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Entries in ice cream (37)

Wednesday
Apr302014

Pure Sin: Butter Ice Cream Recipe

Butter ice cream

Don't be fooled. As sweet as the scoops above might look, the fact is that they are stuffed with sin. You see, dear readers, I have a confession to make. I have done something so, so, SO naughty.

I've made butter ice cream.

BUTTER ICE CREAM! 

You may be wondering, "is this for real?". Well, the answer, my friends...

Butter ice cream

While you absorb the gravity and general amazing-ness of this statement, let me explain. Don't start panicking, because there is a homemade butter ice cream recipe at the end of the story.

I was writing about how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker for an upcoming post on Craftsy, when it hit me: what if I used butter instead of cream to make the ice cream? After all, isn't butter the condensed best part of cream, anyway? The more I thought about it, the better an idea I decided it was.

So using the same method I used for the Craftsy writeup, I whipped up a batch of vanilla ice cream. But instead of heavy cream, I substituted an equal amount of butter. From there, I basically followed the same steps.

So, now that you've had some time to digest the words "butter ice cream", you're probably wondering "was it gross? Or was it awesome?". Because let's be honest, when somebody says something like "butter ice cream" it's probably going to be one or the other: awful of awesome. Something like butter ice cream is never just "well, it was ok". 

Butter ice cream

Listen. I need to tell you that there is a reason why this kind of ice cream is not sold in stores. It is absolutely made of sin. It tastes like the unholy love child of a rich buttercream frosting and frozen custard, which is to say, it tastes amazing. 

Now, there were some differences between the butter ice cream and regular ice cream. For one, it was flakier in the pan once frozen; I had to let it sit at room temperature for about 2 minutes before it would scoop properly. It doesn't have the same exact texture as ice cream. Oddly, the texture is more like a coconut milk or vegan ice creams I've tried in the past. But the taste is nothing like those varieties. 

Butter ice cream

Listen, I am not going to advocate eating buckets of the stuff, because quite frankly, you'd probably have a heart attack. But I am going to say that as a garnish for a treat, a thinly spread filling in an ice cream sandwich, or enjoyed in a single sinful scoop, this is a treat which ends up tasting way better than it has any right to. 

OK. Maybe you're sold, maybe not. But if you are curious, here's the recipe. 

Butter ice cream

BUTTER ice cream

Makes about 12 cookie scoop sized servings

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Procedure

  1. Cut the butter into small pieces. Place the first five ingredients (everything but the vanilla) in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir CONSTANTLY. I found that if I didn't, burned bits of butter would form very quickly.  If they do, don't stop: we'll strain the mixture in a little bit.
  2. Butter ice cream
  3. Continue to cook until the temperature has reached 145 F (a few degrees over is fine). Keep a close eye on this as the smoke point for butter is 150 degrees F. Remove from heat, and if needed, strain the mixture into a different bowl through a sieve to strain out burned bits. Stir in the vanilla and place the bowl or pan in an ice bath.
  4. Butter ice cream
  5. While the mixture is cooling in the ice bath, place a stainless steel bowl (fairly shallow) or baking pan in the freezer to chill.
  6. Once the mixture has cooled, gently pour it into the cold pan. Take care that no drops of water from the bottom of the pan get in the mixture.
  7. Place the pan in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Remove the pan. Chances are, it feels a bit gluey. It's OK. Stir it as vigorously as you can, using a combo of rubber spatula (to loosen the mixture from the sides and bottom) and a whisk (to mix). Stir vigorously (but not so hard as to make the mixture go flying) for 1 minute or so. Return the mixture to the freezer.
  8. Homemade vanilla ice cream
  9. Repeat this process every 20 minutes or so for 6 cycles. The mixture will be slightly thicker every time. If at any point it is too thick, place the mixture in the refrigerator to soften slightly before stirring, then do the step and return to the freezer.  Once the ice cream has completely frozen, your ice cream is ready. 
  10. Butter ice cream

Enjoy in moderation and good health. 

Butter ice cream

Sunday
Apr062014

Bali Diary: Love Letter to Magnum Gold

Uluwatu and Padang Padang

I realize that it may sound funny that I had to travel so far to find something which has apparently been under my nose for some time in the United States.

But sometimes fact is stranger than fiction, and it took me going all the way to Bali to discover the Magnum Gold.

Actually, technically, it's the "GOLD?! Magnum Ice Cream Bar". GOLD?! might, upon first thought, seem like a deeply stupid name. Truthfully, it did to me. But my tune has changed.

Because as it turns out, it's quite accurate to the experience of eating a bar. Because here's what happens, in simplified terms:

Step 1: You wonder "Gold? What's so gold about it?". Shake your head. It's just an ice cream bar, man.

