STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE ICE CREAM BARS
Step back into your childhood with this nostalgic recipe for homemade strawberry shortcake ice cream bars. Fresh fruit and cream will bring a bright, fresh flavor to the bars and the strawberry/cookie crumb will transport you back in time to a happy summertime place.
Ice Cream Memories
Having seen an ice cream truck recently while sitting at a red light in my car, I heard the familiar carnival music and smiled to myself as I watched children, still in swimsuits, run towards the truck.
I remember as a child, getting so excited when I heard the chiming music of the ice cream truck. And the man inside was always so sweet and friendly, making suggestions and telling us to ‘be good and enjoy’ as he handed us our treats.
The dilemma was whether to get the fudgesicle or the strawberry shortcake bar. I adored both, but usually, the bar won out. My mouth watered while waiting to sink my teeth into the sweet confection of semi-crunchy, flavorful mystery pink and white bits covering the creamy ice cream. Heaven. Pure heaven.
Not long after my walk down memory lane, I found what I thought to be those childhood delights in my grocery store. And yes, of course, I bought a box.
I waited for dessert with tremendous anticipation to dig into one. Upon opening the wrapper, my nose was assaulted with the offputting scent of fake strawberry extract. Confused but undaunted, I carried on.
Imagine my disappointment to discover the chalky, icy consistency of the vanilla ice cream; the strong chemical taste to the ‘strawberry’ center; and the mushy, grainy consistency of the coating.
This was not the strawberry shortcake ice cream bar of my youth. I was offended and indignant. How could ‘they’ tamper with my beloved summertime treat? I was on a mission to recreate that childhood memory.
My copycat recipe recreates that nostalgic taste, but with a freshness and creaminess that the ice cream truck treats never had.
You will need popsicle molds for this recipe. I like using silicone molds because they make unmolding the bars so easy. You basically can peel the mold off of the bar. Flawless and simple.
- Fresh strawberries – you could use frozen, but when fresh strawberries are in season, the taste cannot be beat.
- Granulated sugar
- Heavy whipping cream
- Vanilla extract
- Sweetened condensed milk – be sure not to use evaporated milk.
- Shortbread cookies – I love using Lorna Doone brand as I think it has the best flavor, but use what you like.
- Freeze-dried strawberries – you can find these either in the bulk food bins, the baking aisle, or online.
- Unsalted butter
Steps To Make This Recipe
- Mash the strawberries and sugar together. Set aside.
- Whip the heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla together with a mixer until it forms stiff peaks.
- Fold in the strawberries and any syrup that has formed.
- Spoon the mixture into your popsicle molds. Freeze.
- In a food processor, pulse the freeze-dried strawberries, cookies, and melted butter together until a small crumb develops.
- Pour the crumbs into a flat plate.
- Unmold the popsicles and press them firmly into the crumbs until all sides and the top of the popsicle is covered in the strawberry/cookie crumbs.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the freezer until ready to eat!
- Be sure to use freeze-dried strawberries and not dehydrated strawberries. The freeze-dried berries are crunchy and will break down into crisp bits. The Dehydrated ones maintain a bit of chewiness that is not what we want in this recipe.
- If you don’t have, can’t find, or don’t like Lorna Doone cookies, use vanilla wafers, vanilla sandwich cookies, or any shortbread cookie instead.
- Take the time to freeze the bowl and beaters before you start whipping the cream. It will whip faster and easier.
- Short on time? Buy frozen strawberries in syrup instead of mashing and macerating fresh berries. Trust me, no one will know you took the shortcut. Macerating the berries yourself allows you to control the sweetness, but we don’t always have the time.
More Frozen Treats To Enjoy
STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE ICE CREAM BARS
- 1 pound fresh, ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (more if your berries are not sweet. Taste to be sure)
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream, ice cold
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk, ice cold
- 2 (10-ounce) boxes of Lorna Doone shortbread cookies
- 1 cup freeze-dried strawberries
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Place your mixing bowl and beaters into the freezer while you mash the strawberries.
- In a large bowl, place the sliced strawberries, along with any juice that may have accumulated, and the granulated sugar. Stir to combine and then mash the berries and sugar together until the mixture is somewhat chunky with medium-sized berry pieces. Set aside to macerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Remove the cold bowl and beaters from the freezer.
- Pour in the ice cold heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and ice cold sweetened condensed milk.
- Whip the mixture until stiff peaks form. Depending on what mixer you are using, this could take 5 - 10 minutes. Be careful not to overwhip the cream or you will have sweet, flavored butter (which would be delicious on a bagel).
- When the cream is whipped, fold in the strawberries and the syrup. Continue to fold until the berries are well incorporated.
- Using a spoon, divide the mixture among the popsicle molds. If you have leftover ice cream, pour it into a freezable, covered container to enjoy later. Place the sticks into the molds and cover the molds with plastic wrap.
- Freeze the molds for at least 6 hours or preferably, overnight.
- Make the coating. Place the cookies in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the cookies are roughly chopped.
- Add the freeze-dried strawberries to the food processor. Pulse together with the strawberries are fully integrated with the cookies and the crumbs are small in size.
- Pour in the melted butter and pulse until the mixture is fully incorporated.
- Add the strawberry/cookie crumb mixture to a shallow plate.
- Put parchment paper on a large baking sheet and set aside.
- Unmold the bars and place them onto the parchment paper. Allow them to sit at room temperature for 1 minute to soften slightly.
- Coat each bar with the strawberry crumb mixture. Press the bar gently into the crumbs to ensure that they stick. Repeat on all sides of the bar. Place back onto the parchment paper and continue with the remaining bars.
- Once all the bars are coated, return the baking sheet to the freezer for about 30 minutes to harden. Serve immediately or individually wrap each bar in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
- Enjoy and regress back into your childhood.
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