Last week, we were all about the unusual ice cream flavors you can make at home. Now, we’re getting back down to earth with more familiar tastes in the form of ice cream-based dessert.

SNICKERS ICE CREAM CAKE BARS

from bettycrocker.com

1 box (18.3 oz) Betty Crocker™ fudge brownie mix

Vegetable oil, water and eggs called for on brownie mix box for cakelike brownies

1⁄2 cup chopped cocktail peanuts

3⁄4 cup caramel sauce

1 container (28 oz) Häagen-Dazs™ ice cream chocolate, softened

1 container (28 oz) Häagen-Dazs™ ice cream dulce de leche caramel, softened

1 container (8 oz) Cool Whip™ frozen whipped topping, thawed

3 bars (1.86 oz each) Snickers™ candy bar, chopped

2 tablespoons chocolate-flavor syrup

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom only of 13-by-9-inch pan with cooking spray.

In large bowl, mix brownie mix, oil, water and eggs until well blended. Stir in peanuts. Bake 24 to 26 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean. Remove brownie from oven to cooling rack. Cool 30 minutes.

Spread 1⁄2 cup of the caramel sauce on top of brownie. Place in freezer 10 minutes. Remove pan from freezer, and evenly spread softened chocolate ice cream on top of caramel layer. Return to freezer 1 hour.

Remove pan from freezer, and evenly spread softened caramel ice cream on top of chocolate ice cream layer. Cover, and place in freezer about 3 hours or until firm.

When ready to serve, spread whipped topping on top of frozen cake. Sprinkle chopped candy bars over top. Drizzle with remaining 1⁄4 cup caramel sauce and the chocolate syrup. Cut into 5 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in freezer.

TIP: To soften ice cream, remove from freezer to refrigerator 20 to 30 minutes before needed. Häagen Dazs™ is a premium ice cream and tends to melt less when assembling the layers.

ICE CREAM COOKIE DESSERT

from tasteofhome.com

1 package (15-1⁄2 ounces) Oreo cookies, crushed, divided

1⁄4 cup butter, melted

1⁄2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened

1 jar (16 ounces) hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed

1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

In a large bowl, combine 33⁄4 cups cookie crumbs and butter. Press into a greased 13-by-9-inch dish. Spread with ice cream; cover and freeze until set.

Drizzle fudge topping over ice cream; cover and freeze until set. Spread with whipped topping; sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs. Cover and freeze 2 hours or until firm. Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving.

SALTINE CRACK ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

from smittenkitchen.com

32 saltine-style crackers

1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, cut into a few large pieces

1⁄2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract

11⁄3 cups (8 ounces) dark chocolate (semi- or bittersweet) chips or the equivalent amount of chopped chocolate

2⁄3 cup toasted, chopped almonds or a nut of your choice (optional)

Sea salt for sprinkling

11⁄2 to 2 cups ice cream, any flavor

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Line the bottom and sides of 1 9-by-13-inch baking sheet or 2 8-by-8-inch cake pans with foil, then lightly coat foil with nonstick spray. Arrange crackers in a single layer so that they fit in the bottom of your pan. In a perfect world, you wouldn’t have to cut any to make them fit flat. In ours, I used a serrated knife to cut several to fit neatly. Having no crackers overlap will make it easier to spread the caramel in a few minutes.

In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and brown sugar together. Stir until it begins to boil, then whisk (which will help the butter and sugar come together) for 2 to 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. I only add salt at this point if using unsalted crackers, i.e. not saltines. Pour over cracker-lined pan(s) and use an offset spatula to evenly spread the caramel, working quickly as it will be eager to cool and set.

In heated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, checking in at 10 minutes to make sure the corners aren’t darkening too quickly. Remove from oven and scatter chocolate chips over caramel crackers. Wait 5 minutes for them to soften, then use a spatula to spread the chocolate into an even layer. Sprinkle with nuts and a couple pinches of sea salt.

Transfer pan(s) to freezer until absolutely cold and solid, about 15 to 30 minutes. Using the foil to lift toffee sheet, carefully transfer the candy to a cutting board and remove the foil. If you’ve made this in one pan, cut your sheet evenly in half with a serrated knife.

