baked occasionally july – nanaimo ice cream bars

baked occasionally july |

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.


nanaimo ice cream bars


    For the crust
  • 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
  • For the ice cream
  • 2 pints ice cream (recommended: vanilla, coffee, or salted caramel)
  • For the fudge
  • 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


    Make the crust
  1. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving 2 inch overhang
  2. Place walnuts in a large bowl
  3. 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.
  4. Coarsely crush pretzels, leaving peanut-sized chunks, and add to the bowl with walnuts and biscuit crumbs.
  5. Place another large bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add butter to the bowl and heat until melted.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and place into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.
  9. Ice cream time
  10. 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.
  11. Remove crust from refrigerator and spread the ice cream over the crust, smoothing the top.
  12. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the freezer for 2 hours.
  13. Make the fudge
  14. While the bars are chilling, make the fudge layer by heating the cream, butter, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over low heat.
  15. Stir the mixture and once it begins to simmer remove the pan from the heat.
  16. 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.
  17. Fudge time
  18. Remove pan from the freezer and remove the plastic wrap; pour the fudge over the top of the ice cream layer.
  19. 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.
  20. Serving
  21. Remove bars from pan using the parchment overhang to pull the bars up from the pan. Place on a cutting board.
  22. Run a sharp knife under warm water and cut into bars, running the knife under water and wiping it clean as needed.
  23. Serve immediately, or wrap individual bars with plastic wrap and store in a freezer-safe bag until ready to eat.



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drumstick cupcakes

drumstick cupcake 1032

Imagine, if you can, a world in which you can have all the flavors of ice cream … inside of a cake. Are you there yet? It might not require too strong of an imagination, but you catch my drift.

I’ve been dreaming up this recipe baby for awhile now and had a few kinks to figure out…

1. How do I make the cake taste like a drumstick ice cream cone?

2. How do I make the frosting taste like ice cream?

3. Do I fill the cake with frosting too, or just put it on top?

These are life’s tougher questions. What can I say, making recipe babies is hard work and is definitely not for the faint of heart.  Continue reading

Jeni’s Spinalong #3 – S’mores Ice Cream with Toasted Marshmallow and Fudge Ripple

smores ice cream 1011

With the third installment of our Jeni’s Spinalong Series, Mrs. Table and I chose a nice, broad theme. Our original plan was a “back to school” theme, during which we discovered that we were creating quite literally the same. exact. ice cream. So, we decided to think bigger and broader with this month’s theme and went for a simple: “Welcome to Fall” theme, or -more accurately – our feels about fall. The recipe requirement? GravelContinue reading

Jeni’s Spinalong #1 – lucky charms ice cream and salty cereal gravel

lucky charm 0316

You know that wonderful lady over at A Periodic Table? Well, after falling in love with our Jeni’s books, we thought it would be fun to team up for a Jeni’s Ice Cream Spinalong! Because cooking is always more fun with friends, even when those friends are 1,500 miles away.

So here we are, with our first ice cream debut…

A little bit about the process… We pick a base recipe and a theme. It’s really that simple. Armed with that information, we retreat to our separate laboratories to work our magic, then come back together when we’re done to reveal what we’ve created. This month we chose an easy recipe: Jeni’s Basic Sweet Cream… and for the theme? Breakfast. Because who doesn’t want to eat ice cream for breakfast?!

This project really happened to showcase how versatile the Jeni’s recipes can be. Shannon turned our base into a delightful Sticky Bun Ice Cream while I went for Lucky Charms Ice Cream, which I thought would be super fitting for March. You know, with the leprechauns and all.

Continue reading

samoa cookie ice cream cake


December is a crappy month to have your birthday. It’s the kind of month where your birthday is often overlooked, your birthday gift is usually combined with your Christmas present, no one can come to your party because they’re all too busy doing other family and holiday things, and your cake is tucked away and forgotten about until February when things have finally started to calm down again. (Or, the pictures are at least.)

Screw you, December. Am I right?

If you asked Mr. Eats, he would tell you the other drawback of having a December birthday is that he never gets his favorite kind of cake: ice cream cake. Because it’s December and who eats ice cream in December? That’s just silly! (Or that’s what I keep telling him, at least.)

