Ice cream molds are molds which are used to shape ice cream desserts like ice cream sandwiches, bars, cakes, and pies. Many kitchen supply stores sell ice cream molds, and they can also be ordered through specialty companies which stock ice cream novelties and supplies. It is also possible to use regular molds and pans for ice cream, as long as those molds are capable of enduring very cold temperatures.
The idea behind an ice cream mold is to provide a solid shape for ice cream to freeze into. Ice cream can be packed into molds in a soft form right out of an ice cream machine and then flash frozen, or fully frozen ice cream can be allowed to soften slightly before being packed into the mold. It is important to use ice cream which has softened enough to be easily worked, so that all of the air can be forced out of the mold to create a solid shape without bubbles.
One of the most ideal materials for ice cream molds is silicone, because it is capable of withstanding the cold in the freezer, and it can simply be peeled away from the ice cream once the ice cream has set. Metal and plastic molds can also be utilized, in which case it may be necessary to run the mold under warm water or to cover it with a warm towel for a few minutes before unmolding it, to ensure that the ice cream slips smoothly out.
Ice cream sandwiches made with various cookies can be produced in ice cream molds, as can sandwich bars made with mixed flavors of ice cream. Bars are easy to make in specialized molds which have slots which can be used to hold handles in place while the ice cream sets, while ice cream pies can be packed into molds lined with graham cracker or cookie crusts. Ice cream cakes are classically made by placing a piece of cake into the bottom of an ice cream mold and packing ice cream around the cake.
Once removed from ice cream molds, ice cream desserts can be frosted and decorated, dipped in a candy coating, or covered in chocolate. Nuts, sprinkles, and other ornaments can also be added during the decoration process. The finished product should be kept frozen until consumption, because softening of the ice cream will cause the dessert to lose its shape. In the case of ice cream cakes and pies, which tend to be very dense, a few minutes of resting at room temperature right before serving can make the dessert easier to cut.