Line the bottoms and sides of your baking pan (now foil-free) with a piece of plastic wrap. Place your first sheet of candy chocolate side down in the bottom of your pan. Scoop your desired amount of ice cream over the sheet and spread it into an even layer. Place second sheet of candy, chocolate side up, on top, pressing it onto the ice cream. Return to freezer for several hours, at least 4 but probably 8 is best to get the block of sandwiches solid enough to cut without being completely aggravating.

When sandwich block is frozen solid, transfer to a cutting board (you can also freeze your cutting surface for 10 minutes before using, to give you more time before things get too melty) and use a sharp serrated knife to very, very carefully saw your block into ice cream sandwich squares. I cut my 8-by-8-inch blocks into 16 2-inch sandwiches. This is definitely the peskiest part. If things warm and melt too fast, just place the whole thing back in the freezer for 10 minutes before continuing.

Once cut, return sandwiches to freezer to let them firm up again, before transferring them to a container or freezer bag for store, or, you know, your mouth for near-immediate gratification.

ELVIS ICE CREAM 

SANDWICHES

from joythebaker.com

For ice cream

1 pint vanilla ice cream

4 sliced crisp cooked bacon, finely chopped

2 to 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 medium banana, peeled and mashed

1⁄4 cup creamy peanut butter

To Assemble

48 butter cracker rounds (I used Ritz Crackers)

8 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons coconut oil

coarse sea salt for sprinkling

In a medium bowl, stir together softened vanilla ice cream, chopped bacon, maple syrup, and mashed banana. Stir quickly until all of the add-ins are thoroughly combined. Add in the peanut butter and stir just enough to swirl the peanut butter throughout the ice cream.

Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer to reharden for 4 hours, or overnight.

To assemble, soften the ice cream just slightly and use a small ice cream scooper to scoop a heaping tablespoon of ice cream onto the bottom side of a butter cracker. Top with another butter cracker and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Continue until all the ice cream is gone and quickly place the assembled ice cream sandwiches in the freezer. Freeze for 2 hours before dipping.

While the sandwiches are re-freezing, melt chocolate and coconut oil over a double boiler until smooth and combined. Place the chocolate in a small (but not shallow) bowl.

Remove the frozen sandwiches from the freezer and dip half of the cracker sandwich into the milk chocolate. Shake off excess chocolate and place back on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and return to the freezer to harden the chocolate after all of the sandwiches are dipped.

Once the chocolate is hardened, sandwiches can be stored in a freezer-safe bag.

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These are not an assembled dessert, but they sure look as though they would be tasty on vanilla ice cream.

MAPLE BOURBON CARAMEL SAUCE

from thekitchn.com

2 cups sugar

1⁄2 cup water

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1 cup heavy cream

1⁄2 cup maple bourbon     

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

In a medium to large saucepan, combine the sugar, water and corn syrup and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and stop whisking or stirring after it comes to a full boil. Boil vigorously for 5 to 10 minutes until the sugar reaches an amber color. If you see smoke immediately remove the pan from the heat.

Remove the pan of sugar from the heat and let it sit for 2 minutes. Very slowly add in the cream, and whisk to combine. Use caution as the caramel will bubble and steam up aggressively. Add the maple bourbon, and stir to combine. If you see lumps in the sauce at this point, put the pan back on the heat for one minute, stirring or whisking constantly until smooth.

Remove the caramel from heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool completely before transferring to jars or bottles. This caramel sauce should be stored in the refrigerator and can be kept for up to 2 weeks.

TIPS: Maple bourbon is a style of bourbon made by several producers, like Jim Beam and Knob Creek.

Let your bourbon guide you on color. Typically it is amber in color so aim to bring your boiling sugar water mixture to the same color.

FRESH CHERRY SAUCE

from thekitchn.com

1 pound (16 ounces) stemmed, pitted cherries (fresh or frozen)

1⁄4 cup water

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons cornstarch

Pinch of kosher salt

Combine the cherries, water, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes until desired thickness is reached.

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lward@dailyindependent.com