Cool Off With Refreshing Ice Cream Desserts

Lucy Hunley and Mark Hunley are pictured enjoying ice cream sundaes on a hot afternoon at the home of their grandparents, Kathy and Carlton Hunley III of Opelika. Lucy’s and Mark ‘s parents are Karen and Brian Hunley. The children’s other grandparents are Cindy and Mark Mortensen. Photo by Ann Cipperly

By Ann Cipperly

On sultry Sunday afternoons, ice cream suppers were once a favorite southern pastime. Family members would gather under a shade tree in the backyard while the ritual of turning the crank on an ice cream maker continued until it became too difficult. The cold, creamy goodness was savored until tummies were full, as children chased fireflies.

Carlton Hunley III of Opelika has happy childhood memories of his family gathering on Sunday afternoons once a month during summer to make homemade ice cream. Sometimes out of town family visited his grandparents Estella and Thomas M. Lambert, and they would make vanilla, strawberry and peach ice cream. The children would take turns turning the crank.

They would also have homemade pound cakes to serve with the ice creams.

Now Carlton’s wife Kathy makes the special ice cream recipe for their two grandchildren, Lucy and Mark Hunley. Kathy sets out fresh strawberries and other toppings for the children to make their own sundaes to enjoy on the porch or outside by the waterfall. Lucy’s and Mark’s parents are Karen and Brian Hunley.

Making homemade ice cream also brings back blissful childhood memories for Emily Mullis of Opelika. When she was growing up, her family would often meet on Sunday afternoons at her grandparents’ home for homemade ice cream. The children took turns sitting on the ice cream freezer as their grandfather turned the handle. Instead of an ice cream maker like her grandfather used, Emily has a wooden electric one that is much easier.

Mike Bennett of Opelika makes homemade ice cream and sherbet using recipes from each of his grandmothers. His Grandmother’s Bennett’s Homemade Ice Cream recipe cooks the eggs with the milk and sugar.

His Grandmother O’Brien’s Grape Sherbet recipe is easy to assemble and is then placed in the refrigerator freezer. The mixture is stirred occasionally as it freezes. Try making the sherbet with other fruit juices for different flavors.

Homemade ice cream is a special treat, and today it is a much easier process of freezing the container, adding the ice cream mixture and plugging it up. In a fairly short time, the ice cream is ready.

While it is easier to make ice cream now, you don’t have to make your own to have a refreshing dessert. An ice cream pie can be assembled quickly using store bought ice cream. Let the children help. You can make it days ahead and have it ready to pull out of the freezer when ready to serve.

Most of the following ice cream pie recipes use a graham cracker or Oreo cookie crust. The crust made with melted chocolate and Rice Krispies cereal is good, and you can top with any flavor of ice cream for a quick dessert.

The Ice Cream Squares and Layered Butter Pecan and Praline Ice Cream Squares with Hot Chocolate Toasted Pecan Sauce are made in a 9 by 13 inch pan. Both of these desserts will offer many servings. If you are planning on serving the entire pan at once, it will be easier to line the pan with foil before making. When ready to serve, you simply pull the dessert out of the pan with the foil. Lay the foil on the sides flat and cut with a sharp knife. That is easier than lifting each serving out.

If you are a fan of ice cream sandwiches, then make your own using your favorite cookie recipe. They will be easier to eat if you make small or medium-sized cookies. Then, slightly soften ice cream of your choice and put a scoop between two cookies. Wrap them individually and freeze until ready to serve.

While ice cream is yummy by itself, you can enhance it by serving a sundae bar. Offer one or two kinds of ice cream and assorted toppings, such as chocolate or caramel sauce, chopped nuts chocolate chips or fresh fruit. A plate of brownie squares are a tasty addition for making a special sundaes.

Ice cream makes an ideal summer dessert whether it is made from scratch or purchased and used to create scrumptious pies and other desserts. When temperatures soar this summer, prepare an ice cream dessert to provide a cool and refreshing lift for family and friends on the hottest days.

Ice Cream Sundae Bar

Sundaes are one of the easiest desserts to serve. Set out the ice cream and toppings, and offering brownies for a base is a delicious addition.

Offer one or two flavors of ice cream, such as vanilla and chocolate, and let everyone make their own sundae.

