Go beyond an ice cream cone this summer

Spruce up tradition by making your own ice cream sauces, cakes and sandwiches in custom flavors

    Ice cream is the perfect treat for these long, hot days of summer.
    But when you want more than a plain dish or cone of ice cream, add a tasty sauce or make an ice cream sandwich or cake. They don’t have to take a lot of time or effort, although you can get as fancy as you like with the presentation.
    You can make a simple ice cream cake by crushing chocolate sandwich cookies, combining the crumbs with butter and pressing it into the bottom of a pan for a crust. Top with your favorite flavor of softened ice cream, then add a complementary sauce and freeze until firm. A dollop of whipped cream, topped with jimmies, chocolate chips or few pieces of fresh fruit will create the perfect garnish.
    Instead of one large cake, individual servings can be made in ramekins or small cake pans.
    Ice cream sandwiches are delicious, but vary the recipe beyond vanilla ice cream and chocolate wafer cookies.
    Make peanut butter and jelly ice cream sandwiches by layering vanilla ice cream and strawberry jam on peanut butter cookies and freezing them. You can make your own cookies, or save time by using store-bought peanut butter cookies.
    You can also make a delicious sauce for ice cream by warming fruity jelly or jam or by melting a cup of chocolate chips with 3/4 cup whipping cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
    If you’re really ambitious, whip up a batch of homemade ice cream in your favorite flavor. Make more than you expect you’ll need, because it’s likely to disappear quickly.
    Following are a few ice cream treat recipes from bettycrocker.com.



Bananas Foster With Ice Cream

1/2 cup fat-free caramel topping
2 teaspoons dark rum or 1 teaspoon rum extract
2 bananas, cut into chunks
2 cups vanilla low-fat ice cream

    In small microwavable bowl, mix caramel topping and rum. Microwave uncovered on high for 30 seconds, until very warm. Stir in bananas.
    Scoop ice cream into dessert dishes and top with banana mixture.


Dulce De Leche Mocha Dessert

For praline:
10 rectangular graham crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
For filling and topping:
1 quart dulce de leche ice cream, slightly softened
1 16-ounce jar hot fudge ice cream topping
1 quart coffee ice cream, slightly softened
1-1/2 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup coffee-flavored liqueur

    Arrange crackers in single layer in ungreased 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in brown sugar and bring to a boil. Boil two minutes, remove from heat and stir in pecans. Pour over crackers and spread into an even layer. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes, then cool 30 minutes.
    Crush crackers into coarse crumbs. Sprinkle half the crumbs in the bottom of an ungreased 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish.
    Cut and remove carton from dulce de leche ice cream. Cut ice cream into 1/2-inch-thick slices and arrange over crumbs, overlapping slightly. Spread ice cream with spatula until even, pressing down firmly. Freeze one hour or until firm.
    Place hot fudge ice cream topping in resealable 1-quart plastic bag. Cut small hole in bottom corner of bag, then squeeze to pipe fudge topping over ice cream. Scatter remaining praline crumbs over fudge layer. Freeze 30 minutes, until fudge is firm.
    Cut and remove carton from coffee ice cream. Cut ice cream into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices over crumbs, spreading ice cream until smooth. Press down firmly. Freeze.
    Beat whipping cream in large bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold in liqueur. Spread over top of dessert. If desired, garnish with chocolate curls. Freeze four hours, until firm. Let stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Ice Cream Tacos

6  6-inch flour tortillas
1 10-ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons coconut oil
About 6 scoops vanilla ice cream
Candy sprinkles, if desired

    Make six foil balls, then fold tortillas over balls to create taco shapes. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake in a 350-degree oven about 10 minutes, until lightly browned and crisp. Cool.
    Place cooled pan with tortillas in freezer for 10 to 15 minutes, until cold.
    In medium microwavable bowl, heat chocolate chips and oil in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Spoon or brush melted chocolate mixture on inside of each shell to coat. Place back on tray and freeze 10 to 15 minutes, until cold and chocolate is hardened. Reserve remaining chocolate.
    Let ice cream soften a bit. Once shells are cold, fill each shell to the edges with ice cream, being careful not to break the shell. Place ice cream-filled tacos back on the tray in the freezer for one to two hours, until ice cream is very firm.
    Reheat reserved chocolate coating in microwave for 30 to 60 seconds as necessary. Pour chocolate into wide container, such as  a small loaf pan. Remove tacos from freezer and, working quickly, dip each taco into the chocolate coating, being sure to seal the ice cream completely, then dip into candy sprinkles.
    Place back on parchment-lined cookie sheet and freeze another two hours or until firm before serving.


Turtle Brownie Ice Cream Dessert

For brownies:
1 1-pound, 2.3-ounce box fudge brownie mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs as called for on brownie mix box
1/2 cup chopped pecans
For filling:
2 quarts dulce de leche ice cream, slightly softened
1/2 cup hot fudge topping, heated until warm
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

    In large bowl, stir brownie mix, water, oil and eggs until well blended. Stir in 1/2 cup pecans and spread in 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan coasted with cooking spray on the bottom.
    Bake in 350-degree oven for 15 to 17 minutes, until center is set. Do not overbake. Cool completely on wire rack, about 45 minutes.
    Spoon ice cream evenly over brownies, then smooth with back of spoon or rubber spatula. Freeze, uncovered, about three hours, until firm.
    Drizzle hot fudge topping over dessert with fork using quick strokes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup pecans. Let stand at room temperature about five minutes before cutting. Serve topped with whipped topping.

Peanut Butter S’mores Ice Cream Cake

1/2 gallon chocolate ice cream
1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 16-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 7.25-ounce bottle chocolate topping that forms hard shell
1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, roughly chopped, if desired
Additional graham cracker crumbs and miniature marshmallows, if desired

    Remove ice cream from freezer for 10 to 12 minutes — no longer or you will end up with an icy cake.
    In medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Place in an eight or nine-inch springform pan that’s been coated with cooking spray. Press evenly in bottom of pan.
    In small microwavable bowl, microwave peanut butter uncovered, on high for 15 to 20 seconds, until lightly melted and somewhat pourable.
    In large bowl using a spatula or electric mixer, mix ice cream and peanut butter until almost no streaks of peanut butter remain. Stir in marshmallows. Work quickly so ice cream does not completely melt. Spread evenly over crust and cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap against ice cream to help prevent ice crystals from forming. Freeze four to six hours.
    Before serving, remove from freezer and pour chocolate topping over cake, allowing some to drip down sides. Immediately top with chopped peanuts and additional graham cracker crumbs and miniature marshmallows so they harden into the shell.
    Once shell hardens, slice and serve or freeze until ready to serve. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before cutting.

Stout Beer Ice Cream Floats

1 cup premium vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup stout draught beer
3 tablespoons chocolate-flavor syrup

    Using small ice cream scoop, about 1 tablespoon, place 2 small scoops ice cream into each of eight shot glasses. Slowly pour about 1 tablespoon beer into each glass.
    Drizzle each float with about 1 teaspoon syrup. Serve immediately with small spoons.



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