Ice Cream Crunch Bars

I’m in New York right now for a publishing event (BEA).  If Kate wasn’t so busy sitting around being lazy (okay okay, so she’s busy growing a human- whatever) she’d be here too, partying it up in the Big Apple.  I brought my cute sister in law along and we’ve had fun exploring the city. I’m going to post a bunch of pics in The Scoop later, but for now- I’ll show you my favorite, from tonight.  This is a huuuuge billboard in the middle of Times Square.  Like 5 million feet tall.  Okay, slight exaggeration, but it’s super duper big.)  It’s on top of American Eagle and always has photos of beautifully dressed, ridiculously good looking people on it, like this:

But tonight, jaws dropped when the most ridiculously good looking of them all showed up there:

I know what you’re thinking.  Wow, they must have paid us a lot of money for our pretty faces.  Darn right.  Actually, if you buy something there, they’ll take your photo and plaster it up there for the masses to see.  Not gonna lie- it was super awesome to stand in the middle of Times Square and see ourselves!  We’re nerdy like that.  Do you like the shamless plug for OBB??  I was going to write something lame like, “Woo Hoo!  NYC Baby!” (What am I? 12?)  And my sister in law said, “No!  Put your website!”  I’m sure everyone was too tired and/or drunk to actually read it and then have the hand-eye coordination to actually type it into their phones, but hey, I can say we advertised in Times Square.

Okay, enough about that- time for food.  Thanks to my sister for saying, “Hey, you know what you should post on your blog?  That amazing crunchy ice cream thing we love…”  Why yes, yes I should.  I LOVE this recipe.  Like LOVE love.  I actually forgot how good it was until I made it for this post and then kicked myself for not posting it before now.  The flavor profile reminds me of fried ice cream, but the dish as a whole is so much better than that. It’s the perfect thing for summer get togethers, potlucks, family nights, whatever.  You make it a day ahead so it makes planning even easier and you’re going to love how crazy-easy it is.  Okay, ready??

Place these four things in a 9×13 pan (I’m making a small batch in the photos.  Don’t make a small batch, you’ll be sad when it’s gone in 4.7 seconds.) Brown sugar, shredded coconut, chopped pecans, and Rice Krispie cereal.  Yep, seriously.

Together, you get sweet, crunchy, chewy, and crispy with so many great natural flavors and textures.  It might seem like a weird, or simple combination, but stick with me.

We’re now going to drizzle it with melted butter, and then bake it in the oven so it gets toasted and caramelized.  If you like, you can sprinkle a little cinnamon in there at this point.

When it’s completely cooled (which doesn’t take long at all) remove half of the mixture and set it aside.  Spread out the remaining mixture in an even layer on the bottom of the pan.  Top it with a carton of softened vanilla ice cream.

It’s important that your ice cream is very soft.  Not melted, but soft.  Think soft serve that comes out of a machine; that’s the perfect texture.  Because you don’t have a packed ‘crust’ on the bottom, the loose mixture will stick to the ice cream and make a big mess (a tasty mess, but a mess none the less) if you’re not gentle.  Plop the ice cream in large spoonfuls like in my picture above, then gently smoosh and smooth until it’s smoothed out.  Top with the remaining crispy goodness, cover it and pop it back in the freezer.

Once it’s firmed up, lift the entire thing out of the pan (you’ll line your pan with foil) and use a big knife to slice those bad boys up.  Bonus points if you can cut in straight lines.  I apparently, cannot.

I can’t even describe the amazing flavors going on here, and the textures…it’s just killer.  So simple and so good.  Trust me.

Especially after it’s softened just a little bit, like 5 minutes, and the ice cream just sort of melts in your mouth and the flavors from the caramelized, toasted coconut and nuts come through with an added crisp from the cereal.

It will make you popular.  I promise.




  1. We have made a variation of this a lot, we called it fried ice cream, probably because of the cinnamon and brown sugar. It is so naughty to have around, especially a whole 9X13 of it! You have to make sure you serve all of it at a party or something, otherwise you might find yourself getting up in the night to sneak a treat!

  2. Just to be sure I’ve got it right, is it a half gallon of ice cream or a whole gallon? I think I might have to make these tonight!

  3. Okay, seriously…..those look amazing! Quick question, when you say real butter do you mean salted or unsalted or doesn’t it matter? Thanks so much!! I LOVE NYC! I hope you get to see a show while you are there!

    1. Rebecca, we’ll always specify unsalted if that’s what we’re talking about, so you can always assume salted unless noted otherwise. For this recipe it probably doesn’t really matter, but I like salted because it helps bring out the sweetness!

  4. These look delicious! I’m thinking you could make them, then cut into individual servings and flash freeze them again, then store for individual enjoyment!

  5. These look wonderful. One question–if you don’t press the “crust” mixture down, doesn’t most of it just fall of when you lift them out of the pan or tip them while eating? No all of it is touching the ice cream that acts as the glue.

  6. These look fabulous and I totally want to make them and drizzle your hot fudge sauce on them. Or strawberry… But I totally hate coconut. Can I just omit? Do I need to replace it with something for volume’s sake? Maybe mini chocolate chips? Can you tell I am so ready to make these?