Step 2: Open the bar and take a bite. Exalt as you take the initial bite and discover that the yellow chocolate covers dark chocolate, which gives way to ice cream with delicate swirls of salty caramel. Think, "holy sundae, is this good." Exclaim "GOLD!".

Uluwatu and Padang Padang

So really, the name does make a lot of sense after you try the bar.

The weird thing is that while they exist in the US, I had never heard of them. But apparently Bali has caught the news that something good is happening with this bar, because they are EVERYWHERE there. There are signs in the supermarkets for them, and they are a prominent offering at mini-marts, ice cream vendors, and food markets.

At the Padang Padang beach, there was even an ice cream vendor toting them in a cooler full of dry ice. My friend and teaching BFF in Bali, Jan, flagged him down and bought one. She offered to get me one, too, but I felt that the name was kind of stupid and declined, instead electing to pose for a photo in front of a particularly large rock.

Uluwatu and Padang Padang

But the moment I saw her dig into the treat, I knew I must have my very own. So later that day, at a pit stop on the way to Uluwatu, I grabbed my own Magnum Gold.

Uluwatu and Padang Padang

Upon first bite, I was hooked. Rich chocolate that melted in your mouth, with a satisfying white and dark chocolate flavor. The chocolate flavor subsiding into and melding with the creaminess of the inside. No mere vanilla bean ice cream in here--it was swirled with salted caramel. They were delicate swirls, but certainly they were the certain something that took the bar from "good ice cream truck offering" to "I want to eat my weight in this thing".

After I got a Magnum, many of my other Bali BFFs followed in kind. You see, it's the type of thing that you want once you see someone else eating it. 

Uluwatu and Padang Padang

The experience made watching a beautiful sunset with monkeys all around even sweeter.

Thank you, Bali, for so much. But at this moment, thank you most for introducing me to my newest love. Because you know what they say: "Make new desserts, but savor store-bought, one is silver but the other's Gold."

Actually, nobody's ever said that until now, but the main point here is that you have to try this ice cream bar.

Love from Bali,

CakeSpy

Thursday
Mar212013

Sweet Indeed: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Some days are, well, just days. 

But then other days, a 14-pound box of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams lands on your doorstep, carefully packed in dry ice.

That, my friends, is a magical kind of day. And it was my day recently, when I was sent such a parcel from the purveyors of prime-time ice cream themselves--you know, so I could try some of their spring flavors.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

I could tell you how good this ice cream is. I could tell you how creamy, how rich, how luxuriant it feels in your mouth. I could tell you how it's worth whatever ridiculous price it might cost in the store ($12 per pint in some areas, I hear!), just so that you can taste a sweet piece of this nirvana.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

But, you know, a picture is worth a thousand words, so I'll sum it up simply by saying this is how Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams taste:

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

It gave you a pretty good idea, right? So, how about we now illustratively discuss each of the various flavors in the parcel: Banana Cajeta, Savannah Buttermint, "Roxbury" Road, and Double Toasted Coconut.

First, just so you know what banana cajeta is:

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

And here's how it tastes:

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

And next, Savannah Buttermint:

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

and now, the Roxbury Road, which is like a tricked-out Rocky Road: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

and finally, the Double Toasted Coconut, which is like a pure shot of coconut to the heart: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Final thoughts? Yeah, something like this:

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Want more? Visit the Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams website.

Tuesday
Feb122013

United States of Ice Cream

United States of Ice Cream

Ice Cream. Who can resist its sweet, creamy siren call on a summer night? Or day? Or...if we're being honest here, any day, regardless of time of year? 

In my opinion, ice cream is a taste of pure happiness. And while that happiness is universal, precise preferences can be regional. Everyone has a favorite spot. For some, it's the ice cream shop in the town where they grew up; for others, it's the swanky scoop shop they discovered as a mature adult; for some, it was a chance encounter: love at first lick while on vacation or visiting relatives or the like.

But collectively, I believe that we can all share in this sweetness, and so I hit up basically everyone I knew and asked where they'd suggest getting a cone or a cup, a scoop or a sundae. And I dutifully logged every single response. Consider this the soft-serve of that labor: a highly informal guide to where to get ice cream in the US. Don't be disappointed if I missed a spot you'd suggest: instead, chime in. I'm happy to add suggestions that come in via email or as comments. Just please no nationwide chains (regional is fine). Also, while I am happy to mention regional brands, I am primarily looking for places with retail locations. 

Got it? Good. Let's go. It's a sweet trip. 

Ate it!

Alabama

Durbin Farms in Clanton (Lisa O., who says "peach ice cream and more!")

Sweet Advantages in Selma (Cindy Lou's Cupcakes, etc)

Honorary Mention (not actually ice cream): Steel City Pops (Minde M-B, who says "100 percent natural homemade gourmet and delicious")

Sundae to the rescue!

