Ice Cream Crackle Cake

Are you still with me out there? I apologize for leaving you hanging with my last post (salted chocolate, pecan and toffee squares) but I’ve been busy with a weekend trip, cleaning, laundry….oh, ok. Who am I kidding?? My husband and I have started watching Downton Abbey and have formed quite the addiction to the show. Do you watch? I really enjoy watching this show. Great character development, good plots, nice twists and turns and such a different time period, right? Imagine having a whole kitchen of help that cooks, prepares and cleans up every meal, every day. Sounds heavenly. Well, if you haven’t checked out this show–you should. Enjoy. Your Welcome.

Something else you may enjoy? This cake! My husbands birthday was a couple weeks ago and I asked him what type of dessert he would like. I would have put money on a chocolate on chocolate on chocolate cake….he loves him some chocolate. But instead, he said he had a creation he had been imagining in his head and wondered if I’d give it a go. This instantly makes me nervous. I am a recipe kind of girl, especially for baking. He then started talking about crackle (crackle=salted chocolate, pecan and toffee squares). He wanted crackle, ice cream and caramel in cake form. Now this, I can do….with Martha’s guidance, of course. After several brainstorms with Martha, here’s what we came up with. The variations are endless and really, no matter what you do, it’s going to be good. Well, not good for the waistline but I digress. Enjoy!

For this cake, we decided that on a couple layers of crackle, ice cream and caramel. So, let’s start by making some crackle! Please follow the recipe here, but instead of making on a large baking sheet we are going to make in a couple 9″ spring form pans and a cookie sheet.

Here’s a picture of one of the two 9″ springform pans I used. Please read through this whole post before deciding how you will prepare this cake. You could use a pie pan, or any pan for that matter. Just know this is the base layer of your cake. You will need to break apart and cut the graham crackers to fit as best you can.

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Please follow the steps of the recipe with all of your squares.

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I put foil in the other 9″ pan as I thought I would want to pull it out in one piece and use as a layer in the cake. I did NOT do this. After strategizing with Martha, we decided that once frozen as a middle layer, it may be too hard when cutting and eating. Stick with me…I will now explain what I did to put the cake together. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of each step. (Remember how I told you I had 2 young children??)

  • Ok, after your crackle has cooled place the bottom layer in the freezer till solid. I covered the pan with plastic wrap and placed in freezer overnight. Prepare your caramel sauce. You could buy caramel sauce but I made this recipe and it was AMAZING. Really, most things the Pioneer Woman makes are. I doubled the recipe. Place caramel sauce in the fridge overnight. It will thicken up nicely.
  • Now, get your ice cream and let sit on the counter for about 15 minutes to soften. You don’t want it too soft or it will form ice crystals when freezing but it should be soft enough to spread fairly easily. For both layers, I used a gallon of Organic French Vanilla Ice Cream. You could try different flavors. I think coffee would be outstanding.
  • Once your ice cream has softened, layer on top of the crackle. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours. I left in all day.
  • Now, get out that yummy caramel sauce and pour on the frozen cake. Use as much as you’d like. I’d say I used about a cup or so.
  • Remember that small baking sheet of crackle? I placed all of it in a ziploc bag, sealed tightly and crushed with a rolling pin. Then, sprinkle that on top of the caramel sauce for your next layer of cake. (Using the crushed crackle as the layer really worked well as it froze–thank you, Martha!) Freeze.
  • Repeat with another layer of ice cream. Freeze. Add caramel sauce on top. I will warn you that my cake was taller than my pan. I had to use foil to extend the pan upwards and it worked nicely. Next time, I will use a deeper pan, not make as thick of layers or perhaps only one layer and end with crackle on top.

Yes, you will have some crackle left over. Yes, that is extremely dangerous. Since, my leftover was in the other 9″ pan, I immediately placed in freezer wrapped in plastic wrap and then foil. This will be the base layer to another cake or perhaps a tasty little snack for the next episode of Downton Abbey….

We went to our friend’s house for dinner and I brought the cake….I was so nervous what was going to happen once I released the 9″ springform pan.  I was able to snap one very quick picture with my phone without looking like a total wierdo:

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It was messy. But, it was delicious! Next time, I would not use quite as much caramel sauce or perhaps make in a non-springform pan and just cut and serve. It was pretty to look at but we inhaled it so quickly it probably didn’t matter.

This is really easy and has many variations. Make to suite your tastes and use whatever pans you have. Next time, I think I am going to try coffee ice cream and maybe some hot fudge sauce.