Assorted Toppings:

Chocolate sauce

Caramel sauce

Toasted pecans

Whipped cream

Peaches, strawberries, blueberries

Chocolate chips

M & M’s candies


Sliced bananas

Heath Bar broken into pieces


Squares of brownies

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

Favorite cookies baked in a small or medium size, such as chocolate chip, oatmeal with white chocolate chips or chocolate fudge

Favorite flavor ice cream

Slightly soften ice cream and place a scoop between two cookies. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to serve.

Grandmother Estella Lambert’s Homemade Ice Cream

Carlton Hunley III

Fresh chopped peaches or strawberries can be added to the mixture before freezing.

4 eggs, beaten

½ cup sugar

2 cans Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 large can evaporated milk

Vanilla extract to taste

Milk to fill container

Add sugar to beaten eggs, then stir in other ingredients. Pour into ice cream maker container and add enough milk to fill to the line. Process as directed on manufacturer’s instructions.

Ice Cream Pie with Meringue Pecan Crust

1 egg white

¼ tsp. salt

¼ cup sugar

1½ cups chopped pecans

1 pint to 1 qt. coffee ice cream

1 pint to 1 qt. vanilla ice cream

Caramel or chocolate sauce

Butter a 9 inch pie pan. Beat egg white until dry. Add salt and sugar. Fold in nuts. Spread in pie pan and prick with fork. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Chill.

Spread ice cream in two layers. Cover and freeze. Cut into wedges and serve with caramel or chocolate sauce. Serves 8.

Ice Cream Pie with Krispy Chocolate Crust

6 oz. chocolate chips

2 Tbsp. butter

1¾ cups Rice Krispies

2 Tbsp. hot water

1 qt. ice cream of choice

Melt chocolate chips over hot water. To half of melted chocolate add the butter and Rice Krispies. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Press into a well-buttered 9 inch pie plate. Fill with your choice of ice cream. To the remaining melted chocolate, stir in the hot water. Drizzle the chocolate over the ice cream. Freeze several hours.

Ice Cream Parfait Squares

16 oz. pkg. Oreo cookies

½ cup butter or margarine

½ gallon vanilla ice cream

2 jars chocolate fudge topping

10-12 oz carton Cool Whip

Crush cookies into fine crumbs. Reserve 3/4 cup. Melt butter and mix with crumbs. Press into 9×13 inch pan. Spread softened ice cream over crumbs. Freeze until firm.

Next, spread chocolate topping over ice cream. Freeze for 30 minutes. Then spread Cool Whip over chocolate topping and sprinkle the reserved crumbs on top. Freeze until ready to serve.

Coffee Ice Cream Pie with Toasted Almonds


1½ cups graham cracker crumbs

¼ cup (½ stick) butter, melted


½ cup sugar

2 Tbsp. baking cocoa

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1 Tbsp. butter

½ tsp. vanilla extract


½ gallon coffee ice cream, softened

¾ cup slivered almonds, toasted

Whipped topping

For the crust, mix graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a bowl. Press into a greased pie plate; chill.

For the sauce, combine sugar, baking cocoa and evaporated milk in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla, Pour into a bowl and chill.

For the filling and assembly, spread ice cream into the prepared pie shell until it is almost full. Spread prepared sauce over the ice cream layer. Sprinkle with the almonds. Freeze until firm. To serve, cut into slices and top with whipped topping. Serves 8.

Grandmother Bennett’s Homemade Ice Cream

Mike Bennett

5 1/3 cups milk

2 2/3 cups sugar

5-6 eggs

1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 large can evaporated milk

2 tsp, vanilla

Additional milk, if needed for filling container

In large boiler, heat 5 1/3 cups milk. Slowly heat but do not let boil. While heating, in a large bowl mix sugar and eggs together, beating well.

When milk almost comes to a boil, take a cup and add a little hot milk at a time to the eggs and sugar, mixing well.

When combined, return to boiler and heat again just to the boiling point. Turn off heat.

Add Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. Then add vanilla. Let cool.

When ready to freeze, pour into container and add enough milk to bring to about 2 inches from top. Freeze. Makes enough for a 4 qt. freezer.

