Essentially a blank canvas, vanilla ice cream can take on the flavors of just about anything. Back in the day, mixing in chocolate chips may have been revolutionary, but today throwing in cookie dough, candy bars, or almost any confection is the norm. Mixing creme-filled cookies into vanilla ice cream may seem dull at this point, but forming that mixture into bars and covering them with a snappy chocolate coating is definitely taking it to the next level.
What to buy: If you prefer to buy rather than make your own ice cream, be sure to get a dense, rich variety. Because higher-quality ice creams contain less air, they freeze into solid, slow-melting blocks that are easier to coat with the melted chocolate. Lower-quality ice creams are fluffed up with air and will melt before the chocolate coating sets. Look for brands labeled premium or super-premium, such as Häagen-Dazs or Double Rainbow.
Professional pastry chefs use a type of chocolate known as couverture, which sets up nicely because it contains more cocoa butter than regular chocolate. The only trick is, you need to temper it. For this recipe, we used E. Guittard 61% Cacao Semisweet Chocolate Wafers; they can be found at specialty grocery stores and online.
Game plan: Tempering the chocolate ensures a snappy coating, but for a quicker alternative, dip the ice cream squares in our Chocolate Shell Ice Cream Topping. The chocolate won’t have the same snap, but the flavor will be the same. Double the recipe so that you have plenty of coating to cover all the bars.
In our experience, it’s best to either avoid tempering chocolate on a hot day or work in an air-conditioned space. Chocolate behaves best at a room temperature between the mid-60s and low 70s. Also, chocolate stays in temper for only a short time, so have everything ready to go and work quickly.