butter becomes thick but spreadable. (You can also use store-bought cookie butter.)


Spread a large piece of plastic wrap on a clean work surface and scoop the cookie butter onto the plastic wrap. Roll the cookie butter into a log no more than 1-inch thick and refrigerate while you make the ice cream. 

For the vanilla ice cream:


In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and salt together with an electric hand mixer on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the sugar dissolves and the eggs thicken and turn pale yellow. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in the cream, milk and vanilla extract.


Refrigerate the ice cream base for at least 4 hours (or overnight) until completely chilled.

For the caramel ice cream:

1. In a heavy-bottomed, high-sided, 2-quart sauce pan, add 1/2 cup sugar, corn syrup, and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring the sugar until it dissolves and comes to a boil. Stop stirring and let the sugar cook undisturbed for 10 to 15 minutes until it caramelizes. The sugar will boil vigorously, then the bubbles will slow as the water evaporates. Keep a close eye on the sugar once the bubbles slow — the sugar will darken to a deep caramel color and can burn easily.


When the sugar darkens and starts to smell like caramel, remove it from the heat. Carefully and slowly whisk the cream into the caramel — it will steam and bubble, and may seize up and harden as the cool cream hits the hot caramel. Return the pan to the heat and continue to whisk until the caramel dissolves into the cream.


Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs, 1/4 cup sugar and salt with an electric hand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until the sugar dissolves and the eggs thicken and turn pale yellow. (This mixture won't be quite as thick as the vanilla version, since we're not using as much sugar here.) Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the milk.


Pour the beaten dairy mixture into the caramel cream and cook over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes, just until the liquid thickens slightly — it'll be the consistency of thin pudding or non-Greek yogurt. Do not let the custard bubble and come to a simmer, or the eggs will overcook and you'll have chunky bits in your ice cream.


Strain the ice cream custard through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Refrigerate the ice cream base for at least 4 hours (or overnight) until completely chilled.

STEP 2: Freeze the ice cream

1. Chop the remaining half of the cookies into chunks.


Pour the vanilla ice cream base into the bowl of an ice cream maker and freeze, according to manufacturer instructions. During the last minute of freezing the ice cream, add half of the crushed cookies, letting the ice cream maker incorporate them. Transfer the ice cream, which will be the consistency of soft serve, into a freezer-safe container. 


Repeat the process with the caramel ice cream and remaining cookie chunks — if you don't have an ice cream maker with two bowls, use a silicone spatula or spoonula to scrape the freezer bowl as clean as possible before pouring the caramel in.


Freeze the ice cream for at least 2 hours before assembling so it can firm up.

STEP 3: Assemble the ice cream

To mimic the half-and-half look of a store-bought pint, build your own ice cream as follows: 


Spoon one of the ice cream flavors into one half of a quart-size freezer-safe container.


Cut the roll of cookie butter in half, and gently press one of the pieces into the ice cream so it "stands up" vertically in the center of the container.


Fill the remaining half of the container with the second ice cream flavor, gently spooning it around the piece of cookie butter.


Repeat with a second container and the remaining ice cream and cookie butter.