I’ve been attending the Iowa State Fair since I was a little kid. When I say ‘attend’ that means daily, all 11 days usually. I have eaten most every food on the grounds. Most I can go the entire year without having again (ie: corn dogs, funnel cakes, fry-bread sandwiches from Crescentis, cherry lemonade shake-ups, hot beef sundae from Cattleman’s, etc.) There is one thing that I have at the Fair that I consider mystical, magical and straight up divine. Most of my friends agree (and I even have some who stockpile massive amounts of these in their deep freeze to eat throughout the year), this treat tops the TO EAT list.
The Bauder’s Pharmacy Peppermint Bar. Cookie crust, a layer of hot fudge, sublime peppermint ice cream. Peppermint perfection. If you haven’t ever tried one, please stop at their stand this year. The trailer they serve them out of is up near the Agricultural building on the Fairgrounds. It has old-fashioned charm, the staff is always friendly and the treats are amazing. They serve award winning ice cream several ways. (I sound like I’m being sponsored to say these things. I’m not. Just a little pre-story as to why I decided to take the time to make a copy-cat recipe.) The actual pharmacy location is on 38th and Ingersoll in Des Moines, they have an old fashioned soda fountain, amazing ice cream and a nice menu.
Back to the point. The Peppermint Bar. There are 3 components here, near as I can tell. Crushed Oreo cookies (can I say Oreo on here?) “chocolate sandwich cookies”, is that better? Then there is hot fudge topping. I will say, I have made plenty of homemade hot fudge (from scratch, yes) and I’ve eaten plenty of it too, all homemade (my Grandma Celeste always made it to serve on her Schwann’s Ice Cream). Either these folks have the hot fudge recipe FROM Smucker’s (the jarred topping you get by the ice cream area at the grocery store) or they are using a canned product (which is totally fine with me, something about it, the texture and overall awesomeness is JUST right and is hard to achieve with a from-scratch fudge sauce.) Lastly there is the crown-jewel: the pretty pink peppermint ice cream. Luxuriously creamy, slightly pink with the most delicious peppermint flavor. I know they make this from scratch, like the rest of their ice creams, for sure.
So, let’s recap:
Oreo cookies. Hot Fudge Topping. Peppermint Ice Cream. That’s IT?! Yes it is.
Let me show you how I did it. Today we’re making a small batch of bars, enough for a 9×9 or 8×8 pan, you can increase the recipe by 50% to generate enough for a 9×13 pan if you need to. My bars are not the same ratio crust/ice cream as they are at the Fair. My crust to cream ratio is higher. Just like I like it. Adjust if you’d like.
The Ice Cream
First off, I made my OWN peppermint ice cream. Totally not necessary, but I think the taste is really special. Plus, I LOVE making ice cream and my husband just got me a new ice cream maker for Christmas. I used a recipe from The Pioneer Woman for Peppermint Ice Cream. This isn’t necessary. You could certainly go to a fine ice cream shop in your neck of the woods and purchase two quarts of vanilla soft serve ice cream. We’re lucky to have Goldie’s Ice Cream Shoppe in Prairie City (the town I grew up in) where they have incredibly delicious ice cream PLUS an amazing full menu as well, helloooooo #1 Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin (voted by the Iowa Pork Producers, 2009) Go see Brad, the smiling and sweet owner, and get yourself two quarts of his vanilla soft serve for your recipe.
The Peppermint Candies
The ‘lucked out’ part of this recipe came by default. You have to stir in 1/2 C crushed peppermint candies into the ice cream while it is soft. I happened to have two amazing Hammond’s Candies Peppermint Candy Canes leftover from Christmas, just waiting to be used. (*I ‘Santa’ had purchased two of these big, artisanal, hand crooked candy canes to put in my kid’s stockings… well the grocery store I bought them at is notorious for careless checkers and they crushed the candy canes before I even left the store. Sweet. The Santa in this house decided to forego giving the broken canes to the kids and just kept them up in the pantry.) I stumbled across these candy canes, crushed them with a rolling pin and was surprised to see the inside of the candy cane is pink, even though the outside is old fashioned red and cream/white. Their flavor is fantastic, they didn’t get chewy and I wouldn’t use anything else in this recipe, even though they are quite expensive.
Oreo cookies = 1 package of Double Stuff Oreo cookies and 1 container of Smucker’s Hot Fudge topping (you can make your own homemade topping but the texture of the official peppermint bar has a convenience hot fudge consistency. just sayin’!)
**Photos at the bottom of the post.**
Copycat State Fair Peppermint Bar Recipe
1 package Double Stuff oreos,
1 container Smucker’s Hot Fudge Topping
2 Quarts vanilla soft serve ice cream (I made my own using The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Peppermint Ice Cream, find it here.)
1/2 C crushed peppermint candies (I used Hammond’s, find them here.)
1/2 tsp peppermint extract (*optional if you desire a strong peppermint flavor)
Set ice cream out to soften. Crush Oreo cookies in food processor until mostly fine with some chunks. Press 1/2 of the mixture into a 9×9 or 8×8 pan lined with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Freeze for 15 minutes until firm. Warm up hot fudge topping in microwave for 45 seconds (remove lid!). Spread on chilled Oreo layer. Freeze. Stir crushed peppermint candies and extract *if desired into softened vanilla ice cream. Spread peppermint ice cream onto hot fudge layer. Gently sprinkle on remaining crushed Oreos over softened ice cream and press in slightly. Freeze for 8 hours or until stiff. Remove from pan, cut into 9 bars and serve.
Makes 9 large bars.
Here are some pictures from my Peppermint Bar making process:
Finishing up the custard for my homemade ice cream base. The recipe I used was from The Pioneer Woman. Find the recipe and her fancy step by step photos here. Thanks PW!
Blitzed up Oreo cookies.
Press half of the cookie crumbs in the bottom of the lined pan, then freeze 15 minutes or until firm.
Warm the hot fudge for 45 seconds in the microwave, so it will spread easier.
I love my offset spatula.
Done spreading, now freeze again for about 15-20 minutes until this layer is firm.
Meanwhile, crush those peppermint candies:
My finished vanilla ice cream base. (*if you want pretty-pink peppermint ice cream and not just mildly pink ice cream, you’ll have to add a little food coloring. I chose not to.)
Mixed up with the candies with the vanilla ice cream and poured them on top of the chilled base layer of Oreos and hot fudge topping. Spread it out evenly. (*See, it is sort of pink… the candies continue to give off color in the chilling process.)
Now, sprinkle the remaining Oreos on top of the softened ice cream, press in gently to secure some of the cookies to the ice cream. (You will have Oreo crumbs everywhere but they are easily soaked up by the ice cream as it melts when you eat the bar later.) If I make these again I’ll chill the ice cream layer, add ANOTHER layer of hot fudge topping then the remaining Oreos. That is not how they are at the Fair… only 1 fudge ribbon. Fiddlesticks.
Chill the bars, and remove them when they are firm by lifting up the plastic or foil on all sides. Cut into squares and serve immediately.
Come to Mama.