Alaska

Hot Licks, Fairbanks

Arizona

The Sugar Bowl, Scottsdale (Emily S., who says "Very historic and very delicious")

Sweet Republic, Scottsdale (Randi S., who says "has amazing flavors")

Arkansas

Loblobby Creamery, Little Rock (Deede M.)

Yarnell's (Mini Empire baker Christy; "But I heard rumors they were going out of business")

Ice cream in SF

California

Bi-Rite, San Francisco (many people, but the first to mention it was @

Dandy Don's (Like the self-confidence, !)

Dewar's Ice Cream & Fine Candies, Bakersfield (Donna L.)

Flavor Brigade, Oakland (@tartoakland)

Humphrey Slocombe, San Francisco ()

Ici, Berkeley (famed pastry chef Dana Cree says "best in the country!")

Kind Kreme (Ben C. says "makes some amazing vegan flavors")

Loard's (@tartoakland)

Penny Ice Creamery, Santa Cruz (Erin Hunter)

Scoops (says Jesse LeDoux, who proclaims it "best in the world"!)

Sketch, Oakland (Mari Osuna)

Tucker's, Alameda (@tartoakland)

Colorado

Liks (Mary P.)

Little Man, Denver (Mary P.)

Sweet Action Ice Cream (@dnsvm and Church of Cupcakes)

Connecticut

Rich's Ice Cream, Oxford (Heather L.)

Salem Valley Farms

Shady Glen, Manchester, CT: Classic 50's throwback (Dan Sheehan)

Sweet Claude's, Cheshire (Blondie & Brownie)

UConn Dairy Bar, Storrs, CT: Fresh from University cows, made by scientists or something, very seasonal flavors. (Dan Sheehan)

Delaware

Delaware

Woodside Farm Creamery (Amie F.)

Florida

Jaxsons, for the "homemade ice cream and home of the kitchen sink." (Kim M-F)

Georgia

Leopold's, Savannah (Kim M.)

Morelli's, Atlanta (Candy W.)

Hawaii

Tasaka Guri Guri Shop in Kahului on Maui (Jennifer H.)

Photo: Vanessa V., on YelpIdaho

Rainey Creek Country Store, Swan Valley (Erin J., who informed me they sell SQUARE ice cream, pictured above)

Sub Zero Ice Cream, various locations in Idaho and beyond

Illinois

Black Dog Gelato, Chicago (famed pastry chef Dana Cree)

Margie's Candies, Chicago

Ollie's Frozen Custard, Sycamore (Emily B.)

Ruth and Phil's Gourmet Ice Cream, Chicago

Scooter's Frozen Custard, Chicago (Sarah K-M)

Indiana


Iowa

Whitey's (with locations in Iowa and Illinois, per Lindsey P.)

Kansas

Sylas & Maddy's, Lawrence (Courtney J.)

Kentucky

Homemade Ice Cream & Pie Kitchen, Louisville (Casey S-P)

Louisiana

Creole Creamery, New Orleans (Krystle S., who says "Bananas foster ice cream! Homemade Waffle cones! And it's right in the old McKenzie's bakery shop on Prytania. It's a must-stop.")

Eskamoe's Frozen Custard in both Monroe, West Monroe, and Ruston, LA ("is pretty awesome." - Christina R.)

Maine

Mount Desert Island Ice Cream Co. (Blondie & Brownie)

Red's Dairy Freeze, South Portland(Brittany, who says "They have amazing non traditional soft serve flavors.")

Round Top (Blondie & Brownie)

Maryland

The Dairy, University of Maryland, College Park (Says Brittany: "Allegedly has a higher fat content than allowed by law because it is only sold on campus.")

Takahara Bros, Baltimore (Jenny D.)

Massachusetts

Sweet fact: I was told by reader Mary Parker "Did you know they eat more ice cream in Boston, per capita, than anywhere else? Toscanini's, Rancatore's, and Christina's lead the bunch (though they are all technically Cambridge et al.)" .

Four Seas on Cape Cod ("is the greatest ice cream!" says )

Johnson's Drive In, Groton (Wendy M.)

Picco (Jen M.)

Polar Cave, Cape Cod

Rancatore's

Sully's (@)

Toscanini's, Cambridge (Jen M.)

Honorary Mention (in stores only): Batch (Jen M.)

Love cones

Michigan

Hudsonville (Pam P. and Kimberly CupcakeBoss)

Michigan State University Dairy Store (Laurie E.)

Ray's (Pam P.) 

