I have long said that if I could only choose one type of food to eat for the rest of my life, it would definitely be ice cream. I loooove ice cream. My love affair with the stuff started with family bike trips to the Dairy Queen as kid. At summer camp during my teen years, I was introduced to the gloriousness of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food, an addiction that continues today. And don’t even get me started on my gelato obsession. Our family rule is: when in Europe, ice cream must be eaten at least once daily. Needless to say, I’m a fan of ice cream. That’s why I’m so excited to share with you our all-new No Bake Ice Cream Bars!
Recently, Lane and I took a weekend trip up to her cabin for a power cooking weekend. We had a list of planned recipes to try for the weekend, long grocery lists, and a tight timeline to get things done. While picking up a few last minute groceries just before we left, I had an idea to try a no-bake, ice cream treat for summer. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it, but I knew I wanted something easy and quick. I grabbed a box of honey graham crackers, a jar of salted caramel sauce, and some praline pecans and tossed them into my cart. The rough plan for the recipe came together on the drive up and we popped into local grocery store just ahead of her cabin to grab the final, key ingredient – ice cream!
Not all spontaneous recipe ideas turn out. We’ve had some epic recipe fails and more than a few so-so outcomes when we wing it. But this one was a one-and-done winner! And I can’t wait for you all to try it.
The best part about these no bake ice cream bars is how absolutely simple they are. The bars start with a simple graham cracker crust. I used honey grahams but you could absolutely use cinnamon grahams with cinnamon ice cream for another great twist. Toss in some melted butter and a little sugar and press that deliciousness into an 8×8 pan. Let it sit in the freezer a bit to firm up (don’t skip this step – it will make it harder to spread the next layers!) and then spread on a thick layer of your favorite ice cream. To keep things bright and simple, I used a classic vanilla bean here. I think coffee would also be incredible.
The ice cream is topped with a layer of store bought caramel sauce and then coated with crushed up praline pecans. You can absolutely make your own candied nuts, but Lane had a huge jar of them from Costco and they were fantastic so don’t feel you need to get fancy here! For just a little something extra, I like to sprinkle them with a pinch of good, flaky sea salt.
Once the bars are assembled, either slice them and serve immediately or pop them back into the freezer for up to a week. I recommend you take them out of the freezer 5-10 minutes before you want to serve them so they are a little softer. I’m planning to make a pan of these for our family 4th of July celebration – they are perfect for easy summer gatherings!
Find the recipe below.
Looking for more easy summer recipes? Give these favorites a try:
No Bake Ice Cream Bars!
No bake, semi-homemade ice cream bars. These tasty treats are perfect for summer gatherings and can be endlessly customized to your taste and the contents of your freezer. Enjoy!
- 1 1/4 cups honey graham crackers, crushed
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 Tablespoon sugar
- 1.5 quart vanilla bean ice cream, slightly softened
- 1 10 ounce jar caramel sauce (We love the Fleur de Sel Caramel sauce from Trader Joe's)
- 1 cup praline pecans, chopped
- sea salt, to taste
In a food processor, quickly crush the graham crackers until they resemble coarse sand.
Place the graham crackers in a medium bowl and add the melted butter and sugar. Stir to combine.
Press the cracker mixture in a freezer safe 8x8 pan to form a crust. Place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to chill.
After the the crust has chilled, gently scoop the softened ice cream onto the crust layer and spread to cover the crust. Return to the freezer for an additional 5-10 minutes.
Pour the caramel sauce over the ice cream layer and then cover with chopped praline pecans. Sprinkle with a small pinch of sea salt, if desired.
Cut into bars and serve immediately or return to the freezer until ready to eat! I recommend taking the bars out of the freezer about 10 minutes before serving to allow them to soften slightly.
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