I’m excited to share this recipe for Caramel Cashew Ice Cream Dessert with you today. I have made this so many times this summer, and each time it was so good but I had trouble with that darn homemade caramel sauce. I wanted it to be thick enough that it would stay in a nice layer, but not so thick that it was too chewy and difficult to cut through. And I didn’t want to use a regular old jar of caramel ice cream topping. I really felt like those cashews deserved to be smothered in the real thing. I think cashews deserve that kind of respect.
So I made some caramel too runny, burned a batch, and even made one so chewy that we broke our plastic forks. We’re fancy like that. At least it wasn’t our teeth because we could be fancy like that too!
So sharing this recipe is kind of like finally handing in that paper you had to rewrite over and over again back in school.
Relief. Satisfaction. But kind of sick of making caramel.
This dessert was inspired by the Caramel Cashew Sundae from Culver’s. Any Culver’s fans out there? I see that hand!
What this baby’s got that Culver’s Sundae doesn’t is a shortbread cookie crust on the bottom. And not just any shortbread, but Cashew Shortbread cookies crushed up and drizzled with melted butter. If I were the dieting kind, I’d say diet starts Monday. Thank goodness I’m not that kind :0)
You’ve still got a little bit of summer left to make this, and I know you will love it! Enjoy every caramel cashew bite!
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #lovelylittlekitchen
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- 14 cashew shortbread cookies*
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 (48 ounce) container vanilla ice cream, softened
- 2 cups homemade caramel sauce
- 1 1/2 cups salted cashews, chopped
- 1 container Cool Whip (or homemade whipped cream)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Crush the shortbread cookies in a food processor, blender, or in a plastic bag with a rolling pin. Pour melted butter into shortbread crumbs and mix well. Pat the shortbread crumbs into an even layer on the bottom of a 9 by 9 inch baking dish. Freeze until firm.
- When the shortbread layer is frozen, spread softened vanilla ice cream over the top in an even layer. Freeze until firm.
- To make the Caramel Sauce, place the butter, brown sugar, water and salt into a heavy bottomed 3 quart pan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and allow to boil rapidly for 4-5 minutes. Then remove the caramel sauce from the heat and carefully whisk in the evaporated milk and vanilla extract. Allow to cool a bit before pouring it over the ice cream so that the ice cream doesn’t melt.
- Pour the caramel sauce over the ice cream (reserving about 1/3 cup of the caramel to decorate the top) and then sprinkle the chopped cashews (reserve 1/2 cup) on top. Freeze until firm.
- Spread the Cool Whip over the cashew layer. Pour the reserved caramel sauce into a plastic bag and cut a tiny bit of a bottom corner off. Drizzle caramel in a crosshatch design over the Cool Whip and sprinkle reserved cashews on top. Freeze until ready to serve, at least 3-4 hours.
* I used Keebler Cashew Sandies