Summertime Sweets - The Explorer: Food, Recipes & Entertaining

Summertime Sweets

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Posted: Sunday, May 11, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:33 am, Mon May 12, 2014.

(Family Features) You can turn any summer day into a special occasion with a cool ice cream treat. From classic favorites to innovative new flavors, it only takes a scoop or two to bring out plenty of smiles.

For kids, summertime is about chilling out, and there’s no better way to enjoy this slowed down pace than with a refreshing, frosty treat. Celebrate birthday parties, holiday gatherings or days that end in “y” with special ice cream concoctions that are destined to create sweet memories.

Celebrate summer

Grab a spoon and dig into these scrumptious recipes, featuring delicious Blue Bunny ice cream flavors. These treats make it easy for everyone to customize to their own sweet preference, whether it’s pairing creamy Blue Bunny ice cream with the gooey goodness of freshly-baked chocolate cake, the buttery finish of a flaky pie crust or in a classic, richly adorned parfait.

Layer Up with a Topping Station

The sky’s the limit when it comes to the finishing touches of your favorite ice cream treats. Whether you’re indulging in a decadent parfait or simply dishing out a couple of scoops, it’s easy to get everyone involved in a topping soiree.

A topping station is the perfect activity for birthday parties or other kid-oriented summer celebrations. Just make sure the station is easily accessible — at their level — and place each topping in its own special bowl or serving dish along with a spoon. Also, be sure to label each topping in case anyone has a food allergy, especially when serving nuts and fruits.

The little ones will have a blast mixing different tastes for the perfect sweet combination. Here are some tasty topping ideas to take your ice cream topping bar to a whole new level:

  • Colorful sprinkles
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Icing
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Gummy bears
  • Chocolate candies
  • Strawberry slices
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Banana chunks
  • Chopped pecans, peanuts or almonds
  • Crushed cookies
  • Crushed mint candies
  • Fruit preserves
  • Whipped cream
  • Hot fudge or caramel

For other great ideas to cool down your summer days and nights, visit www.BlueBunny.com.

Peanut Butter Sundae Parfaits

Recipe: Peanut Butter Sundae Parfaits

Ingredients:

  • 6 waffle or sugar cones
  • Chocolate cake or brownies
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Blue Bunny Peanut Butter Panic Ice Cream
  • Maraschino cherries, sprinkles or cupcake pompom topper for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Break up waffle cones, chocolate cake or brownies and chocolate chip cookies into bite-size pieces and place in individual containers or cupcake cups. Or use favorite cake or cookie flavors to customize. Layer ice cream, waffle cone pieces, cake pieces and cookie pieces into mini parfait glasses, or any small glass or bowl. Garnish with Maraschino cherry, sprinkles or cupcake pompom topper.

Yield 10 to 12 sundae parfaits

Mini Ice Cream Pies

Recipe: Mini Ice Cream Pies

Ingredients:

  • 2 round pie crusts, thawed
  • 1 3 1/2-inch round cookie cutter
  • 10 2- to 3-inch scalloped tart shells
  • 3 cups chocolate chips
  • Blue Bunny Bunny Tracks Ice Cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll out round pie crusts and use round 3 1/2-inch cookie cutter to cut out circles from pie dough. Round cookie cutter should be slightly larger than top of tart shell. Cut out 5 rounds from each pie crust. Grease tart shells and place pie dough rounds down into tart shells, carefully pressing dough into scalloped edges and bottom of tart shell. Pierce bottom of tart shell with fork to prevent it from baking too high. Bake tartlet shells for 8 to 9 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool before flipping out onto work surface. Melt chocolate chips in microwave-safe bowl or double broiler. Carefully dip scalloped edges of tart shells into chocolate and flip over to let cool. Scoop mini balls of ice cream into shells. Top with drizzle of warm, melted chocolate chips and garnish with chopped peanuts.

Yield 10 mini pies

Ice Cream Cupcakes

Recipe: Ice Cream Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • Cupcake liners
  • 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • 1 container Blue Bunny Caramel Fudge Brownie Sundae, Vanilla or your favorite Blue Bunny flavor
  • Decorations (such as sprinkles, cupcake skewers, cherries)

Preparation:

  1. To make cupcakes, preheat oven to 350°F. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pan. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In medium bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Add flour mixture, alternating with coffee. Beat until just incorporated. Fill cupcake liners about 1/3 full to allow for ice cream. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool. Using round ice cream scoop, scoop out rounds of ice cream and set on baking sheet in freezer. Once ice cream scoops are frozen, carefully place one into each cupcake and top with fun decorations.

Yield 18 to 20 cupcakes

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