Welcome back to Baked Occasionally – where Shannon and I bake our way through the Baked Occasions book, month by month, just for fun. We do all the hard work, so you don’t have to, and let you know what tricks we learn along the way!
After weeks of indecision, Mr. Eats chose this month’s recipe… on Friday evening, actually. Yes, I suck, I know. Luckily for us, these required zero tinkering, they came out perfect on the first try.
Although technically for Canada Day, which has passed, I’ll dedicate these babies to my favorite Canadian, Movita Beaucoup in honor of Canada anyway. Besides, these chilly treats will make the perfect treat all summer long regardless of your location.
Featuring a salty, chocolate crust topped with rich, cool ice cream and a thin layer of fudge – these bite-sized treats are absolutely irresistible. When perusing the book recipes, I wasn’t even particularly interested in this recipe, but I gave the burden joy of choosing July’s recipe to Mr. Eats whose love for ice cream immediately drew him to these.
In case you’re wondering, I used Tillamook’s vanilla chocolate chip ice cream because it’s what I had in the freezer. If Tillamook is available near you, you absolutely must get their ice cream as it’s hands down my favorite (mass-produced) ice cream of all time. Just sayin’. This stuff is goooood.
What I liked
- Easy peasy – This is like the easiest thing I’ve ever made. I could have fancied it up with homemade ice cream, but why bother?
- Oven-free! – That’s right! You’d be surprised how hard our a/c has to work when it’s 110 out and I turn the oven on. Trust me, it’s not pretty. Plus, oven-free makes these super kid-friendly too so let the little ones help out!
What I didn’t
- Nothing – Seriously – Not a thing! In this case, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! I’m generally against nuts in my desserts but they blend in perfectly with the bits of pretzel and digestive cookies. If there’s a nut allergy or something in your family, go ahead and omit them I don’t think it’d make much difference.
- 2 ounces (1/2 cup) toasted walnuts,, chopped
- 5 1/4 ounces digestive biscuits or graham crackers (about 15 biscuits)
- 2 1/2 ounces thin pretzel sticks
- 2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- 1 large egg,beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 pints ice cream (recommended: vanilla, coffee, or salted caramel)
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 5 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving 2 inch overhang
- Place walnuts in a large bowl
- Crush digestive biscuits (or graham crackers) until finely ground,, with a few coarse chunks remaining. Add to walnuts. You can do this using a food processor or by putting them into a large ziploc bag and crushing them with a rolling pin.
- Coarsely crush pretzels, leaving peanut-sized chunks, and add to the bowl with walnuts and biscuit crumbs.
- Place another large bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add butter to the bowl and heat until melted.
- Once the butter is melted, remove the bowl from the double boiler and add the brown sugar and cocoa to the bowl, whisking until combined. While whisking, add the egg in a slow steady stream. Return the bowl over the simmering water and whisk for another 60 to 90 seconds until smooth, shiny, and slightly thickened.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla. Add the walnut/crumb mixture, stirring with a spatula to combine until the entire mixture is moistened.
- Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and place into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.
- Set ice cream out for 10 to 15 minutes to soften. Place in a large bowl and stir with a rubber spatula until softened,, but not melted.
- Remove crust from refrigerator and spread the ice cream over the crust, smoothing the top.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place into the freezer for 2 hours.
- While the bars are chilling, make the fudge layer by heating the cream, butter, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over low heat.
- Stir the mixture and once it begins to simmer remove the pan from the heat.
- Add the chocolate and stir until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is completely smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
- Remove pan from the freezer and remove the plastic wrap; pour the fudge over the top of the ice cream layer.
- Use a small offset spatula to spread the fudge in an even layer. Re-cover with plastic wrap and return to the freezer for another 2 hours.
- Remove bars from pan using the parchment overhang to pull the bars up from the pan. Place on a cutting board.
- Run a sharp knife under warm water and cut into bars, running the knife under water and wiping it clean as needed.
- Serve immediately, or wrap individual bars with plastic wrap and store in a freezer-safe bag until ready to eat.
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