Baked Alaska is a the steakhouse dinner of desserts. It’s decidedly retro, lightly kitschy, and—while completely obtainable to the home cook—slightly more involved than you want it to be.
I had never made a Baked Alaska within the walls of my kitchen, mainly because my freezer is too small to accommodate one, but also because the idea of molding sticky, melting ice cream into a dome seemed tiresome, and I’m already quite tired.
But—messy ice cream mound aside—the Baked Alaska is a very impressive dessert that’s pretty easy to execute. You just need some sort of base (most commonly cake), ice cream, and an insulating, decorative layer of meringue, which you can either torch or broil to get that burnished, toasted marshmallow look.
I already had a pan of brownies made, and my kitchen torch is always ready to go, so all I needed was a neat and compact ice cream layer to make my very specific Baked Alaska dreams a reality.
Enter Klondike Bars, the small, square ice cream bar without a stick. Usually I don’t like the fact that they don’t have sticks, but it really worked out well in this instance. To make a Baked Alaska with Klondike Bars, all you have to do is stack two of them on top of a piece of cake (or large brownie), cover them with meringue, freeze the whole thing for a spell, then torch it just before serving.
The flavor of Klondike Bar is up to you. I went with original, but I think mint chip would be quite nice with a brownie layer. Also, I know that Klondike Bars are square, and the Baked Alaskas are usually round, but the difference in shape didn’t cause any issues for me. I also appreciated the slight textural contrast the thin layer of crisp chocolate brought to the dessert. Overall, it was quite delightful, and the whole thing fit on a small plate in my tiny European-sized freezer. Even though this is a “mini” Baked Alaska, it can easily serve four.
Mini Baked Alaska
- 5″x5″ base layer of cake, brownies, or even cookies (I used a giant brownie from a boxed mix and it worked quite well)
- 4 egg whites
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 pinch cream of tartar
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 Klondike bars, any flavor
Buy or prepare your base layer—I recommend a boxed mix of some kind, but you can put as much or as little effort into it as you like. Whatever base you go with, make sure you let it cool completely. Place the cake/brownie/large cookie on a freezer-safe plate (make sure it’s oven-safe too if you plan to broil) and set aside.
Make the meringue by combining the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and salt in a large bowl and whipping with a stand or hand mixer until shiny, stiff peaks form. Remove the Klondike Bars from the freezer, unwrap them, then place them on top of each other in the center of the base layer (you can use a dot of meringue between them to keep the top one from sliding off the bottom).
Swirl the meringue around the Klondike Bars and base cake layer to cover completely. Try to make it look pretty by creating texture where you can—a simple spoon is your friend here. Once it looks how you want it, pop the whole thing in the freezer for at least two hours—three if you plan to broil rather than torch.
When you’re ready to serve dessert, decide if you want to broil or torch. If you want to broil, preheat your oven to 500℉, then bake it until the peaks turn golden brown (about four minutes). If you want to torch, simply turn your torch on and toast the meringue like a marshmallow with gentle, sweeping motion. Let the Baked Alaska sit for a couple of minutes for slicing purposes, then serve and enjoy.