Minnesota

Sebastian Joe's, Minneapolis (James Norton)

Mississippi

Mississippi Ice Cream Factory, Brookhaven

This little piggie had ice cream

Missouri:

Andy's Frozen Custard, Columbia (locations in TX, AR, and IL too, but the biggest concentration in MO) (@

Glacé in kansas city (@jonesingfor)

Ted Drewes Frozen Custard (ReTrailer)

Mountain cone

Montana

Chocolate Moose, Bozeman (Lindsey H.)

The Big Dipper (Lindsey H. and Carrie S., who adds They also do " random acts of community" where they will just show up in random spots where they know there will be a crowd and serve ice cream for free for whoever wants it. They keep out a tip jar and choose a charity to donate all of the jar to. Awesome place.)

Nebraska

Goodrich dairy, Omaha (they have locations in the area, but mostly Nebraska) (Tracy Z.) 

Ted and Wally's

UNL Dairy Store

Ice cream in vegas

Nevada

Luv it Frozen Custard, Las Vegas (Julie B-H)

New Hampshire

Annabel's, Portsmouth (Blondie & Brownie)

Arnie's Place, Concord (Wendy M.)

The Back Room

Beech Hill Farm, Hopkinton (Jennifer V.)

Bishops Ice Cream, Littleton (Louise W.)

Granite State Candy Shoppe and Ice Cream (Wendy M.)

Sawyer's Dairy Bar (Wendy M.)

Ice Cream by the shore

New Jersey

Applegate Farm, Montclair (Cait)

The Bent Spoon (Elizabeth S.)

Denville Dairy, Denville (@)

Halo Farms, Trenton (Kathleen L)

Hoffman's

Kohr's

Ryan's, Shrewsbury (Terri W.)

Van Dyke's, Ridgewood (Regina J.)

Zita's Ice Cream, New Providence (Jennifer N.)

New Mexico:

Taos Cow, Taos

NYC ice cream

New York

Abbott's Frozen Custard (Courtney N.)

Ample Hills, Brooklyn (David V.)

Anderson's Frozen Custard, Buffalo (Kara A.)

Gifford's Ice Cream (Nancy A.)

Herrell's, Huntington (Danielle J.)

Itgens in Valley stream (Linda K-S, who says "written up everywhere")

Ji and Jo, NYC (Beccy R.)

Lake Effect Ice Cream

Martha's Dandee Creme, Queensbury (Josh of Bluebird Microcreamery)

Max & Mina's, Queens (Kelly Mola)

Van Leeuwen, Brooklyn (Mariah E.)

Victory Garden (J. Benjamin)

North Carolina

Mapleview Dairy Farm ("hands down" says  and @BLDGbloc agrees)

 

This little piggie had ice cream

North Dakota

Pride Dairy

Ohio

Graeter's (Diane Kappa and Elizabeth Gordon)

Aglamesis Brothers; Dojo Gelato; & Madisono's Gelato & Sorbet.

East Coast Original Frozen Custard!! A classic from the days of Euclid Beach Amusement Park! (Kelly F.)

Handel's (Sara D-P)

Honey Hut Ice Cream, Cleveland (Stephanie Z.)

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream

Mitchell's (Diane Ketler)

Sweet Moses, Cleveland

Ice cream in oklahoma

Oklahoma:

Braum's, various locations

Freckles Frozen Custard, Tulsa (Becca S., who says "the golden driller in particular --- it has an 'oil' pool of hut fudge in it!")

The Custard Factory (formerly Rusty's), Norman (Ashley B.)

Portland ice cream

Oregon:

K R Drive Inn (Lisa O.)

Ruby Jewel (@lizaface)

Salt & Straw (@sockittomesocks)

Tillamook (Java Cupcake)

Regional Brand to try: Umpqua Dairy Ice cream - Roseburg, Oregon

Love cone

Pennsylvania

Bassetts, Philadelphia

Dave and Andy's, Pittsburgh (Joe)

Gerenser's Exotic Ice Cream, New Hope

Landhope Dairy in Kennett Square, PA (Jill Lightner)

oWowCow, 2 locations (Audrey O.)

Rakestraw's, Mechanicsburg (Stacy M., who says "you *have* to try the Teaberry!")

Tanner Bros. Dairy in Ivyland Pa (Kathleen L.)

Rhode Island

Ice Cream Machine in Cumberland, RI (Kim S.)

The Original Vanilla Bean, Matunuck, RI: crazy, fun, delicious flavors. (Dan Sheehan)

Gray's Ice Cream, Tiverton, RI: fancy flavors (Dan Sheehan)

South Carolina

Kilwin's Chocolate and Ice Cream, Charleston

South Dakota

Dairy Bar at SDSU at Brookings ( says "amazing ice cream & they also invented cookies and cream ice cream." - read more here)

Tennessee cone

Tennessee

Mayfield Dairy (Carol H.)