  7. I used to love getting fried ice cream at a restaurant called Chi-Chi’s when I was around ten years old. Here’s hoping this tasted similar! One question though – my husband is allergic to coconut…is there anything you suggest to substitute? Thanks!

  8. So…these look heavenly however have you ever experimented with the choice of nut? My husband is highly allergic to: Pecans, Walnuts, Macadamia Nuts, Hazelnuts and I think that’s it.
    I’m thinking maybe an almond might work but I don’t know…..thoughts?

    1. My daughter is allergic to all nuts and peanuts, so I’m going to try it with crushed pretzels. I’ve had great success using crushed pretzels in place of pecans in a crust recipe before. I’ll report back ;).

  9. These look wonderful. I have been following your blog for a little over a year now and I love it! Thanks for sharing all your delicious recipes. Both of you have such witty humor and I love reading your blog as well as trying your food. Thanks again for all the great recipes! Can’t wait to try these 🙂

  10. I serve something similar to this with a fruit topping. Make up a batch of strawberry or raspberry Danish Dessert with the matching fruit and serve the ice cream squares on a plate with the yummy fruit sauce on top. Delicious and a little more fancy!

  11. You have become larger than life, what with that huge picture of you and your sil in Times Square! Congratulations! I will try these right away because I always wanted to be popular 🙂

  12. I had these at a shower once (bridal or baby, can’t remember) in the summer and they were so super yummy!! They served them top with pie filling on a plate. Super scrumptious. When I asked for the recipe, they told me to do it in a 9×13 pan and I’ve always thought that there’s not enough of the crumb mixture for both the top and bottom for a 9×13. Now I know why! LOL Definitely making it in an 8×8 from now on!! Love your billboard. I totally would have done something lame like put “woo hoo, NYC!!” if it had been me. lol

  13. Haven’t made them yet, but they look wonderful! I think they would go well with homemade ice cream, because it would be the perfect consistency when it comes out of the ice cream machine. I always have trouble making ice cream desserts because I don’t wait long enough for the ice cream to soften, and then I end up with a big mess!

  14. I’ve been wanting to make some ice cream sandwiches, but haven’t worked up the motivation to make the “sandwich” part. These look much easier, and I’ll have to give them a try!

  15. I served this at a wedding dinner last summer for dessert and we topped it with a raspberry sauce (Kind of like the one you made for the little heart shaped popovers), so-o-o-o-o-o delicious! Love your blog and your food! You girls are hilarious and make me smile all the time!

  16. OMG!!! As a young girl growing up in the 1050’s, my mom this all the time for special occasions, IT’S THE BEST!! We always look forward to this, yummy!

  17. I LOVE this dessert, my sil’s mother made it once years ago and I lost the recipe so I’m so happy to see it! we had it with a raspberry sauce too, so delicious thanks!

  18. I bet the non-coconut-eaters could use oats instead. It won’t taste quite the same, but the oats would have a similar chewiness. I make a granola with oats, rice krispies, pecans, brown sugar, and a few other ingredients and my husband loves it on ice cream. I love the idea of making it into ice cream sandwiches. I think this will be our next family night treat. Thanks for another great recipe!

  19. Can you give any tips on how to get the ice cream soft without being melted? is it just a time thing? or if you cute the gallon in half would that help? Or will it inevitably have some melted and you just don’t use that part? I remember that was my problem before that it was all melted on the outside and a big piece in the middle too frozen to spread easily.

    1. Check out the tips in this post. Basically, you want to stir it every few minutes as it melts, because it will get super soft around the edges and stay firm in the middle. You want to be able to stir the entire thing evenly.

      1. I thought I was following the tips on how to soften the ice cream but apparently I failed because the volume of my ice cream pretty much decreased by half and when my bars were all finished, the ice cream had melted down into the bottom layer. They were still delicious though & maybe next time I’ll get the ice cream softening part right. Great recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  20. I’m in such a baby-and-I-want-chocolate-right-now mode that I think these would be AWESOME with chocolate ice cream and almonds instead of pecans (omit cinnamon) = Crispy Almond Joy Ice Cream Bars!!

  21. I have some toasted coconut leftover from your strawberry-lime shortcake recipe (delish!), and I’m wondering if you think it would work here. Do you think it would burn? Or should I just stir it in after the crust has baked?

  22. Ok, the food, whatever…THAT IS SO AWESOME you were in times square!! My hubby, from NJ, married this po-dunk girl, from TX, and whisked me away to the tri-state area and THAT’S WHERE I SHOULD HAVE BEEN FROM ALL ALONG! The billboards in times square are awesome and you rock! oh, and love the blog and the FOOD!

  23. I used to have this dessert a lot when I was younger… my mom always served it with warm Raspberry Danish Dessert mixed with frozen raspberries… Delicious!!! Thanks for a reminder that I need to make this again, it’s been way too long!!

  24. BTW, I have a downs syndrome grandson, and about 5 years ago when he was about 10 or so, my daughter took him to New York for some kind of fundraiser, and he won the privelege of getting his picture on the jumbo-tron. It was the thrill of his life. They got to purchase a DVD of it. Yours pic was FABULOUS!!!

