Last week I set out to make my favorite childhood frozen treat, the good humor "strawberry shortcake" ice cream bars. I LOVED these things as a kid. They even had them at my middle school and high school, and I ate one about 50% of the days that I was in school those 7 years. I wanted to recreate them not only for the challenge of it, but also because it's strawberry season and I thought they would taste 10 times better with homemade ingredients and fresh local berries. On top of that, the packaged version contains 46 ingredients, not counting "natural and artificial flavors". Mine has a whopping 8. Milk, milk powder, cream, sugar, strawberries, butter, flour, vanilla. Also salt if you wanna count that.
These bars proved to be a bit harder than I initially expected. First of all, I haven't made ice cream since I left my gelato production job in February, and even then, I was used to making it in a professional environment with all the best equipment. I failed the first try. I also winged a cookie recipe with some of the strawberry puree in the dough in an attempt to make some of the crust red. That cookie was NOT good. After all this work, I couldn't even find popsicle sticks, so I had to buy the cheap 1 dollar HFCS specials at the store and melt them down to harvest my own sticks!
Some tasty strawberries from the farmers market.
Making the puree. I hate seeds in my fruit. They get stuck in my teeth all day.
The secret to this ice cream is using milk powder to literally turn strawberry puree into milk. That way, the watery strawberry puree wont make the final texture of the ice cream taste icy. After you mix the milk powder into warm milk and let the base cool down, it has a nice thick texture.
My terrible ice cream maker took like 2+ hours to freeze these. Yet another fail, but the end result tasted great regardless.
I put the vanilla ice cream down first, placed all the sticks, and topped it with the strawberry.
After hardening overnight.
These are those attempted red cookies I mentioned earlier. They tasted like rocks.
Moving along! The hardened ice cream bar getting it's cookie coating. This was even a pain because the cookies weren't sticking right at first and the bars threatened to melt and break off the stick.
But in the end, all was well. Some of the strawberry puree on top just to make them look a little more like the real thing.
One bite and I realized that it was totally worth all the trials and tribulations this crazy recipe caused me.
They tasted like the Good Humor version, with the crunchy cookie bits and the strawberry-vanilla combo, but everything just tasted 10 times fresher and more delicious.
They were also a little bigger than their processed counterparts, but that was no problem for the roommates and me.
For the vanilla ice cream, mix a quart of cream with a quart of milk and 2 cups sugar. Heat to steaming but not simmering. Remove from heat and whisk in 90 grams of milk powder (a 1 quart packet). Let cool fully and freeze in your ice cream maker.
For the strawberry ice cream, puree 2 lbs of strawberries and strain to remove seeds and any chunks. Heat 1 quart cream, 1 cup milk, and 2 cups sugar to steaming but not simmering. Remove from heat and whisk in 180 grams of milk powder (two 1 quart packets.) Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and whisk in the strawberry puree. Cool fully and freeze in your ice cream maker.
For the cookies, mix 3 sticks of butter with 1 cup of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla. Mix in 3 and a half cups of flour and some salt. Form a log and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut rounds off the log and bake at 350 for about a half hour until hardened but not really browned.
Then it's just a matter of making the things. Spread out the vanilla on a plate, put down your sticks, and top with the strawberry. Allow to harden, cut, and roll in the crushed cookies. I dabbed on additional strawberry puree to make them look more like the packaged kind.