Sheridan's Frozen Custard (Erin)

Texas:

Longhorn with ice cream

Note: "Texas is Blue Bell Country," says Anna Ginsberg, author of The Daily Cookie: 365 Tempting Treats for the Sweetest Year of Your Life

Amy's Ice Creams (@charmingred)

Utah

Utah State University. (Erin J., who says "Rich, creamy, thick ice cream. Aggies all the way!")

Vermont

Burlington Bay Cafe (Gina H., who says "Maple Creemees!")

Mountain Creamery, Woodstock

Virginia

Bev's Homemade Ice Cream, Richmond 

Dairy Godmother, Alexandria

Seattle ice cream

Washington

Bluebird Microcreamery (did you know I did a mural in their bathroom?)

Cupcake Royale (Sara Jane Elisabeth)

Elevated Ice Cream, Port Townsend ()

Ferdinand's, Washington State University (Jama W.)

Full Tilt Ice Cream (Jill Lightner )

Mallard Ice Cream, Bellingham

Molly Moon's, Seattle (multiple people, but the first was @vanadiumzest!)

Olympic Mountain, Shelton (Linda W.)

West Virginia

Brake's Dairy King in Buckhannon (Beth J.)

Wisconsin

Babcock Hall (James Norton, who notes "although frozen custard is the real cult favorite in the Dairy State (a big vote for Michael's)". Don't worry James, I have included custard, too!) 

Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream (@epistemophilia) of note: Signage outside says, "You want nutrition, eat carrots."

Kopp's

Michael's (James Norton)

Purple Door Ice Cream, Milwaukee (MKE Cupcake Queen)

Wyoming

Farson Mercantile

Moo's Gourmet Ice Cream, Jackson Hole

Thursday
Nov082012

CakeSpy Undercover: Braum's Ice Cream, Oklahoma City

Birthday cake ice cream

One of my favorite things about traveling is discovering local chains. You know, the types of places that might be part of your everyday life if you live in a given region, that you might even forget about in day-to-day life. But as a visitor, it's fun to discover these places--I consider it a great way to pretend you live somewhere for a short time and eat like a local. 

Braum's

So when I passed through Oklahoma City recently, I was delighted to visit Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy Store. If you live in the area, you are undoubtedly familiar with their bright and happy ice cream logo. To the uninitiated--I'd describe Braum's as a sort of regional Dairy Queen, with a market attached. It's cool. The business started in the 1930s in Oklahoma--you can read more about the history here.

Braum's

Really, for me it was interesting enough just to walk around and visit, but I was even more delighted to find the ice cream highly satisfactory.

Since I only eat sweets that have colors which appear in nature, I chose the Birthday Cake ice cream, which is a perfect sky blue hue. Awesome: the generous scoop was surprisingly low in price, about 2 dollars. I found that to be very welcome, having recently enjoyed fancy ice cream in both Seattle and Philadelphia which cost about double the price. Not that I don't appreciate that these are higher rent cities, but this was pretty nice since I am kind of a cheapskate. 

Braum's

The ice cream exceeded my expectations. It was fluffy, almost marshmallow-like, in its texture; the flavor, however, was still very creamy and full, and the chunks of cake (with frosting, I believe) were wonderful landmines in the creamy cup of ice cream. Ohhhh yes. 

Braum's

A friend tried the Black Walnut ice cream, which I also sampled; it was a very unique flavor which was indeed very black walnutty. If you've ever tried black walnut cake or baked goods of any sort, you know what a wonderful, buttery, spicy something it offers to sweets; this ice cream was a fantastic fall flavor, in this spy's opinion. 

So, to sum it up: Braum's is a sweet spot with plenty of locations in the OKC area (including locations in Kansas, Arkansas, and Texas). Give them a try!

Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy Store, various locations; find more info here.

P.S. Like the pictures in this post? I took them on my new Intuition phone, part of the Midwest Savvy Gourmets program from Verizon!  Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Midwest Savvy Gourmets program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

Friday
Sep212012

Ice Cream at Cupcake Royale

Having been away from Seattle for about six months, a lot has changed here. They now charge for bags at the grocery store; the bus is more expensive; the old Center House at the Seattle Center is now a gourmet foodie destination (or trying to be). 

But of all the changes, one of the most exciting is that there appears to have been an ice cream explosion in the city. Highlights: Cupcake Royale and Top Pot Doughnuts are branching out to now offer ice cream; Lick Ice Cream opened its doors on Pine Street. And though not ice cream, it's related: D'ambrosio Gelato opened a second location in Capitol Hill.

The first one I have had the pleasure to sample so far is the ice cream at Cupcake Royale (where you can also buy my cards, btw).

Now, when CCR started offering ice cream, I was intrigued--because while it certainly was branching out from the cupcake theme, it definitely seemed like a natural progression. And a good combo. 