Grandmother O’Brien’s Freezer Grape Sherbet

Mike Bennett

1 cup sugar

2 cups hot water

1 can crushed pineapple

Juice of 3 lemons

1 cup Welch’s grace juice

1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk

Dissolve sugar in 2 cups hot water. Add crushed pineapple, juice of 3 lemons, grape juice and sweetened condensed milk. Pour into a metal cake pan (or other metal pan) and freeze until firm, stirring occasionally as it freezes. Serves 6.

Ice Cream Squares

1 pkg. Oreo cookies, crushed

1 stick butter, melted

½ gallon butterscotch swirled or vanilla ice cream

Chocolate Sauce

Whipping topping

In a 9 by 13-inch pan, spread crushed Oreos and pour melted butter over top. Slice ice cream and place on top of cookie crust.

Pour cooled Chocolate Sauce on top and cover with whipped topping; freeze.

Chocolate Sauce:

1 Tbsp. melted butter

2/3 cup evaporated milk

½ cup sugar

1½ squares semi-sweet chocolate

Combine ingredients and cook until thick.

Peach Ice Cream

Emily Mullins

4 cups peeled, diced fresh peaches (about 8 small size peaches)

1 cup sugar

12 oz. can evaporated milk

3.75 pkg. vanilla instant pudding mix

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

4 cups half and half

Combine peaches and sugar; let stand 1 hour.

Process peach mixture in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides.

Stir together evaporated milk and pudding mix in a large bowl. Stir in peach puree, condensed milk and half-and-half.

Pour mixture into freezer container of 4-quart hand-turn or electric freezer, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Makes 2 quarts.

Milky Way Ice Cream

Emily Mullins

8 Milky Way candy bars

2 cups whole milk

6 eggs, well beaten

1½ cups sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

Two 14 ½ oz. cans evaporated milk

Melt candy bars in whole milk over low heat until only flecks of chocolate remains, stirring constantly. Cool.

Mix eggs and sugar in large bowl; beat well. Add Milky Way mixture; mix well.

Pour into one gallon freezer container and add enough milk to fill container to within 3 inches of top. Mix well and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Buttermilk Ice Cream

Chef Collin Donnelly

5 egg yolks

2 cups heavy cream

1 ¼  cups sugar

1 ¼  cups buttermilk

1 vanilla bean, split

Bring cream and vanilla bean to simmer in saucepan.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar together. Gradually whisk hot cream into egg yolk mixture. Return mixture to saucepan and stir over medium heat until custard thickens slightly (do not boil). Strain into bowl and stir in the cold buttermilk.

Refrigerate custard until cold and then spin in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Freezer Vanilla Yogurt Ice Cream

1 pint (2 cups) whipping cream

Two 8 oz. containers vanilla yogurt

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Whip cream. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, condensed milk, and vanilla. Fold in whipping cream.

Pour into a loaf pan or other 2 quart container. Cover. Freeze 6 hours or until firm.

Electric Freezer Method

Do not whip cream. Pour all ingredients into freezer container and process according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Layered Butter Pecan and Praline Ice Cream Squares with Hot Chocolate Toasted Pecan Sauce


1¼ cups graham cracker crumbs

3 Tbsp. sugar

1/3 cup butter, melted


1-qt. butter pecan ice cream, softened

Hot Chocolate Sauce

1 to 1½ cups chopped toasted pecans, divided

1-qt. pralines and cream or butterscotch swirl ice cream, softened

Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter; mix well. Firmly press mixture into bottom of a 9-inch spring-form pan or 9 by 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Cool completely.

Spread pecan ice cream evenly over crust; cover and freeze. Remove ¾ cup of Hot Chocolate Sauce; cool. Spread cooled sauce over ice cream; sprinkle with ½ cup pecans. Cover pie and freeze.

Spread pralines and cream ice cream evenly over pie; cover and freeze until ice cream is firm.

To serve, cut into slices and drizzle Hot Chocolate Sauce over each slice and sprinkle with remaining pecans.

Hot Chocolate Sauce:

¾ cup sugar

Two small 5 oz. cans evaporated milk

1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 Tbsp. butter

1 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar, evaporated milk and chocolate chips in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until chocolate melts and mixture boils. Remove from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla Makes 2 cups.


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