Posts Tagged ‘National Ice Cream Month’

I-Scream Month

Saturday, July 23rd, 2022

I couldn’t let National Ice Cream Month go by without a blog post. I’m sharing with you a treat I made earlier in the month (for July 4, but it’s still welcome!), ice-cream bars.

In 1922, Christian Kent Nelson, a teacher and confectioner in Iowa, invented the first ice cream bar. According to legend (and the Smithsonian Institution), one of Nelson’s young customers couldn’t make up his mind whether he wanted to buy ice cream or a chocolate bar. “I want ‘em both, but I only got a nickel,” the youth is quoted as saying.

The answer, Nelson decided, was to combine the two. He went into partnership with chocolatier Russell Stover, and the ice-cream bar was born.

Nelson called his creation an I-Scream Bar, but he and Stover soon changed its name to Eskimo Pie. (It was recently renamed “Edy’s Pie” in response to criticism that “Eskimo” is considered a derogatory term for people who live in the Arctic.)

My I-Scream bar is simpler than the one made by Christian Kent Nelson. It doesn’t have chocolate all around each bar, just on top.

The reason for this decision was twofold. First, the cookie base gives the bars plenty of chocolate flavor; spreading chocolate all around would be overkill.

Second, it was much, much easier to spread the chocolate only on the top. Nelson is supposed to have spent weeks perfecting his bar. I didn’t have that much time at my disposal.

The recipe was inspired by one that appeared recently in the “Washington Post.” The bars in the “Post” were made with vanilla ice cream and a pretzel base, and they were given extra crunch with salted peanuts.

I prefer coffee ice cream and a chocolate sandwich-cookie base. I think my combination is, to coin a phrase, a more perfect union (remember, I created it for the Fourth of July), but you may use any flavor of ice cream and base you like. I have to admit that the pretzel base sounds delightfully salty.

Whatever flavors you use, you’ll have a make-ahead bar to please the young and young at heart for this month of warm temperatures and cold treats.

Chocolate I-Scream Bars


for the crust and filling:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
24 chocolate sandwich cookies, ground in a food processor or crushed in a zip-top bag with a rolling pin; this is a bit over 2 cups
3 cups coffee ice cream

for the chocolate coating:

2/3 cup semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup


Begin by making the crust. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil. (I used nonstick foil.) In a bowl, combine the melted butter and the cookie crumbs as well as you can.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and press it into the bottom of the pan, creating a solid, flat layer. Freeze for 30 minutes.

Next, make the chocolate coating. In a medium heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water), combine the chocolate, the cream, and the corn syrup.

Warm them until about three-quarters of the chocolate melts (this will take about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Remove the bowl from the heat and stir until the chocolate finishes melting. Let the coating cool to room temperature.

About 20 minutes before you’re ready to assemble your bars, take the ice cream out of the freezer to soften. Using an offset spatula or a large spoon, evenly spread the softened ice cream over the frozen crust. Transfer to the freezer until the ice cream is firm again, about 30 minutes.

Pour the cooled coating over the ice cream and evenly spread it with an offset spatula or the back of a large spoon. Do this as quickly as you can. Return the pan to the freezer until the coating is firm, at least 3 hours and preferably overnight.

Remove the foil-bottomed treats from the pan, and place them on a cutting board. Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut the bars into 16 squares (or as many as you like). Run the knife under hot water and dry it after each slice. Carefully lift the bars off the foil, and serve them. Serves 8 or more.

Christian Kent Nelson