As I learned from Seattle Met, it further makes sense because owner Jody Hall "happens to be close friends with Kim Malek, founder of crazy good Portland ice creamery Salt and Straw …a convenient liaison, indeed. Hall says Malek lent considerable time and assistance in developing her program, and Cupcake Royale ice cream maven Nicki Kerbs and “head churner” James Lowell both went down to Portland for some training."

CakeSpy Note: I have known and loved Salt and Straw, too!

They offer two categories of flavors: "Cupcakes n cream" which are inspired by (and include bits of) their cupcake flavors, including Red Velvet (Cream cheese, buttermilk ice cream with chunks of Red Velvet cupcakes), and Dance Party with Holly Hobbie (Triple vanilla ice cream with chunks of Dance Party cupcakes).

The second category is "Bakeshop Inspired" which feature the "just what it sounds like"--Oregon Hill Strawberry or Royale Extra Dark Chocolate, for instance, as well as some more exotic, like Washington Hazelnut Brittle with Salted Ganache (Vanilla ice cream with chunks of house made salted ganache and hazelnut brittle) or Whiskey Maple Bacon Crack (Real maple ice cream with a hint of Woodinville Whiskey loaded with house-made bacon crack (aka brittle).

But you can see the entire flavor list here.

So. After pining over the flavor list for a while, I finally got to go and try it! I went with my buddies Nicole and Ramon. I've eaten ice cream with them before, in multiple countries.

After sampling the Red Velvet, I had a sort of reaction where I wanted to do a happy dance to praise the heavens for this tangy, cakey, creamy "oh my god how quickly can I eat a vat of it" ice cream. It's really, really good.

But since I was really craving an ice cream sandwich, I decided to go with a different flavor for the main event. I went with the Washington Hazelnut Brittle with Salted Ganache, because really, what part of that is wrong? I got it between two "bacon crack" cookies. 

The cookies, sweet and caramelly and then with a big, salty, bacon-y bite, had a very assertive flavor. As a stand-alone cookie it might not be for the feint of heart. But when used as bookends for this ice cream, I don't think I am exaggerating when I say they approach perfection. The creaminess of the ice cream itself worked nicely with the salty bacon-y flavor--and it was a really, really good ice cream all by itself. I was highly impressed by the creamy vanilla base which was studded with bits of nutty, caramelly brittle and salted chocolate ribboned throughout. It was a Ben & Jerry's style ice cream in that it was really packed with the fillings, but a more intimately delicious version in that I know this stuff is lovingly made in smaller batches. 

Highly enchanted by this experience, I returned the next day for the Red Velvet Ice cream, which was, as I remembered from my taste of it the night before, totally effing delicious.

Cupcake Royale's ice cream not only met my expectations, but exceeded them. They have managed to find a perfect balance: the flavors are not only attention-grabbing, but they are actually delicious. I'm really proud of this gem of a local business for being able to bravely expand in a way that makes sense, and to do it so tastefully and toothsomely.

Other things I should mention: they also have ice cream sandwiches bookended with cake (yum); they also have Red Velvet Waffle cones. Red Velvet Waffle Cones! Yeah!

So, in case you hadn't gotten the message yet: CakeSpy gives a big thumbs up to Cupcake Royale's ice cream.

Cupcake Royale ice cream, scooped fresh at Ballard, Bellevue, 108 Pine, and the Capitol Hill locations; there are pints and sandwiches at ALL locations. GO GET SOME. DO IT. Online here.

Saturday
Aug182012

August 18: National Soft Ice Cream Day

Rita's

Gosh, do I love me some soft-serve. Growing up by the Jersey Shore, it  was a summertime staple at the boardwalk. Not vanilla, not chocolate, but the SWIRL. Some places would do an orange-vanilla swirl, too--because life is all about choices. And sometimes you choose to have a soft-serve equivalent of a creamsicle.

Kohr's soft ice cream, Seaside

Well, today (August 18) is National Soft Ice Cream Day, and in celebration, I'd like to share 13 points of interest regarding this sweet manna.

1. Carvel claims to have invented soft serve. Suffering a flat tire in the early 1934, Tom Carvel pulled into a parking lot and began selling his melting ice cream to vacationers driving by. He sold it rapidly, and had an ephiphany: a fixed location and soft (as opposed to hard) frozen desserts were the way to go. In 1936, Carvel opened his first store on the original broken down truck site and developed a secret soft serve ice cream formula as well as patented super low temperature ice cream machines.

2. Dairy Queen also claims to have invented soft serve. In 1938 in Illinois, J.F. McCullough and his son, Alex, also claim to have developed a soft serve formula. They sold 1,600 servings in two hours, and were officially ice cream men from that day on. 

