But I can also tell you that a single serving is equally festive pulled out of the freezer bag on any given Tuesday afternoon. This is what summer is made of. (Also, lots of fruits and vegetables. I'm not saying that just because it's summer, you can eat nothing but ice cream.)
There's a really good tutorial up on Chow, but it was a foot note to the recipe that sold me. After lengthy instructions on tempering chocolate and keeping it within the two degree range to stay tempered while repeatedly inserting and removing frozen objects, they mentioned that if you couldn't be bothered with all this, you could always use their magic shell coating. So I did that, with coconut oil, for an additional layer of summery yum. We made them smaller too and put them on sticks and then rolled them in rice crispies. The boys had fun dipping and rolling, but I really recommend (from negative experience) that you keep the bar shaping and stick inserting a grown-up affair. Ice cream gets messy fast in the hands of small children.
So, these are easy. And you can make them as small as you want to mitigate their effect on your waistline.
I've also been meaning to make some with homemade peanut butter ice cream and roll them in smashed pretzels. Really, the combinations are limitless. What will you do?
Homemade Ice Cream Bars
Makes: 12 medium or 24 mini ice cream bars (the boys are eating the medium size)
Takes: 7 hours (30 minutes active)
- 32 ounces of ice cream (I used the Trader Joe's soy vanilla.)
- 3 cups chocolate chips (a bag and a half)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 2 cups rice crispies or other add-ons (Chopped peanuts or almonds would be the classic.)
- 1 9 x 9 inch baking pan
- plastic wrap
- 12 or 24 popsicle sticks (you can get these at a craft store, if they don't have them at your market)
- 2 wax paper lined cookie sheets
- a big freezer bag to store your finished ice cream bars
- Set your ice cream on the counter for 10 minutes to soften a bit while you get out a 9 x 9 inch square baking pan. Line it with plastic wrap leaving a big enough overhang on either side to cover your ice cream in the freezer.
- Using an ice cream scoop or a big metal spoon, scoop all the ice cream out onto the plastic wrap, distributing the ice cream somewhat evenly around the pan.
- Cover the ice cream with the flaps of plastic wrap and press down with something flat, like the bottom of a dry measuring cup, to compress the ice cream into a nice even square.
- Stick it in the freezer until it's very hard - for 3 hours or overnight.
- Lift the plastic wrap encased ice cream square to a surface you can cut on (and that does not smell of onions). Unwrap it, and cut it into thirds. Turn it and cut it in half and then in half again to make 12 small rectangles. You can also cut each rectangle in half again to make 24 very small bars. I will do this from now on. A little treat will suffice, right? Also, remember, it's going to get bigger when you coat it in chocolate and other nice things.
- Carefully jam an ice cream stick in the bottom of each rectangle and place the individual uncoated ice cream bars on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.
- Return the bars to the freezer, again until very hard, about 2 hours.
- In a double boiler (aka a bowl set over a pan of simmering water) melt the chocolate and the coconut oil. Let it cool to room temperature before you dip your ice cream bars.
- Dump your rice crispies into a pie plate. Dip your ice cream bar into the waiting chocolate. Let any excess drip off. Press each side into the rice crispies and place on another wax paper lined cookie sheet to freeze (again. sigh.).
- Put the bars back in the freezer for one last firm up - a couple hours, if you can wait.