You Can Put the Good Humor Man Out of Business: Homemade Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bars

Every summer I get the chance to see my friend Dorothy's brother Joe and his family when they come over from London for a D.C. visit. This year they were coming straight to my house from the airport after their trans-Atlantic flight. I thought that some cold and creamy ice cream bars would be the perfect dessert for some jetlagged travelers on a very hot and humid summer day, so I decided to make BraveTart's Homemade Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bars.

I have never eaten an actual Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake Bar. When I was a kid, my ears were constantly attuned for any sign of the ice cream truck in the summertime, but my treats of choice were Drumsticks and Push-Up Pops. However, I don't need nostalgia to know that an ice cream bar filled with strawberry cream, coated in white chocolate, and covered in a crispy rice cereal-strawberry coating sounds delicious.

To be precise, these bars are not actually ice cream, but a frozen variation of Swiss meringue. It's the same filling Stella Parks uses for her Homemade Klondike Bars. You heat a mixture of egg whites, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a double boiler until it reaches 165 degrees; remove the bowl from the heat and whip the mixture until it's glossy and thick; mix in milk; and whisk in heavy cream that has already been whipped to stiff peaks. You transfer part of the mixture to another bowl and add freeze-dried strawberry powder (I skipped the rose water in the recipe because I really dislike rose in my desserts). You add vanilla to the plain meringue mixture, and put the vanilla and strawberry cream mixtures in separate piping bags.

I have two different popsicle molds, a set of Zoku Classic molds with a 3.1-ounce capacity and a set of American Ice Pops molds with a 2.25-ounce capacity. I made a double batch of these ice cream bars (since I was feeding six adults and four kids) and I used all of my molds to make 16 bars. If you make these ice cream bars, I suggest you use the largest molds you have, and, at a minimum, try to use molds that are fatter. Using my American Ice Pops molds was challenging both because of the small capacity and the fact that the molds are rather flat.

I piped vanilla cream into each popsicle mold, and then piped strawberry cream into the center of the vanilla cream, forcing the vanilla cream up around strawberry filling. For my fatter Zoku molds, the strawberry filling really did stay in the interior of the molds, but for my thin American Ice Pops molds, the strawberry filling reached the sides of the mold and I ended up with something resembling a Japanese flag, where I could see a round red spot of strawberry filling in the middle of a field of white vanilla cream. I put the sticks in the molds and froze the bars overnight.
The following morning I dipped each mold briefly in hot water to try to loosen the bars from the molds. It was much easier to release the fat bars from the Zoku molds. For the thinner American Ice Pops molds, I had to wedge an offset spatula between the bars the the molds to free the bars, and the tips of two of the bars broke off as I was trying to release them. I put the bars back in the freezer (on a baking sheet lined with wax paper) while I prepared the coating.

The coating includes freeze-dried strawberries that are finely ground in the food processor, mixed with coarsely ground Rice Krispies cereal. I also prepared what is essentially white chocolate Magic Shell (melted white chocolate with refined coconut oil added) and put it in a tall measuring flask. After letting the chocolate cool to 80 degrees, I dipped each bar into the white chocolate and rolled it in the crisp strawberry coating. Then I put the bars back in the freezer until serving.

These ice cream bars were freaking delicious. The filling is creamy but light, and the strawberry cream is bursting with intense, fruity flavor. But the outside is just as impressive as the inside. The white chocolate coating was satisfyingly crisp and I loved the crunch of biting through it. The airy and crunchy crisped rice-strawberry coating was marvelous and reinforced the strawberry flavor in these bars. Everyone loved the ice cream bars and most of the kids went back for seconds.

I think these bars might be my favorite frozen dessert of all time. Making them does require significant effort, but I'm already dreaming of the next time I'll be able to eat one again. You don't need the Good Humor man to enjoy these exquisite frozen desserts at home.

Recipe: "Homemade Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bars" by Stella Parks, recipe available here at Serious Eats.

Previous Post: "I Would Do a Lot, Every Once in a While: Homemade Klondike Bars," October 18, 2018.