Sweet dreams during National Ice Cream Month

Whether it's served in a cone or a bowl (preferably a big one), with toppings or without, or right out of the carton, I just can't pass it up. I've been an ice cream-lover as long as I can remember.

Whether it's served in a cone or a bowl (preferably a big one), with toppings or without, or right out of the carton, I just can't pass it up. I've been an ice cream-lover as long as I can remember.

It must be in my genes. My grandma loved the frozen creamy stuff, and although she died when I was quite young, I still remember making trips to her favorite ice cream shop in Chicago. We'd each have a cone piled high with our favorite flavors. When she would come to our house for a visit, we'd sit beside each other as we ate our bedtime treat of a single scoop of plain old vanilla ice cream. She said it would help me fall right to sleep and I'd have sweet dreams. I still like to eat ice cream before bedtime.

July is National Ice Cream Month. I decided to celebrate by creating my own ice cream dessert using some of my favorite flavors. Mocha Fudge Sweet Dreams Pie is fashioned after Mississippi Mud, a fudge-topped coffee ice cream pie I remember having years ago at a restaurant we used to frequent. This one, though, is a little like eating an Almond Joy while sipping a cup of coffee.

Take simple, unadorned ice cream, layer it in a chocolate cookie-almond-coconut crust with homemade fudge sauce and some crunchy toffee bits, and that plain ice cream becomes decadently sophisticated. Pile on a chic topping of creamy coconut-sweetened whipped cream sprinkled with flakes of toasted coconut and it becomes simply elegant. And totally delicious.

The Fudge Sauce stays soft when frozen, making the dessert easy to slice and serve. It would be good sandwiched between any of your favorite ice cream flavors. That's one of the joys of ice cream. It's versatile. Any flavor pairs well with all kinds of toppings and add-ins. The possibilities are endless.


I'm off to the kitchen to end my day with just a couple more bites of my heavenly ice cream creation.

Sweet dreams!

Mocha Fudge Sweet Dreams Pie
12 chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Oreos
1/3 cup whole raw almonds
1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter

Fudge Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups coffee ice cream
2/3 cup toffee bits
2 cups chocolate ice cream

2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
11/3 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon coconut extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cookies and almonds in work bowl of a food processor and whirl until cookies are crumbs and almonds are chopped. Add coconut and process just to chop up coconut. If you don't have a food processor, crush cookies and chop almonds and coconut by hand before mixing all together. Melt butter and mix with crumb mixture in medium bowl. Lightly coat the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pat crumb mixture into bottom and one inch up the sides of the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Make Fudge Sauce by combining 2 tablespoons butter, unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup sugar and 2/3 cup whipping cream in heavy saucepan. Cook and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is thick and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and let sauce cool.


To assemble dessert, spread coffee ice cream in cooled cookie crust. Cover with half of the cooled fudge sauce. Sprinkle toffee bits evenly over fudge sauce. Gently pat toffee bits down so they stick into the fudge sauce. Freeze until firm. Repeat with chocolate ice cream and remaining fudge sauce. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and freeze several hours or overnight. When ready to serve, make topping by beating 11/3 cups whipping cream with 2 tablespoons sugar and coconut extract until stiff peaks form. Spread over frozen dessert. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Slice and serve. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Tips from the cook

--I like to use a springform pan for this dessert because it makes cutting and serving much easier. The dessert can also be prepared in a 9-inch glass pie dish.

--Drop the fudge sauce over the ice cream in small spoonfuls. Wet the back of a spoon to spread the fudge sauce. It will want to slide around over the ice cream. That's OK. The sauce will be covered up by the time you serve it. Just spread it as evenly as you can.

--A small amount of coconut extract gives a nice hint of flavor to the whipped cream topping. Don't leave the bottle of coconut extract sitting in your pantry. Try adding a little bit of it to your chocolate chip cookie dough, pudding, banana bread or your favorite muffins. You'll love it. The 1/8 teaspoon of coconut extract in the whipped cream topping on this dessert can be replaced with a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract.

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