Salted Chocolate, Pecan and Toffee Squares

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I have a confession. I am a cruncher. Meaning I love foods that crunch…chips, crackers, nuts, cereal. Really, I can find a way to crunch food that normally isn’t crunchy much to my husband’s dismay. (He’s a slurper, but that’s a post for another day.) And, the more that I am enjoying what I am eating, the louder I crunch. It’s almost as if I am crunching subconsciously. But, please take it as a compliment if you ever hear me crunching something you made…like these Salted Chocolate Pecan Toffee Squares. Oh my, are they good. Minimal ingredients, easy prep, little cooking time and lots to share. The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the squares to cool before digging in!

Martha introduced these yummy squares. My husband and I couldn’t stop eating them. Every bite I tasted something new…toffee, graham cracker, toasted pecan, chocolate, and the sea salt. The sea salt puts these on another level. We gave them the nickname of “crackle” as they taste as good as I’m sure crack must taste if you are a crackhead. Well, that doesn’t sound so good now that I type that out. But, trust me. They are that good. Great recipe to share with family, friends and neighbors!

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:
16 whole graham crackers, 2 individual packages from a standard 14 ounce box
1 bag toffee bits such as Bits of Brickle
2 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans
(I toast pecans on the stove over med/low heat for 2-3 minutes)
½ cup sugar
1 cup butter  (2 sticks)
6 ounces chocolate chips* (or more!)
¾ teaspoon good quality** sea salt
 
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spray foil with cooking spray.
 
2. Place graham crackers in a single layer on the sheet pan, edges touching. You will need to break a few of the crackers to completely cover the pan.
 
3. Sprinkle toffee bits over graham crackers.
 
4. In a small saucepan, bring sugar and butter to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat and cook at a rapid simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is syrupy and begins to turn a pale golden color, about 4 minutes.
 
5. Immediately pour sugar/butter mixture over graham crackers. Spread with a knife if necessary to cover the entire surface. Bake for 6 minutes then sprinkle with toasted pecans and return to oven. Bake until sugar topping is bubbling, another 6-7 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips and sea salt over graham crackers.
 
6. Slide foil with toffee bars onto to a large cutting board. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, quickly cut into 3-inch squares. The longer you wait the more difficult they will be to cut into neat squares.Cool completely (if you can stand it!). Store in an airtight container, up to 1 week.
 
Notes:
* I used a combination of semisweet, dark and white chocolate chips but really the sky’s the limit here – butterscotch, peanut butter and mint would all be wonderful.
The variations are endless!
** Use a good quality, fairly coarse sea salt that you can crush with your fingers. Don’t skimp on the salt…it makes these squares!
 
 
 
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

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Remember to cut the squares before they cool!

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Can you see the sea salt? YUM. I just want to start crunching on one right now.

Now that you have this recipe…get ready for the next post. We are going to take these squares, add some ice cream and caramel and do something amazing!

My first post!

Hello and thank you for stopping by! I have to tell you that I never thought I would be writing a blog. I am really not that interesting. As much as I enjoy reading other blogs, I never thought I’d have one. I’m pretty boring really. I am a SAHM (stay at home mom) to 2 young boys (more on that later) and I love to try new recipes, perfect old recipes and more than anything….eat the recipes with my family and friends. Some days I am more inspired than others but I love the satisfaction of creating something delicious. In my former life, I worked in and later managed a restaurant. I think this exposure to preparing and serving food is where my desire began. I learned a lot in that restaurant and will tell you more of my experiences along the way. I’ve also learned from many but a recent influence and inspiration in my culinary life is that of my mother in law….who I will refer to as Martha (Stewart) from this point on. She is a culinary genius in the kitchen and I’ve learned so much from her. It is her that I call when I’m in a pinch and many of her recipes are ones that I have adopted. I look forward to sharing more of her with you in this blog. Some days I love to bake. Other days, I love to cook. So, you will see a variety of sweet and savory dishes throughout these pages. Please be patient with me as I am new to this. I will do my best to share some yummy, hopefully easy recipes and ideas with you. I will give credit where it is due and take pictures when I remember and the battery is charged. Please keep in mind, I usually have a child pulling on my apron or “helping” me out in the kitchen so it can get a little crazy. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding. I am looking forward to sharing some of my life with you! 

I’ll leave you with a picture of one of my favorite recipes….coconut cupcakes! 

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