Ice cream sandwiches may come in a variety of shapes, sizes and flavors. Traditionally, they feature vanilla ice cream, America’s favorite flavor, packed between 2 cookies – usually chocolate – or thin slices of cake. Here’s a cool, crunchy version that features a caramel-flavored rice cereal base and topping with peanuts, toffee, butter and brown sugar.
In Scotland, ice cream sandwiches are called sliders; ice cream is sandwiched between crisp wafer cookies. They are also popular in England and Singapore, where favorite ice cream flavors include red bean, cheese, purple yam (ube), avocado, durian and sweet corn.
At Diddy Riese Cookies in Los Angeles, you can choose from ten varieties of freshly baked cookies and from twelve flavors of Dreyers premium grand ice cream to build your own custom ice cream sandwiches. http://www.diddyriese.com/sandwichbuilder.php
San Franciscans enjoy ice cream sandwiches called, It’s It, named “The official food of San Francisco.” Ice cream is stuffed between two large oatmeal cookies then the entire thing is dipped into dark chocolate. http://www.itsiticecream.com/
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream’s, produced by Jeni Britton in Ohio, offers some of the most creative ice cream sandwiches anywhere. Her macaroon ice cream sandwiches come in flavors like: creamy Strawberry Buttermilk ice cream sandwiched between pretty pink macaroon cookies and Pistachio and Honey ice cream sandwiched between green almond macaroon cookies.
On a completely crazy but fun note – Norwegian Ice cream maker Henning Olsen recently began marketing a chocolate covered-ice cream sandwich bar that looks like – yes, an iPod Classic. They are called – IcePods. Each IcePod comes with a code embedded in the stick, which will give you a free MP3 download from a Norwegian artist. Very cool!
I found the tasty ice cream sandwich bar recipe below in a magazine while passing time in a doctor’s waiting room. They were a hit with family and friends! (Photo at the top of this post.) The buttery, nutty toffee-laden cereal mixture is a yummy contrast to the ice cream and stays soft and chewy, even when frozen.
The hardest part was choosing a favorite ice cream. To please everyone, I made half with a mint & chocolate flavor; the other half offered a fruity sherbet. I also plan to try flavors like mango sorbet, peanut butter, fresh ginger, red plum yogurt, banana, espresso, dulce de leche, butterscotch, pistachio and pommegranate. Most of these flavors can be found in fine supermarkets.
CRUNCHY ICE CREAM BARS
1 cup peanuts, preferably unsalted
3/4 cup shredded coconut
5 cups rice cereal such as Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies
Malt-O-Meal® Crispy Rice
1/2 cup toffee bits
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 pints vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
Line a 9 by 13-inch pan with long sheets of parchment, leaving the ends hanging over two edges. Set aside. In the food processor fitted with a steel blade, coarsely chop peanuts and coconut. Pour mixture into a large bowl. Mix in the rice cereal and toffee bits.
In a medium saucepan, heat butter, sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil; cook about three minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Slowly pour syrup into cereal mixture, mixing thoroughly to coat well.
Press half the mixture evenly over the bottom of the lined pan. Chill in the freezer at least 15 minutes. Spread softened ice cream evenly over the bottom of the cereal layer. Place back in freezer about one hour. Top ice cream with remaining cereal mixture. Cover pan and place back into freezer one hour or until firm.
Grasp the ends of the parchment paper to help remove the ice cream “cake” from the pan. With a large, sharp knife on a cutting surface, cut ice cream into bars or squares. Makes 24 pieces if cut 1-1/2 by 3 inches. Work fast, since ice cream melts quickly. It helps to use a hot knife and serve ice cream on small chilled plates. Bars can be individually wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the freezer for easy snacking.
- Use chocolate-flavored rice cereal for a chocolate variation.
- Whisk about 1/4 cup peanut butter into the syrup mixture.
- Ice Cream Pie: Press some of the buttery cereal mixture evenly into the bottom of a pie pan, freeze, then fill with ice cream to make an ice cream pie. Save a little of the mixture to sprinkle on top. When frozen, cut in wedges and serve – perhaps, in a pool of chocolate sauce.
- Ice Cream Sundae: Layer a small amount of the buttery cereal mixture in tall parfait dishes with your favorite flavor ice cream. Sprinkle a little of the mixture on top and decorate with a cherry, if desired. You can make half the recipe of cereal mixture, if desired.
Photos copyright by Susan F. Slack
Recipe slightly adapted from Ladies’ Home Journal (May, 2009)
Image ice cream bars: (Henning Olsen)