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Apr 17, 2008 08:20 AM

Carvel "Crunchies" & how to stuff

At the suggestion of Jfood, I'm putting the secret of Carvel Crunchies on the home cooking board. The crunchies are simply made out of the flying saucer cookies (granted they shipped them already broken up bags labled "crunchies" but they were the same thing) mixed with chocolate bonnet (the dip that gets hard). A easy, and just as tasty, home mix for this is oreo crumbs and magic shell (I also use the Oreo ice cream cones smashed up if I can't find the cookie crumbs). Mix them together until it's pretty moist (not soaking wet, but getting there). That's it. That's the secret.
The "frosting" used at Carvel is their version of whipped cream. I find cool whip just as good (usually better).
I worked at Carvel for around 5 years in high school and college, so I got to know my way around the business if you have any questions.

Easy Ice Cream cake:
4 quarts of your favorite ice cream (2 flavors).
One box Oreo Cones or one container Oreo crumbs
One container Magic Shell (chocolate)
One container Cool whip
One 9" spring form pan with wax paper on the bottom (if you can find wax covered cake bottoms those rock - I can't find them so I make do).
Freeze springform pan with wax paper over the bottom.
Crush cones and mix with about 1/2 container of well shaken Magic Shell, should be wet, but not soaking wet. Feel free to taste.
Let 2 containers of one flavor melt a little bit. I throw mine in the kitchen aid so it has a consistent consitency (almost like soft serve)
Take out springform pan and spread ice cream over the bottom half (if you have ice cream left over, feel free to eat it)
Add "crunchies" and press down on them. KEEP CRUNCHIES AT LEAST 1 CENTIMETER FROM THE EDGES. There needs to be some ice cream to ice cream contact.
Freeze overnight.
Let 2 containers of the other flavor soften up a little bit (like the above).
Take the springform pan out and plop ice cream down on top of the bottom layer (you don't want to put it all in one space as you'll need to spread it out to cover it all evenly - if you plop it all down in the center, it tends to pull the cruchies up here & there).
Smooth out the top as best as possible with a long spatula (or bread knife).
Freeze overnight.
Take out of the freezer and dip the whole springform pan in hot water very quickly (as much as you can dip without it coming over the top). This should melt the sides just enough to release the cake from the pan.
Freeze for a few hours.
Decorate with cool whip - I usually do the top & sides, freeze, then do the piping, freeze, then any writting.
Like any Carvel cake, it does take a while (20-30 min) to defrost (to cut through)

If you have any questions on the cake or carvel recipies that I may remember, just let me know.

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  1. I make a similar ice cream cake. I use 2 half gallons of contrasting simple flavors (like vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, coffee, nothing with a lot of stuff in it).

    I soften the ice cream, and put half of one flavor in the springform pan, spread and then sprinkle with some crushed oreos (vanilla filling and all), then spread half of the other flavor and sprinkle with crushed Heath bars or Skors bars, alternate flavors again, for a total of four layers. Freeze.

    I don't bother to frost it.

    (If you use vanilla ice cream as the second ice cream the top will be white...and you can omit the last layer of oreos on top... and decorate as you wish.)

    I serve it with hot fudge sauce and whipped cream on the side.

    This is a massive hit, especially in the summer.

    1. I've always wondered about the crunchies. Is there a way to do them without using the magic shell? Can you use regular melted chocolate and cookies? When you freeze it overnight, do you cover it with aluminum wrap, plastic on top, nothing? Thanks for the recipe.

      5 Replies
      1. re: chowser

        HunterJay's information is spot-on. As a former Carvel franchisee I can honestly say if we'd had him as an employee we might still be in business. The only thing I'd say is that I believe that Cool Whip is airier than the store's whipped topping, but you should just use whatever you like best to coat the cake.

        In the store we have freezers that go lower than your usual home freezers and they're not as overstuffed as home freezers tend to be (at least mine) so things set up much faster. We never covered the cakes in the store, either while in the molds or after they had been coated with topping, although the cardboard base did effectively serve as a barrier while the cakes were freezing. After being decorated, they were boxed but that's it when it comes to covering.

        At home I would still cover with plastic wrap, as much out of habit as anything else, but if you have any stray crumbs, drips, or anything else in your freezer covering will limit cross-contamination.

        The bonnet coating uses coconut oil so that it's solid at room temperature and hence sets as soon as it hits the ice cream. If you have coconut oil at home you can make your own "magic shell."

        1. re: rockycat

          Mix melted chocolate, cookies and coconut oil? I wonder if pastry pride would be better than Cool Whip. I've always thought that Carvel could sell just the crunchies on the side. They're the only reason we buy the cakes.

          1. re: chowser

            We would sell the crunchies by themselves, if the customer asked. Very few thought to, though. They were also available as an ice cream topping, listed on the topping board.

            1. re: rockycat

              We don't even have a Carvel store near us. I get them from the grocery store. I don't know if it's a regional thing or there just aren't stores anymore.

              1. re: chowser

                The company overexpanded, chose their franchisees poorly, and then gave minimal to no support to stores outside of the core NY and FL markets. As a result, most of those stores closed in fairly short order. There are still plenty stores in the core markets.

                The division that supplies cakes to the supermarkets is completely separate from the stores. Supermarket cakes are factory-made, cakes in the stores are all made in-store.

      2. Hi, do you know if covering an ice cream cake with fondant is possible? My daughter wants that for her wedding cake. Help!