Monday, July 26, 2010

Caramel Crunch Ice Cream Bars

I remember when I was younger, I used to take my neighbour's dog for a walk and would get paid 50 cents. (For a long time I thought their dog's name was "U-ey" but actually it was Huey. Makes a lot more sense.) I'd take my 50 cents and rollerblade up to the corner store and buy myself an ice cream sandwich. Those were exciting times!

Now I rarely eat ice cream sandwiches, and while I do go through times of ice cream obsession (like if there's some coffee flavoured Haagen Dazs in our freezer), ice cream is the easiest dessert for me to turn down. But E loves all things ice cream, and my friend was coming over for dinner who also loves ice cream so I thought I'd try these out. I loved them, a lot. The cookie part was so addictive and I must admit that I loved eating it with ice cream!

I had a couple of issues with these ice cream bars, but neither were the recipe's fault. The first was that I used chopped milk chocolate on top of the bars and I think my milk chocolate is old so wouldn't melt very well - I ended up leaving it in the oven longer to try and get it to melt but it just started to dry out and be strange. The other problem was the ice cream. I let it soften too much, so that when I put the sandwich together, the ice cream oozed out. It was a delicious mess though!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Cowboy Cookies
Monster Cookies
Peanut Butter Squares with Milk Chocolate and Oats
Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

Caramel Crunch Ice Cream Bars
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

I made these as ice cream sandwiches but you could just eat the cookies as they are too.

For the base
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 ounces mini semisweet chocolate chips

ice cream, softened so that it's spreadable (I used vanilla)

For the topping
6 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped (next time I'd use bittersweet chocolate)
3/4 cup toffee pieces (I used Skor, in the US they're Heath)

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly butter a 9x13 inch baking pan, line the pan with foil and butter the foil. Put the pan on a baking sheet.

Make the base: Whisk together the flour, espresso powder, salt and cinnamon.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the sugars and beat for another 3 minutes, or until the mixture is light and creamy. Beat in the vanilla, then turn off the mixer. Add all the dry ingredients, cover the stand mixer with a kitchen towel (so you and your kitchen don't get showered with flour) and pulse the mixer on and off on low speed about 5 times - at which point a peek at the bowl should reveal that it's safe to turn the mixer to low and mix, uncovered, just until the dry ingredients are almost incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and mix only until the dry ingredients disappear. If the chocolate isn't evenly mixed, finish the job by hand with a spatula. You'll have a heavy, very sticky dough. Scrape the dough into the buttered pan and, with the spatula and your fingertips, cajole it into a thin, even layer.

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the base is bubbly - so bubbly you can almost hear it percolating - and puckery. It will look as though it is struggling to pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer the pan to a rack and turn off the oven.

To make the topping: Scatter the chopped chocolate evenly over the top of the hot base and pop the pan back into the oven for 2 to 3 minutes, until the chocolate is soft. Remove from the oven and immediately spread the chocolate over the bars, using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the toffee bits over the chocolate and press them down lightly with your fingertips. Place the baking pan on a rack to cool to room temperature.

If, by the time the bars are cool, the chocolate hasn't set, refrigerate them briefly to firm the chocolate.

Carefully lift out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. Cut about 26 bars, each about 4 inches x 2 inches. (Next time I'd cut the bars when the cookie is a bit warm because my cookies cracked when I cut them at room temperature.)

To make the ice cream bars: Working with half of the squares, leaving them frosted side up and working on a baking sheet, spread them with a thick layer of softened ice cream. Top with the other half of the bars, frosted side up, and slide them into the freezer to firm up again. If you need to keep them for a while, double wrap each bar in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.


foodies at home said...

Oh my! I think my blood sugar has spiked by just reading this!! I am soooo making these soon!

Anonymous said...

Those look so good! I never made my own ice cream sandwiches before. I've been making lots of homemade ice cream this summer though, so maybe I should!

Joanne said...

God ice cream is the one dessert I can NEVER turn down! Although I might just have to make the cookie outside and eat them on their own...they look amazing.

Joy said...

Ohhhh, chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. I love this dessert. I could eat the whole batch.

L-Burt said...

Sign me up for some of those! I love ice cream and ice cream sandwiches are my fave, but I've never had one with a chocolate bar like that, but it looks amazing!

kickpleat said...

These bars not only look delicious, but they sound delicious as well. I love the addition of espresso & cinnamon.

Steph said...

I love those bars! They're so rich and buttery. I think I might bake some this wk since I have some toffee bits.

grace said...

ah, rollerblades and ice cream sandwiches. good times. these look like really satisfying treats!

Patricia Scarpin said...

That reminds me that I have never had ice cream sandwiches in my entire life - gotta change that asap! These are making me dream!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

I've had ice cream sandwiches on my mind lately, too. Your version looks addictive. I'm sure popping them back in the freezer for 1/2 an hour would firm that ice cream right up.

Anonymous said...

great idea! those look delish!

janet said...

This looks incredibly rich and tasty! I am with you, though, that I have a limited appetite for ice cream but there is a soft spot in my tummy when I cave. :)

jodye @ send food said...

These look amazing! I have the book but haven't gotten a chance to look through it thoroughly. Thanks for testing!

fresh365 said...

I have GOT to try these. I am in love with toffee and am drooling on my screen over here. Awesome!

Pam Walter said...

I'm not a big ice cream fan, but these look irresistable!

Sweet & Savory Summer said...

I've always said that caramel, ice cream and cheesecake are the keys to my heart- I have to make this it looks amazing!

Deborah said...

Ice cream makes me happy - so I'm smiling right now! :)

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

Oh that looks so yummy. I'm not a big ice cream person on its own but it goes great with so many baked goods.

Johanna GGG said...

I usually find ice cream easy to resist but there are exceptions and this would be one - looks delicious and I love how soft and oozy it looks - just my sort of thing

Dana said...

Oh man. I just gave away my copy of that book because I haven't had good luck with it. Apparently I didn't look at the recipes too carefully. These look amazing and so impressive for a party!

Kevin said...

Those look so good with the ice cream melting and dripping from the sides!