That being said, since we were making an effort to make his birthday extra awesome this year, after many years (six, to be exact) of him asking… I finally made him an ice cream cake for his birthday.

Not just any ice cream cake, but a Samoa Cookie Ice Cream Cake. Which is relevant again in February, because hey guys! It’s Girl Scout Cookie Season! I know because they have set up shop outside our local grocer, and I’ve had to bury my face in my phone when I leave the store to prevent from being assaulted. WHO CAN SAY NO TO TINY GIRL SCOUNTS? My sister even offered to ship me boxes if I need them because, you know, that’s totally normal.

ice cream cake 2

So here is my belated (but still relevant) Samoa cookie ice cream cake. If you have never had a Samoa before, I feel bad for you, but let me explain to you what this involves. The cookie is a layer of shortbread, covered with a caramelly-coconut layer, then finished with a layer of chocolate drizzle. I made a bar version of them last year, too.

For this “cake”, you have a layer of shortbread cookie crust, which I guess is optional but I wanted to be able to move the thing. That is topped by a layer of salted-caramel shortbread ice cream, which is topped with more salted caramel and chopped up samoa cookies, then a layer of milk chocolate ice cream that has been swirled with Samoa cookies and chocolate.

I’m drooling just thinking about it.

Now, before we get to the recipe, let me warn you. The recipe is long. It is long because it is actually like six recipes combined into one amazing recipe. DO NOT LET THIS SCARE YOU. I am super lazy and I made it which means YOU CAN MAKE IT TOO!

So, before we get started, here are a couple of things to keep in mind: 

1. If you have the type of ice cream maker that requires a 24-hour chilling period before you spin, you will want to build that into your recipe. Most likely, you will have to spread out your ice cream making over two days.

2. While I made my ice creams from scratch, you could absolutely use your favorite store-bought ice creams as stand-ins. Just let them soften on the counter for about 15 minutes before attempting to mold them into cake form.

3. Likewise, you could make, spin, and package the ice creams way ahead of time, then soften them and mold them into cake form one day in advance.

4. No Girl Scout Cookies? No Problem! Nowadays they even have all those brand name NON-girl-scout cookies, which means you can actually make this cake any time of year, regardless of how many Girl Scout cookies you have hoarded in your stash. I promise I won’t tell.

5. Overwhelmed? Don’t be! Break the process up into parts that you are comfortable with. Here is what my process looked like?

  • I made both of my ice cream bases and the cookie crust on Day 1.
  • I made the sauces and spun my first ice cream on Day 2, then washed and chilled my container for another 24 hours (which meant Day 3 was out of bounds).
  • I spun my second batch of ice cream on Day 4. Day 4 was a workday but it didn’t matter because it took like 20 minutes to pour my pre-made ice cream base into the spinning canister and let it work its magic.

6. In a Jam? Tweet me! I try to keep an act on all modes of communication, but my phone alerts me when you tweet at me, so just tweet me with your questions and I’ll be happy to help!

Now go get ’em, tiger!

samoa cookie ice cream cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 12 hours, 40 minutes

Yield: 1 10 by 5 inch loaf cake

While I made my ice creams from scratch, you can definitely substitute you favorite store-bought flavors and sauces as well. You will not use all of the sauces, and that's ok because it means you will have extra to drizzle over the cake slices when serving!


  • 1 recipe cookie crust (optional)
  • 1 recipe chocolate ice cream
  • 1 recipe cookie ice cream
  • 1 box samoa cookies
  • 1 box trefoil cookies
  • 1 recipe salted caramel
  • 1 recipe chocolate shell
  • 10 by 5 inch loaf pan
  • For the crust
  • 1 1/2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • For the salted caramel
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • For the chocolate shell
  • 12 ounces chocolate of your choice, chopped
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • For the shortbread ice cream
  • 2 2/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup shortbread cookies, roughly chopped
  • For the chocolate ice cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 ounces bittersweet (70% or more) chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