Ice Cream

3. What's in soft serve? Mostly air, but depending on where you get it, it could also include a treasure trove of not so desirable ingredients, such as stabilizers, corn syrup, and even magnesium hydroxide. Read more here. 

Scoop de Ville, Philadelphia

4. DIY: at Scoop de Ville in Philadelphia, you can choose an ice cream flavor, choose mix-ins, and they will use a machine to render the ice cream into soft-serve. Since theirs has no stabilizers or additives, they make each cup or cone to order. It's very good!

5. Fun place to visit: Stew Leonard, the "Dairy Superstore", with locations in NY and CT, makes their own soft-serve daily--while the most popular flavor is vanilla, they also have a fantastic strawberry variety.

Source: anothermag.com via Cake on Pinterest

 

6. Lost in Translation: in Israel, they call soft-serve "American Ice Cream". In Japan, it's called "softcream". In parts of Europe, it's referred to as "soft ice".

7. Sweet fusion: This nostalgic treat has inspired some fusion foods: in Brooklyn, you can get soft-serve kefir.

8. Go Bananas: If you're vegan, or want to pretend you are, banana soft serve will serve up some vitamins and minerals as well as soft serve tastiness. 

 

9. Soft-serve is lower in fat than ice cream (it's made with 3-6 percent milkfat, as opposed to hard ice cream's 15-ish percent), but don't think that means it's health food. Refer to #3.

 

10. Fascinating phenomenon: Dole makes a series of "enhanced fruit" soft-serves, most famously the Dole Whip sold at Disney.

 

11. Who prefers soft-serve over hard ice cream? You can read an essay on this important subject here.

12. Guilty pleasure: You can make a chocolate soft-serve at home that tastes like a hybrid between a frosty drink from Wendy's and chocolate soft serve. YUM.

Source: google.com via Hanna on Pinterest

 

13. Here's another at-home version, this one a fancier version of the Mr. Softee version. You're welcome.

Sunday
Jul082012

CakeSpy Undercover: Gerenser's Exotic Ice Cream, New Hope PA

Gerenser's Ice Cream, New Hope PA

Is there a more distinct pleasure than ice cream on a hot summer day?

If there is, it has yet to come to my mind. 

But if you happen to be in New Hope, Pennsylvania, your pleasure in ice cream eating is bound to be particularly sweet, because this sweet little town is home to an establishment called Gerenser's Ice Cream.

For over 50 years, this shop has been serving up scoops of delicious and sometimes exotic flavors of ice cream. And it's truly a labor of love--as I learned from this website,

 

The story of the Exotic Ice Cream really is a love story. Stephen J. Gerenser who was teaching at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. would meet his sweetheart Julia Pelikan who lived and worked in Manhattan. New Hope was the half-way mark. Like many people that come here, the young couple were enchanted by the natural beauty and charm of the little story book town. They were married and made plans to settle in New Hope and raise a family.

One of their favorite places to meet was a little restaurant called the "Village Snack Shop." When they discovered it was for sale they decided to buy it and a new enterprise was born. Through the fabulous family recipes of Mrs. Gerenser the little restaurant thrived. The magic really began when Mr. Gerenser discovered a small ice cream machine sitting in one of the back rooms of their new establishment. Julia and Stephen were not satisfied with the commercial ice creams available, they wanted something better to compliment there wonderful meals. Stephen was raised in a dairy in New Brunswick New Jersey and he knew exactly what to do with that machine! He would make the best ice cream any one ever tasted.

 

Gerenser's Ice Cream, New Hope PA

As the story goes on, after a while the ice cream was clearly the most popular item on the menu, a popular snack for theatre-goers attending shows at the nearby Bucks County Playhouse. So after creating some fantastic ice cream concoctions in flavors like pumpkin, peach brandy, rum raisin, and more, they rebranded it as an ice cream shop. 

On my recent visit, I went for the CakeSpy-iest flavor they had: vanilla birthday cake ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. Yup.

The gorgeously creamy vanilla ice cream was studded with respectable but not overwhelmingly-sized cubes of yellow cake, and was pretty much so delicious that I all but licked the cup clean. While not necessary for the enjoyment of the ice cream, I firmly believe that we eat with our eyes first, and therefore the sprinkles were a Very Good Idea.

A friend got a chocolate shake, which had to be re-made because the first time the sweet but slightly confused employee only made a shake which filled about 2/3 of the cup (and when a shake is in the $5-6 range, it had better fill the cup!) and was none too chocolatey. But version two was far superior, and so we both left happy.

Gerenser's Ice Cream, New Hope PA

The ice cream shop feels fairly old timey but the prices are definitely geared toward today's gourmet - a small ice cream is $4.50, and the prices go up from there. But it is a tourist town, so while I found it expensive, I didn't find it totally unreasonable.

