My brain is still not accepting the fact that summer is coming to a close. School starts this week for Princess Nagger and Little Dude – but wait…didn’t they just get out of school? Where’d the summer go?!
Luckily they’re looking forward to returning to the halls of education – it’s a new adventure for Little Dude what with him going to a different school this year, and Princess Nagger is looking forward to reconnecting with her people – I mean, friends – she missed over the summer.
I’m looking forward to unencumbered time to purge their rooms of old/broken toys and clothes they’ve rapidly outgrown over the summer so they have more room to grow (literally and figuratively speaking) what with their birthday month coming up and Christmas in the offing.
Dude. Christmas will be here before you know it, so it’s now or never.
Being that the beginning of school is a celebration of sorts for all parties, what better way to celebrate than with Dreyer’s Ice Cream, right? I’m honored to partner with The Motherhood and Dreyer’s to help Dreyer’s gift 500 life-changing surgeries to children with cleft lip and cleft palate through Operation Smile as part of their Reason to Smile campaign.
To assist in that celebration – and encourage lots of smiles – I was challenged to come up with a unique dessert incorporating Dreyer’s ice cream as one of the ingredients. Challenge accepted!
I discovered that “challenge” is an understatement – trying to think of something different, but so many people have so many delicious sounding desserts already. I wanted to make a crowd pleaser without following the crowd. I’m a rebel like that.
So I plotted and planned, looked forward to finally using my shiny new KitchenAid mixer and decided it was the perfect excuse to get the mini spring form pans I’d had my eye on. I finally came up with something a little bit different, gathered (almost) all of my ingredients and got to work:
So far fairly simple, right? Pay no attention to the caramel frappuccino on the left – that was for me to drink, not to include in the recipe. I know, some of you are wondering where the wine is – that comes later, of course.
There are several parts to this recipe, but all are easy peasy. First and foremost is baking an angel food cake. You can make it from scratch, but I opted for the easy way using a cake mix. Since you need to cut the cake into little cubed chunks, I decided to try my hand at baking the angel food cake in loaf pans vs. the traditional tube pan:
Let me be a cautionary tale for you… See those pans? Those are obviously non-stick pans. They’re the only ones I currently have, which have served me well when making loaves of bread or anything loaf-y, since they slide out with little or no effort.
The non-stick surface, however, is not angel-food friendly. The angel food cake grabs on to the pan and holds on for dear life – so it take some major finessing to get it out without completely destroying the cake.
Luckily for this recipe you only need one of the loaf pans full of cake, so you can use the first pan as your guinea pig to figure out how to remove the cake effectively without making a huge mess. And of course then the cake itself is up for grabs by anyone who is interested in snacking on yummy angel food cake.
In the future, and please heed these words – if you are like me and only have non-stick loaf pans, be sure to line the pans with foil first – leave enough hanging out over the edge to become your handy dandy handles to get the cake out without lots of effort and creating chisel-happy moments that aren’t so happy. Ahem.
While the cakes were in the oven making the house smell heavenly, I decided for this recipe I wanted to make graham cracker crusts. So I mixed up the graham crackers, sugar and melted butter and lined the bottom of those six mini spring form pans I convinced myself I didn’t just want, but needed:
Just pop them in the oven on 300°F for 7 minutes:
This is another time when having a double-oven stove comes in quite handy – while the cakes were baking in the lower oven, I baked the graham cracker crusts in the upper oven. I timed it so they all finished at the same time and were ready for their cool off period:
Notice I have the loaf pans on their sides – since there’s no good way of cooling the angel food cakes upside down like you do in a tube pan, on their side is the next best thing so they won’t sink like a badly executed souffle.
Once they’re cooled, cut one loaf into cubes, chunks, whatever shape you so desire. Then the next part of the fun begins, starting with this deliciousness:
Oh yeah! Cheesecake ice cream? And light to boot? I’m sold! You’ve probably figured out with that great reveal where I’m going with this recipe, haven’t you? If not, no worries, we’ll keep moving along.
You mix 2 cups of softened ice cream (let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes – that’ll get it from rock solid to manageable without defrosting it into puddles, and you can stick the rest back in the freezer without compromising the taste for future indulging) with 8 ounces of either Cool Whip or whipped topping of your choice, and add the Jello gelatin until it’s all mixed together nicely:
Next, using a spatula or wooden spoon, fold the cake chunks into the fluffy cloud of deliciousness:
Either pour that mixture into an 8×8 square cake pan, or divide it equally between mini spring form pans like I did. I was packing them extra full, so I only ended up filling 5 instead of the 6 I got ready – next time I’ll make them a little shallower to extend to all 6, but for now, we’ll go with it:
Cover and freeze for 3-4 hours – you can make them ahead by several days so you don’t have to stress about the timing. After removal from the freezer, you can simply eat them as they are, or add a few flourishes.
I added a tablespoon or so of whipped cream to the top to give it a smoother look, then drizzled hot fudge on a plate, placed the ice cream cheesecake onto the center, then drizzled black raspberry preserves over top.
Final touches – I garnished with a cherry and raspberries – and even a mint leaf. Not bad for an amateur, right?
This recipe can be versatile – don’t like cherry? Switch it up to Peach or Strawberry or Blueberry or your favorite berry. You don’t even have to use Cheesecake ice cream (especially since it’s a Limited Edition) – you can use whatever ice cream or frozen yogurt of any flavor you so desire.
I was thinking next time I’d do some sort of Caramel Macchiato version with drizzled caramel…yum! Switch it up to your personal taste – make it uniquely you!
The final result of this experimentation? Absolutely delicious! Both kids inhaled theirs like nobody’s business, Princess Nagger started digging into hers while it was still on the kitchen counter:
Check out more delicious recipes guaranteed to make you drool – and give your whole family a reason to smile – visit Dreyer’s new Pinterest page that is filled with recipes and family fun inspiration.
Dreyer’s is helping Operation Smile with the goal to donate 500 life-changing surgeries to children with cleft lip and cleft palate to help them smile again. You can easily participate and help the cause by uploading or sharing a photo on the Dreyer’s Facebook page using #ReasonToSmile in the caption.
Every picture shared will count towards a donation for a child in need! This promotion only runs through today, September 1, 2014, so hurry over and share a picture to join this great cause.
What makes you smile?
A big thank you to The Motherhood for this opportunity, and to Dreyer’s for so many delicious flavors of ice cream. While this is a paid review, all opinions are of my own personal experience and not influenced by any outside source. Disclosure policy here.