    Make the cookie crust
  1. Wrap the inside of a loaf pan with saran wrap, allowing for some overhang. This will make it much easier to remove the ice cream later, trust me.
  2. Melt butter and pour into cookie crumbs. Stir until crumbs are the texture of wet sand, and press into saran or parchment-wrapped loaf pan. Place into freezer to chill.
  3. Make the salted caramel
  4. In a small saucepan, combine the cream and fleur de sel. Bring to a simmer over very low heat until the salt is dissolved. (I hate dirtying extra pans, so I cheated and warmed mine in the microwave for just under a minute, stirring to ensure the salt dissolved).
  5. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan combine 1/4 cup water, the sugar, and corn syrup, stirring them together carefully so you don't splash the sides of the pan.
  6. Cook sugar mixture over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350 degrees F*(see note above), 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 1 minute.
  7. Add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Whisk in the sour cream. Let the caramel cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until you are ready to spin the ice cream This can be made up to two days in advance.
  8. Make the chocolate shell
  9. Combine coconut water and chopped chocolate in a bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove from heat and continue stirring until completely smooth.
  10. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals at 50% power until almost completely melted. Remove from microwave and continue stirring until completely melted. Set aside until you are ready to use.
  11. Make the shortbread cookie base
  12. Mix 2 tablespoons of milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl. In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese and sea salt until smooth. Fill a separate large bowl with ice water and set aside.
  13. In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to boil. Boil for 4 minutes, then remove from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture.
  14. Return the pan to the heat and bring to a boil for another minute.
  15. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the chopped cookies and set aside while the cookies steep, about 5 minutes.
  16. Force mixture through a sieve, then pour into a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Submerge in ice water until chilled, then transfer to refrigerator until ready to spin.
  17. Make the chocolate ice cream base
  18. Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl (this is called “making a slurry”). Set aside.
  19. Chop chocolate and put it into a medium bowl. Fill a separate large bowl with ice water.
  20. Combine the remaining milk, the cream, evaporated milk, sugar, and corn syrup in a large saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Add the cocoa, whisking until well-mixed. Continue boiling for 4 minutes.
  21. Remove the pan from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Return to heat and bring back to a boil, stirring with a spatula, until slightly thickened (about 1 minute).
  22. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the chocolate. Add salt and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
  23. Pour mixture into a 1-gallon freezer bag and submerge sealed bag in ice water until cold (appx 30 minutes). *See note
  24. Refrigerate the base until you are ready to spin your ice cream.
  25. Spin the shortbread ice cream
  26. Pour shortbread base into ice cream maker and spin per manufacturer's directions.
  27. Chop 1/2 cup shortbread cookies, and add to ice cream in the last 30 seconds or so of spinning.
  28. Remove shortbread crust from freezer and pour shortbread ice cream on top of the crust, alternating with salted caramel, until you have reached about halfway up the loaf pan - I did not use all of my shortbread ice cream and packed the rest away separately (I had about a 1/2 pint left over).
  29. Place loaf pan back into the freezer to harden for at least four hours, covering with saran or parchment to protect from freezer burn.
  30. Spin the chocolate ice cream.
  31. Once the shortbread ice cream layer has set, spin the chocolate ice cream per the manufacturer's directions.
  32. Chop 1 cup of the samoa cookies and set aside. Melt the chocolate shell and set aside.
  33. Mix half of the samoas and a few tablespoons of the chocolate shell into the ice cream at that last 30 seconds or so of spinning.
  34. Remove the loaf pan from the freezer and remove any protective parchment or saran.
  35. Drizzle a layer of caramel, and chocolate on top of the shortbread layer, and sprinkle with remaining chopped samoa cookies.
  36. Pour chocolate ice cream over this and cover with saran or parchment and return to freezer for 8 hours to harden.
  37. When ready to serve, remove ice cream from loaf pan and set onto a cutting board. Remove saran and slice crosswise into pieces.


* The easiest way to transfer your liquid base to a ziploc bag is to press the bag into a 4-cup measuring cup and pour the base into there. That allows you to support the bag while pouring. If you have a friend who can help you out, that always works too.

* You may need two boxes of trefoils, but if you buy the Keebler shortbread cookies you will only need one box.

[ Ice cream recipes from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home & Jeni’s Splendid Desserts ]

[ Salted caramel recipe from Baked Sweet & Salty Cake FROM: BAKED: New Frontiers in Baking ]