Magic bars are a popular bar cookie get their name because they require few ingredients and are so easy to make that it’s hard to believe they taste as good as they do. The classic recipe features chocolate, nuts and coconut on a graham cracker crust and while it is a fantastic combination of flavors, there are times when a little variety is good. I was intrigued by the Orangesicle Cookie Mix that Pillsbury recently introduced as a summer item, since I am a huge fan of orange and vanilla creamsicles and have even made Creamsicle Cupcakes before. So, I played around with the mix and came up with a fun summer recipe using it: Orangesicle Magic Bars.
The creamsicles I ate as a kid were orange-flavored popsicles filled with a vanilla ice cream. When you bit into the popsicle, you got a nice blend of orange and cream that is what everyone associates with a creamsicle. These popsicles are ones that I rarely buy these days, but I also rarely make them at home, even though I make other popsicles regularly. They are difficult to make at home because, even with fancy popsicle makers, it can be tricky to get that ice cream filling into a popsicle shell. After a little experimentation, I came up with a compromise that captured the flavor of a creamsicle in an easier to make format.
My Orange Yogurt Creamsicles are two-layer popsicles. One layer of the pop is fresh orange juice, and the other is a combination of juice and yogurt. Although the ice cream in a creamsicle is typically vanilla, I found I got a great creamy element to the popsicles with plain yogurt instead, and the popsicles still had a very zesty and refreshing orange flavor. I filled the molds partly with orange juice and let it partially freeze, then added the yogurt layer on top to get the two-tone effect. The orange layer doesn’t need to be completely frozen, just frozen enough to hold its shape while the second layer is added.
For the orange juice layer, I prefer to use just plain, freshly squeezed juice. The orange juice sets up a little bit icier than the yogurt mixture, and has a tart-sweet taste to it. I like the contrast, personally, but you can decrease the iciness and up the sweetness by adding a tablespoon or two of confectioners’ sugar to the plain orange juice for that layer if you prefer. Either way, this flavor combination will bring back memories of those classic pops – even if the format is slightly different this time around!
Who doesn’t like a creamsicle on a hot summer day? The ice cream-filled orange popsicle is a favorite summertime treat for many people – and this is that classic popsicle in cupcake form. These Creamsicle Ice Cream Cupcakes are orange cupcakes that are filled with vanilla bean ice cream and topped with a zesty orange glaze. Like their popsicle namesakes, these are stored in the freezer and ready to serve as a cool treat on a hot day or any other time that a creamsicle craving hits!
The cupcakes are easy to make and turn out to be moist and tender. I used both butter and vegetable oil in the cake, as cakes made with vegetable oil tend to stay a little bit moister after being frozen. Freshly squeezed orange juice is going to give you the best flavor in these cupcakes, and by freshly squeezing the oranges you’ll also have plenty of zest to further boost the flavor. If you don’t have oranges at hand, you can use bottled orange juice. Again, try to go with fresh, not-from-concentrate juice for the best flavor even when using bottled juice. The cupcakes will still turn out well, but the orange flavor might be slightly subdued. To punch it up even further, add a bit of orange extract or a few drops of orange oil to the batter.
The finished cakes have a great combination of orange and vanilla flavors. When I hollowed out the cupcakes to fill them with ice cream, I tried to make as much room for the filling as possible. I also used a good quality vanilla bean ice cream, slightly softened, to fill them up. The glaze added some extra sweetness and brightness to the cakes, and really reminded me of the orange “shell” that makes up the outer layer of a creamsicle.
These cupcakes should be stored in the freezer and taken out shortly before serving. Once they are glazed, allow them to set up in the freezer for at least an hour. At that point, you can cover them with plastic wrap and they’ll keep for a week at the very least (probably quite a bit longer if you have a lot of self control!). The orange glaze gives you a nice burst of orange when you take a bite, and it sets up very nicely in the freezer without getting too hard. If you are in a hurry to dig in, just stuff the cupcakes with ice cream, top with a spoonful of glaze and serve right away!