I wanted to make a treat for our Super Bowl party, but I just made a cake for my husband's birthday so cupcakes were out, and I'm not very good at decorating cookies. If you follow me on Pinterest, you've probably noticed I have a small ice cream addiction, so when my thoughts turned to frozen treats these football ice cream bars were born. Now I just need to figure out how to mass produce these and sell them at Lambeau Field... Where else can you find a frozen football?! (The MN Vikings play indoors!)
2 quarts vanilla bean ice cream
2 packages Nestle Peanut Butter Swirled Morsels (or plain chocolate chips)
1 cup (about 1/2 package) white chocolate chips (or almond bark)
7 tablespoons sweet almond oil
I used Nestle Peanut Butter Swirled Morsels because they're closer to the color of a real football than plain chocolate. I tried one last night and have to say, the peanut butter/chocolate shell made these ice cream bars pretty awesome!
1. Line a cake pan with parchment paper. Allow the ice cream to thaw a bit in it's container before spreading it in the bottom of the pan. Use a large spoon or spatula to spread the ice cream, making it as smooth and even as possible. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the freezer until frozen solid.
2. Line an empty cookie sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat and stick it in the freezer. You'll need it later!
3. Find or make a football shaped cookie cutter. I made mine from an empty frosting container. Just cut the top and bottom off and flatten the tube. When it pops back up you'll have a perfect football! If you don't have a frosting container, try a soda can, juice bottle, or a disposable plastic cup.
4. Once your ice cream slab is frozen solid, use a knife to loosen any edges that may be stuck to the pan, then lay a cutting board on top of the cake pan and flip it over. Gently pull on the paper, if needed, to release the ice cream from the pan.
5. Working quickly so the ice cream doesn't melt, use your cookie cutter to cut football bars from the slab. Slide a spatula under each bar before removing the cutter and transfer to your ice cold cookie sheet. Gently push on the top of the ice cream bar to release it from the cutter. Once the pan is full, put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes. (If at any time the ice cream starts to melt too quickly, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes until it's solid enough to work with.)
6. Make a small slab with the leftover scraps. (I was able to cut 8 bars from the first 9x13 slab I made, and 4 bars from the second slab that was half that size.) Repeat steps 3-4.
7. Carefully slide a popsicle stick into each bar. Try to keep the stick as flat as possible to prevent it from poking out of the bar. I found this easier to do when the bars were frozen in place after taking them out of the freezer. Once the sticks are in, cover with plastic wrap and put it in freezer until the bars are frozen solid.
8. To make the peanut butter/chocolate coating, put a pot of water on the stove to boil. Pour two bags of peanut butter/chocolate morsels and 6 tablespoons almond oil into a heat-proof bowl that is large enough to cover your pot of water.
9. Set bowl over boiling water and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Carefully remove the bowl from the heat. The bowl may not feel hot, but hot steam will escape when you remove it from the pot!
10. Allow chocolate mixture to cool to room temperature. If you want to use a candy thermometer, anywhere between 70-78 degrees is fine. If the mixture cools too much and begins to thicken, put it back over the boiling water until melted.
11. Pour a spoonful of chocolate over a frozen ice cream bar and let the excess run off into the bowl. Repeat as needed on the back and sides of the bar. The chocolate will begin to solidify almost immediately. (The uncovered ice cream bars tend to melt quickly, so I just pulled them out of the freezer a few at a time.) Once you've covered a few bars, put them back in the freezer and start on the next batch.
12. Mix 1/2 cup of white chocolate with 1 tablespoon almond oil, and heat over boiling water. Allow to cool and pour into pastry bag with a small round tip. Decorate the footballs with seams and laces. Store in a covered container in the freezer until ready to serve.