The Success Behind Copycat Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bars Is All In The Crumble Coating

The scene: Outside on a scorching summer day, feeling wilted from the heat. Then suddenly, in the distance, the tinkling music of the neighborhood ice cream truck. A fistful of quarters and dollar bills are all that stands between you and a refreshing, sweet, icy-cold treat. And one of the very best summertime treats ever is the Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bar, a creamy rectangle of ice cream on a stick coated in a crumbly, strawberry-flavored coating.

For those without a neighborhood ice cream truck — and for the other three seasons of the year — James Beard Award-winning chef Ken Oringer figured out how to make copycat strawberry shortcake bars at home that taste just as good as the original. Oringer's recipe appears in "Cooking With My Dad, The Chef," a cookbook he co-wrote with his young daughter, Verveine. Using a popsicle mold to shape vanilla ice cream on sticks is simple, but replicating that strawberry coating is the tricky part.

To nail the creamy and bright strawberry crumbles of the Good Humor bars, Oringer uses a blend of pulverized, freeze-dried strawberries and powdered milk. And in his quest to make the bar gluten-free for his daughter, who has Celiac disease, he found that these two ingredients help give the crumbles the perfect texture. 

There's a sweet trick to make the crumbles stick

When creating the strawberry crumbles for his copycat ice cream bars, Chef Ken Oringer turned to two ingredients: gluten-free flour and cornstarch. Adding a starch to gluten-free flours is common in GF baking because it helps create a better texture than using the flours alone. Oringer blends these ingredients with the freeze-dried strawberries and milk powder to create a crumble coating that's lighter and crispier than the original, a delicious texture to pair with the creamy ice cream center. 

Now that the perfect, homemade strawberry crumbles are ready, the last critical step is making sure they actually stick to the ice cream bar — and Oringer found a tasty way to make this happen. The ice cream bars are dipped into a melted blend of coconut oil and white chocolate, and then coated with the strawberry crumbles. In the freezer, the chocolate and coconut oil become a firm, sweet base that holds the crumbles in place, while also giving the treat a delectable snap as you bite into the bar.

Intrepid devotees of the Good Humor ice cream bars can learn from Oringer's techniques to experiment with the two other beloved flavors that are also ice cream trucks favorites: Chocolate Éclair and Toasted Almond!