Summer is winding down, and all I want to do is sit outside and eat ice cream while I still can. Living in Minnesota, I live for these sunny warm, days, and I’m not ready to transition over to winter coats and hot coffee just yet. (I never am!) I will bid a tearful goodbye to my shorts, 70-degree weather, and frozen treats in a few weeks when the temps start really cooling down.
For now, I’m eating my ice cream by the pint and savoring each bite as long as the sun shines. :)
This recipe is the simplest-ever summer dessert to make, with only four ingredients that are all very common. I first started making this recipe as a teenager when one of the ladies I babysat for introduced me to it. She was (and is) a great cook and her kitchen was always stocked with the best snacks and homemade treats. It was pretty much the ideal babysitting situation. :) And I’ve been using her recipe ever since!
We have the classic childhood ice cream sandwich. A layer of caramel sauce (via a can if you so choose, or even better if homemade). A slather of Cool Whip – one of my least favorite ingredients in the entire world that I buy just for this recipe because somehow it tastes good here. And a few generous handfuls of chopped Heath bars. I find it very hard to ever go wrong with Heath bars.
Let’s talk about the best possible version of this recipe: the homemade edition. If you have time, it of course tastes best to make your own salted caramel sauce to smear all over this dessert. I try to keep some on hand (I love this recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod – it makes a lot and it keeps forever in the fridge!) and I usually use it here. I’m not a big fan of the jarred or bottled kinds, because I don’t think they ever taste as good. But in this recipe, you get a free pass because there are enough layers that you won’t really notice the difference until you’ve tried it with the good stuff (just be aware that you might not want to go back!).
It’s also delicious to whip up your own cream because homemade whipped cream brings every dessert to the next level. I cheated this time (and, let’s face it, I cheat most times) because Cool Whip is just so much handier when I’m in a hurry. I am not a patient person, so homemade whipped cream doesn’t happen in my life nearly as often as it should. If you are more patient than I, please step up your ice cream dessert game and use the good stuff! :)
Otherwise, unwrap those ice cream sandwiches, cover them with store-bought caramel sauce and Cool Whip, sprinkle on the candy without shame, and call it a day! It’s one of the fastest desserts you can make. And even as picky as I am, I like the less-gourmet version just as much.
I’m sharing the “easy” version below, but make your own modifications as you please! In the dessert pictured, I went halfway and used homemade caramel sauce with Cool Whip.
I also love to buy the bags of pre-chopped Heath bars. They’re readily available in most stores next to the chocolate chips, they’re not that expensive, and they save a ton of unwrapping and chopping time. Plus, I think one bag is the perfect amount for this recipe! You can never have too much Heath.
One special note on the ice cream sandwiches: you’ll probably have to cut a few of them to fit them perfectly into the bottom of the pan, but I’ve found that there are usually enough in one box to fill a 9×13 pan, plus one extra for you to enjoy. Just the way I like it. :)
I hope that, wherever you are, you are still enjoying a few summery days yourself, and I hope that ice cream is included in the equation for you, too. One last ice cream hurrah, and then we can all tote our PSLs around in peace. :)
- 11 frozen ice cream sandwiches, unwrapped
- 1 cup caramel sauce (jarred or homemade)
- 8 oz. Cool Whip
- 1 (8 oz.) bag Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits
- Place ice cream sandwiches in a freezer-safe 9x13-inch baking dish, cutting a few in half if necessary to fit them all in. Spread an even layer of caramel sauce on top, then spread the Cool Whip over the caramel. Sprinkle Heath bits on top to cover entire dessert.
- Cover with plastic wrap and keep frozen until ready to serve. Slice into 18 pieces and serve immediately.
Feel free to substitute homemade whipped cream for the Cool Whip to take this dessert to the next level!