So, a “Dilly Bar,” for those not in the know, is a frosty ice cream treat sold at Dairy Queen. It is almost like an ice cream popsicle – stick and all – made of vanilla soft-serve ice cream coated in chocolate. Truth be told, I am not sure that I have ever had the pleasure of trying a Dilly Bar, though I am a huge fan of Dairy Queen (and my favorite item (in case you were wondering) is a large soft-serve twist (half chocolate/half vanilla) served in a wafer cone and dipped in chocolate – and, yes, the similarities between my fave and a “Dilly” have not gone unnoticed). In fact, I had never even heard of a Dilly Bar, until quite recently, and thus had no idea what I was missing. That is until my friend Kathy, a grandmother, who has been baking for forever, shared a recipe with me called a “Dilly Dessert.”
Kathy generously shares her recipe collection with me on the regular, photographing those from her collection that she thinks I’ll enjoy (she and I both share a love of old-school, “Americana” sweets), and when she sent me the Dilly Dessert recipe, I was instantly smitten. First, I loved the name – I mean who doesn’t want to eat a dilly dessert? And second, when I learned that a Dilly Dessert is essentially a tray of homemade ice cream bars that come together in no time (except the time the bars need to firm up in the freezer) I knew I was on board to make a batch. The recipe Kathy shared called for an Oreo crust, but I decided to use chocolate wafer cookies instead.
I combined the wafers with some light brown sugar and melted butter in my food processer and pressed the crumbs into my pan and then placed it in the freezer to firm up – oh, and did I mention that a Dilly Dessert is of the no-bake variety?? Another plus in my book. You then spread softened ice cream over the chocolate cookie crust (I like to use vanilla, in true “Dilly” fashion, but any flavor you like will work (can I just say mint chocolate chip would be amazing? As would strawberry . . . but I digress) and sprinkle the ice cream with salted and roasted peanuts (but you could leave them out if you opt for a flavor other than vanilla, or just aren’t a peanut lover . . .).
You then place the bars back in the freezer while you make an easy chocolate “ganache” topping, made of chocolate and cream. After spreading the chocolate over the peanut-topped ice cream, you sprinkle with flaky sea salt and return the bars to the freezer for a final stint. And that is it. Done and done, as they say. In short, these homemade ice cream bars make for an excellent summer dessert – for both kids and adults alike, I might add. And, yes: I speak from experience.
Ice Cream “Dilly” Bars with Peanuts and Chocolate
- 12 ozs. Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers or any crispy chocolate wafer cookie
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and warm
- 4 pints vanilla ice cream or your favorite flavor
- 1 1/2 cups roasted and salted peanuts roughly chopped
- 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
- Flaky sea salt for sprinkling optional
- Grease a 13x9x2-inch pan with non-stick spray or softened butter
- Process the wafers in a food processor until finely ground. Add the sugar and butter and process again, scraping down the bowl of the processor as needed.
- Transfer the finely ground wafers to the prepared pan and using your hands (or the back of a one cup dry measuring cup) press the wafer crumbs down into the bottom of the pan, creating a solid, flat block of crumbs. Place in the freezer.
- While, the crust firms up in the freezer, soften the ice cream on the counter until spreadable, about a half an hour. Once softened, spread the ice cream over the crust, sprinkle with the peanuts, pressing them gently into the ice cream and return to the freezer while you make the topping.
- In a large microwave safe bowl, or in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water, combine the chocolate, heavy cream and corn syrup and warm until melted. If using a microwave, heat the mixture in 30 second bursts, stirring after each. Cool to room temperature and spread over the peanut layer. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, if using.
- Return to the freezer and freeze until firm, several hours, if not overnight. Cut with a sharp knife into 16 or 24 squares. Store leftover bars for up to one month in a plastic zippered bag in the freezer.
This recipe first appeared in MainStreet magazine.