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Have a taste of nostalgia with these Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bars. They're creamy, crumbly, tart, and deliciously sweet!
I remember like yesterday, the panic and excitement I would feel when I heard the ice cream man coming. I would quickly run to my piggy bank, dump my change out, and charge out the door.
There were moments when I had to chase that sweet-filled truck down the road and I had no shame. There was no time to be indecisive but I always knew exactly what I wanted, and I would order the Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bars. Every single time!
If you've never tried them before, now is your chance. My homemade version is much better for you than the original. The only downside is that I can't drive by your house in a cool musical truck to deliver it.
You can recreate this childhood favorite at home with just a few pantry items. Here's what you'll need:
For the vanilla ice cream layer
Coconut Milk - The full-fat canned variety is what you're looking for. This will make the ice cream rich and creamy.
Maple Syrup - You can also use agave or any type of sweetener you prefer.
Vanilla Extract - This complements the strawberry flavor so well. I highly recommend not skipping this.
For the crumb topping
Vegan vanilla cookies (I used gluten-free)
How to make Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bars
Now that you have all your ingredients, you can put these tasty treats together in a snap. Just toss the ice cream ingredients in a blender and give it a whirl. Pour the mixture into your molds and freeze them for 6-8 hours.
While those are chilling, you can make the buttery crumble topping. Pulse the cookies in a blender or food processor to form small crumbs. Place them on a plate, pour the melted butter on top, and incorporate with your hands to form soft buttery crumbles. Now, pulse the freeze-dried strawberries and add them to the vanilla cookie crumbs.
When the ice cream is frozen, run the molds under warm water for 1 minute. Let them thaw for 2-3 minutes so the crumbs will stick. Line a baking sheet or plate with wax paper. Coat the bars with crumbs and place them back in the freezer for 15 minutes. Voila, they are now yours to enjoy!
If you want strawberry ice cream instead, feel free to blend 1 cup of fresh strawberries into the mixture. If you want both strawberry and vanilla, you can make one of each flavor, and layer them into the mold. It's just more time-consuming that way. Another option is, making some bars with all strawberries, and some with all vanilla. It all works!
The original Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bars had both vanilla and strawberry-flavored ice cream. However, my family prefers all vanilla ice cream. The strawberry flavor comes from the crumb coating
Are you ready to get nostalgic? Let's do this
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Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bars (Vegan + GF)
In a blender of food processor, add vanilla cookies and pulse a few times to make small crumbs (make about ¾ cup of crumbs). Pour onto plate. Pour melted butter on top and incorporate with your hands to form soft crumbs.
Now add the strawberries into the blender/food processor and pulse a few times to make small crumbs. Don't over pulse or it will turn into powder (some powder is ok). Pour into vanilla crumbs and mix together. Set aside.
In a blender, add coconut milk, agave, vanilla, and salt. Blend on medium until smooth. Taste for sweetness and add more if needed. Pour into molds and freeze for 6-8 hours.
Remove ice cream from molds by running under warm water for a minute. Place ice cream on a wax paper-lined baking sheet or plate (one that will fit in the freezer). Let bars thaw for 2-3 minutes, so the crumbs will stick.
Place thawed bar into the crumbs. Using a spoon or hands, cover ice cream with crumbs, pressing gently all around. If it's not sticking, let it thaw for 1-2 minutes more. Place back on wax paper and repeat step until bars are finished. Place back in freezer for 15 minutes. Enjoy!
If you want strawberry ice cream instead of vanilla, just add 1 cup of fresh strawberries to the mixture and blend (frozen will work too).
If you want both strawberry and vanilla in the same ice cream bar, you can add ½ cup of strawberries to half of the mixture, and layer the flavors into the mold. It's more time-consuming this way because you need to freeze each layer before adding the next layer (freeze 20 mins for each layer). Another option is, making some bars with all strawberry, and some with all vanilla. It all works!
Prep time doesn't include freezing time.
Store in an airtight container for 4-6 days. I feel like they don't taste as fresh after that.