Beat the heat with cool cupcake treats

If you’re looking for a cool dessert to beat the summer heat, why not combine a few all-time favorites, ice cream and cake (or cookies) into a neat little cupcake package. They’re easy to prepare using pre-packaged ingredients and everyone, from young to old, will love them.

Ice cream cupcakes are not only delicious but they are made ahead and require just a bit of garnishing before serving. If you want to be ready for anything these ice cream cupcakes will keep in the freezer for a few weeks (although I doubt they would last that long.)

From fudgy to fruity the following recipes are yummy examples and offer good guidelines for creating endless combinations of flavors. I’m imagining a chocolate peanut butter version with a brownie bottom, peanut butter ice cream studded with chopped peanut butter cups then topped with a drizzle of hot fudge sauce. Or maybe one with a brownie bottom, a dollop of fudge sauce, strawberry ice cream and topped off with a chocolate covered strawberry…mmm… somebody stop me please.

Chocolate-Toffee

Ice Cream Cupcakes

1 (12-ounce) loaf pound cake

1 (7.5-ounce) package toffee chips

1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

2 pints chocolate mocha fudge ice cream, softened

1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1/2 (11.5-ounce) jar hot fudge sauce

Directions: Cut cake in half horizontally. With a 2-inch round cookie cutter cut each cake half into 6 circles. Reserve remaining cake for another use. Place 12 foil baking cups into muffin pans and place one cake round in bottom of each cup.

Stir 1/2 cup toffee chips and toasted pecans into the softened ice cream. Freeze one hour, or until almost firm.

Spoon ice cream evenly over each cake round, filling to top of baking cup and mounding slightly. Dollop evenly with whipped topping. Freeze 8 hours, or until firm. When ready to serve, microwave fudge sauce and drizzle over cupcakes. Sprinkle with remaining toffee chips. Makes 12 cupcakes.

Lemon-Blueberry

Ice Cream Cupcakes

24 lemon cookies, coarsely crushed

1 (21-ounce) can blueberry pie filling

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 (6-ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Multi-colored sprinkles, for garnish

Directions: Place 12 foil baking cups into muffin pans. Sprinkle crushed cookies evenly into cups. Spoon 2 teaspoons fruit filling over cookies in each cup, reserving remaining fruit filling for another use.

Fold condensed milk and lemonade concentrate into whipped topping, and spoon over fruit filling. Freeze 8 hours or until firm. Top with sprinkles just before serving. Makes 12 cupcakes.

Mint-Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cupcakes

1 package (19.8-ounce) fudge brownie mix

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1/2 gallon mint-chocolate chip ice cream, softened

1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

2 to 3 tablespoons green creme de menthe (optional)

1/2 (4.67-ounce) package solid chocolate mints

Directions: Stir together first 4 ingredients until blended. Place 12 foil cups into muffin pans; spoon batter into cups about 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes (a toothpick inserted into center will not come out clean.) Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

Return baking cups to muffin pans, and spoon ice cream evenly over each brownie. Freeze 8 hours or until firm.

Stir together whipped topping and, if desired, liqueur. Dollop evenly over ice cream. Freeze until ready to serve. Just before serving sprinkle shaved mint chocolate curls over cupcakes (pull vegetable peeler over the sides of mints to make tiny curls.) Makes 12 cupcakes.