Snickers and sunflower seeds? This might be a perfect marriage. Even though the tiny seeds are available year-round, fall is prime time for them to shine. And there’s no better way to highlight them than by putting them front and center in an ice cream version of the beloved Snickers bar.
These ice cream bars start with a decadent layer of rich sunflower seed ice cream. We use store-bought sunflower seed butter in our ice cream base, but feel free to make your own. Fair warning: Be sure it’s equally as viscous as the store-bought kind, or your ice cream texture will change after it’s frozen. A layer of salted caramel with whole roasted sunflower seeds adds a nice crunchy and chewy texture.
Some things to keep in mind: The honey and caramel are very sweet, and the natural oils in the sunflower seeds are very rich, so be sure not to skimp on salt, which will help balance out the flavors. We use semi sweet chocolate, but if you think the sugar might be a bit much for you, swap out with dark chocolate. Lastly, this recipe might look daunting, but the longest part is waiting for the bars to set. We recommend making these during a weekend or rainy day when you can distract yourself with Netflix while the ice cream freezes.
Honey-Roasted Sunflower Seed Ice Cream Bars
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 18 ice cream bars
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes, plus overnight freezing and cooling time
Total Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes, plus overnight freezing and cooling time
For the Sunflower Seed Ice Cream:
1 cup sunflower seed butter
4 egg yolks
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
¾ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup honey
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
For the Sunflower Seed Caramel:
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
¾ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
For the Chocolate Shell:
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 cup, plus 8 tablespoons, unsalted butter, divided
¼ cup sunflower seeds, roasted, for garnish
1 teaspoon flake salt, for garnish
1. Make the ice cream: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sunflower seed butter, egg yolks and whole egg, and set aside. In a medium saucepan, whisk the milk, cream, light corn syrup, honey and salt, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and pour ¼ cup of the hot liquid mixture into the bowl with the egg mixture. Whisk until all the liquid has been fully incorporated; repeat this step until there’s about a third of the liquid left. Add the remaining third at once and whisk together.
2. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and, while constantly whisking, cook over medium heat until the ice cream base is formed and coats the back of a spoon, 5 to 8 minutes. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl over ice water, cover with plastic wrap directly and allow the mixture to completely cool.
3. Churn the ice cream in an ice cream maker. Once frozen, spread the ice cream into a parchment-lined 9-by-11-inch baking pan. Freeze until the ice cream is solid, 2 hours.
4. Make the sunflower seed caramel: In a large sauté pan, heat the sugar over medium heat. Stirring frequently, let the sugar fully melt and cook to a dark, golden-brown caramel, 5 to 7 minutes. Whisk in the butter one cube at a time until each cube is fully melted and incorporated into the sugar. Add the heavy cream and mix fully. Remove the sauté pan from the heat, add the salt and sunflower seeds, then let completely cool.
5. Once fully cool, pour the caramel over the frozen ice cream and spread evenly. Freeze overnight.
6. Remove the ice cream from the pan and cut into 1-by-4-inch rectangles. Store the bars on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place back in the freezer to fully firm up, 1 hour.
7. Meanwhile, make the chocolate shell: In a heated double boiler, heat 1 cup of the semisweet chocolate chips and 6 tablespoons of the unsalted butter, and mix together until the mixture is fully melted and combined, 5 minutes.
8. Using an offset spatula, slather a small amount of chocolate on the ice cream side of each bar. Place the bars chocolate-sides down back onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the freezer to firm back up, 1 hour.
9. While the bottom chocolate layers of the bars firm up, make the rest of the chocolate shell: Add the remaining 3 cups of semisweet chocolate chips and 1 cup and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter to a double boiler. Once the mixture is fully melted, 8 to 10 minutes, lower the heat and keep the chocolate warm.
10. Move the ice cream bars, chocolate-sides down, to a wire rack with a baking sheet underneath. Spoon the melted chocolate over the bars until the bars are fully coated with chocolate on all sides. While the chocolate is still soft, sprinkle the tops of the bars with toasted sunflower seeds and a pinch of flake salt. Place the bars back in the freezer to firm up, 2 hours. Serve immediately out of the freezer.
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