  25. Okay, totally loving you & Dusanka up there!
    That is the best. The best!
    I love that you put Boise up there too!
    Too fun.

    P.S. The recipe looks just as great too!
    Just pinned it, can’t wait to try it!

  26. These look amazing! I would add those chocolate toffee bits to the mix after baking, just for a little chocolate kick and some extra yummyness.

  27. So my family has been making these for a long time, except we put all the crust on the bottom, then top it with a raspberry sauce. I bet it would be good with your homemade strawberry sauce, too!

  28. I made this with homemade ice cream from the machine; it came out at just the right “spreading” consistency, and I used the new gluten-free Rice Krispies, because I’ve got celiac disease so have to care about that sorta thing. And this was one super yummy gluten-free dessert! Thanks, ladies!!

  29. I have had something similar to this and I love it. I double the crust recipe because I don’t think its enough for a 9×13 pan. I have also just made the crusty and eaten with fruit or yogurt.

  30. It is taking all of my self-control to not eat all the crunchy topping! Must save for ice cream! Hmm, maybe I can just use it as a topping, than it doesn’t matter if there is only 1 cup of it left! You guys are awesome!!Thanks for all the delicious recipes!!

  31. I made these.

    They’re amazing.

    They remind me of fried ice cream and now I can’t get out of my head how awesome they’d be with cinnamon ice cream. Does anyone even make that?

  32. I was wondering if you put the bars in the 9 x 13 pan you cooked the mixture in or not because in the picture it looks like you used an 8 x 8 pan to put the bars in. Thanks!! These look great.

  33. I made these for a party and they were good. Even better was the left over crumble on top of oatmeal in the morning!! No need to get out all of the goodies to add a little sweetness and crunch to the morning.

  34. Made these for a small Mexican themed dinner party last night – I passed them off as “fried ice cream bars.” Due to allergies, I subbed oatmeal and slightly crushed Corn Flakes for the pecans and coconut. Served them with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, whipped cream and a cherry. There were so incredibly good that everyone went back for seconds and thirds. This is, hands down, my new favorite summer dessert.

  35. AMAZING! Just made this for a work-thingy and everyone loved them. They smell heavenly when baking too (I had to do a little taste test before assembling everything). This is a winner. Just in time for summer 🙂

  36. My sister in law makes this minus the pecans. It is so good! What makes it even more amazing is homemade carmel sauce drizzled or poured all over it. That’s how she makes it. I was excited to see it on your blog!

  37. Oh my! I love this recipe too. I grew up eating it in the summer. We called it Fancy Dessert and made a sauce-like topping with Danish Dessert and frozen strawberries. Yum!!

  38. I have been making this recipe for years, but with the addition of a delicious sauce. Try it with your favorite strawberry sauce and fresh strawberries. You won’t regret it! Yummmm!

  39. I wanted to make a nut-free version of this (I love nuts but my son is allergic) so I substituted crushed chocolate cookies for the pecans and used cookies and cream ice cream. So delicious!

  40. I just wanted to add that we make these all the time but we do not soften the icecream that much. We just let it sit out for about 7 minutes so it is not real hard and easy to slice with a sharp knife. Open the carton of icecream so you have a “block” of icecream, cut down the middle to make 2 blocks. Now slice the icecream into 1/2 inch slices and press both sides into the coconut mixture to coat well. Put the slices on a big cookie sheet and cover with saran wrap and put in freezer for at least a couple hours. Then you can wrap each one separately and eat as desired….if they last that long.

  41. I just made these and didn’t feel like using the oven. I put everything in my largest straight sided saute pan and cooked it over medium heat…stirring constantly when things started to really sizzle. Took about 15-20 minutes. I think it worked well…just make sure to keep an eye on it.

    1. Ok…I know I’m leaving comments on an old recipe, but I always skim through the comments before I make something for the first time, so I figured I’d leave another tip in case someone reads this. I bought the rectangular carton of ice cream, took it directly from the freezer, removed the carton from around it by pulling apart the seams, then just sliced the “brick” of ice cream into slabs and laid them over the crunchies in the bottom of the pan. For my 9×13 pan, 6 slabs would have worked pretty much perfectly (I had to do a little trial and error, but I’ll know for next time). I just took a spatula after I had them all laid in there and sort of smushed the seams together a little bit, and I think it worked great. No worries about getting the ice cream melted to just the right consistency…and less ice cream “shrink” because the air isn’t melting out of it.

      1. Ice cream comes in those cardboard containers and crystalizes if it is in the freezer for a while. What can I put it in to keep it longer? I remember my grandmother had a special glass ice cream container she always put hers in.

  42. This was so easy, and insanely delicious. That combination is dangerous 🙂 I also cooked mine in a frying pan. Super easy and doesn’t heat up the house!

  43. Just found your blog today and I’m stoked. This recipe, the fruit rollups, and the one ingredient ice cream are gonna get me a lot of “You are the BEST Momma ever” comments from my little one. THANK YOU!

  44. I’m going to add a layer of mini chocolate chips to the top and bottom of the ice cream layer. We use pretzels with this because of nut allergies.

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