The array of flavors was pretty comprehensive, and they had the usual roster of flavors in addition to some more "exotics" - German Peach Brandy, Cotton Candy, Spanish Rum Raisin, and more.

If you find yourself in New Hope, please, do yourself a favor and go here.

Gerenser's Exotic Ice Cream, 22 S Main Street, New Hope; more info here.

Friday
Jun082012

A Tale of Two Ice Creameries in Litchfield County, Connecticut

Peaches n cream, ct

Not long ago, I went to Litchfield County, Connecticut. I had two extremely different ice cream experiences there--let me tell you about them.

First, I visited a place called Arethusa Dairy. It had been recommended by a dude who worked at a clothing store nearby. The clothing store was slightly uppity and lacked rainbow or sparkle clothing, so I did not buy anything. But I was thankful for the ice cream tip. 

So, a spy venture to the nearby dairy, where they make the ice cream using the cream from their own cows (which they may or may not sing to, depending on rumors I heard from people around town). The stark, well-designed interior worried me a little bit at first--I tend to trend toward more homespun type ice cream shoppes. If it's spelled "shoppe" that is a good thing to me. 

Coconut chip

The menu is small, but well-chosen: Vanilla, chocolate, Butter Pecan, Maple Walnut, Rum Raisin, Coconut Chip & Mint Chip. I went for the coconut chip. The ice cream was of high quality, but I'd like to warn you to go for a double scoop or a waffle cone, because my single scoop was just that: a single scoop, not packed in, atop a wafer cone. The creamy coconut chip ice cream pleased me greatly: I just wanted more of it.

Arethusa dairy

After my experience at Arethusa, I learned that the dairy is the hobby-lovechild of two Manolo Blahnik (yes, the shoe designer) executives. I don't know if this made the experience more or less interesting. As my friend Phil says, "Dairy is so hot right now". Maybe because it's gluten-free?

Peaches n cream, ct

Not far away, at Peaches n Cream ice creamery, I got fed. From the moment you enter this charming ice cream shop, you get the feeling that it's been there forever. They have a ton of flavors; after about 15 minutes of analyzing all of them, I decided on the cashew cream. But wait, there's more: I topped it with caramel sauce.

Wow, what a good decision my flavor combo was. The rich, nutty ice cream "scoop" was quite generous, and it was full of cashews, lightly salty against the sweet cream. The caramel sauce was somewhat crack-like, making me wonder if I could buy a cup of it just to drink by itself. 

Peaches N Cream also makes ice cream sandwiches to order, so you could, for instance, say "give me an ice cream sandwich filled with maple walnut ice cream"...and they will do it right before your eyes.

Peaches n cream, ct

It's probably pretty obvious that out of the two spots, I personally found Peaches n Cream to have a little more personality and soul. That having been said, both spots made a mean scoop of ice cream--if you're trying to decide between visiting one or the other, you've got to carefully consider what you're looking for in your ice cream experience. 

If you're looking for a farm-to-table experience complete with deliciously fresh ice cream, with sleek, well-designed surroundings, and are not afraid of a line, hit up hot-spot Arethusa. 

If you are more into kitsch and quantity and not-fancy but still very good ice cream, hit up Peaches n Cream.

Or, better yet, hit 'em both up and let me know what you think. Delicious research!

Arethusa Dairy, 822 Bantam Road, Bantam CT; online here.

Peaches n Cream, 632 Torrington Road, Litchfield CT

Tuesday
May152012

Leftover Pie Parfait for Serious Eats

Leftover pie. It's not a common occurrence—who leaves pie uneaten, after all? But it has happened, maybe even in your own fridge: that one final slice, left to linger, and maybe getting a little dry around the edges.

But what to do? Do you just choke down the past-its-prime slice? Do you douse it in whipped cream, hoping to make it taste better?

No. What you do is salvage that slice by making it a pretty Pie Parfait. By choosing an assortment of ice cream and toppings which complement your pie, you can bring new life to a dying dessert. In fact, slightly stale pie will work best as its texture will hold up better against the ice cream, and it will better absorb the flavors of the additions.

The composition of your parfait is your own adventure. The basic rule is that you want to choose an ice cream, a topping, and a sauce which act either in harmony or in unison with your pie flavor. For instance, you could compose a harmonious concoction by pairing a slightly tart apple pie with cinnamon ice cream, graham cracker crumbles, and caramel sauce; or, you could go matchy-matchy and pair a slice of grasshopper pie with mint chocolate chip ice cream, thin mints, and chocolate sauce.

Plus, it's fun. Who wouldn't like to trick out their pie and eat it in a pretty cup? It's the perfect way to eat your leftover dessert.

For the full scoop, visit Serious Eats!

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