Category Archives: Frozen

Al Dente Frozen: Thin Mint Ice Cream

2014-04-02 at 17-00-56

Dirty secret: I don’t like Thin Mint cookies.

Yeah, I don’t know why. I’m not a big mint person to begin with, though I like Samoas but really don’t like coconut. When it is time to buy Girl Scout Cookies each year (or twice a year depending on what troop sells them when), I order a box of them for The Wife because, well, she does like them. (Side Note: I really like the cranberry-white fudge cookies this year.)

(Second Side Note: For all of the propaganda about how selling cookies is an educational experience for girls, which of course is bullshit because you mostly buy them from parents of girls, I think there ought to be a lesson on economies of scale, and supply and demand. This year’s order, which I placed through the mother of a child in The Kid’s preschool, was $4 a box and probably had 1/3 of the cookies as they did 10 years ago.)

(Third Side Note: Have you ever met the mother responsible for being the troop’s “Cookie Mom?” Go ahead and ask them what it’s like to be Cookie Mom and see what the reaction is. It’s okay, I’ll wait and then drive you to urgent care because they are so beaten and damaged after the experience that they may strike you.) Continue reading Al Dente Frozen: Thin Mint Ice Cream


Al Dente Frozen: Nutella and Hazelnut Ice Cream

2014-03-15 at 11-22-58

Combining a hazelnut-chocolate spread with hazelnuts seems a little redundant. It isn’t.

Have you ever had a hazelnut? I don’t mean “Have you ever scooped Nutella straight from the jar and jammed it in your mauw?”, or “Have you ever ordered hazelnut coffee?”. I mean: “Have you ever consumed a hazelnut?” They don’t taste like anything. They tasted like a nut. No, seriously. Continue reading Al Dente Frozen: Nutella and Hazelnut Ice Cream

Al Dente Frozen: Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

2014-03-08 at 12-54-29

I posed the following question to The Wife: “What kind of ice cream do you want me to make? I could do peanut butter again.” Her answer was peanut butter cup, but the way she said it was more like a six-year-old being offered the choice of candy or cake for dinner.

When it became clear that I was making peanut butter ice cream again, I decided we were in need of an upgrade. The last batch of ice cream was made with Target or Wegmans (I can’t remember) store-brand reduced-fat creamy peanut butter. This time around, I wanted something that was not so processed or chemically-dulled; something with a strong peanut flavor; something more…real. So, Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter it was.  Continue reading Al Dente Frozen: Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

Al Dente Frozen: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

2014-03-02 at 14-33-34

The Kid and I were making good time at Wegmans on Sunday when I was getting near frozen foods. I knew we were low on ice cream, but couldn’t figure out what I wanted next. What I really wanted was Byrne Dairy ice cream, a kick that I have been on for about three weeks now. As I was about to make the turn down the first frozen foods aisle, it occurred to me that I had an ice cream maker at home that has been dormant for a few weeks. I backtracked, grabbing a pint of heavy cream and mini chocolate chips. I didn’t know what flavor was on tap, but chocolate chips make everything better.

I was prowling around the pantry looking for what we had on hand — tuna, chicken broth, cocoa powder, black beans — and saw the answer: peanut butter. You really can’t go wrong there. Peanut butter cups and Butterfingers make for nice mix-ins, but mixing the peanut butter made for a thick but smooth ice cream.

And, like I said before, chocolate chips make everything better.

Continue reading Al Dente Frozen: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Al Dente Frozen: Banana Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

2014-02-01 at 13-06-15


I was originally going to make lime-basil ice cream because, well, why not? By the time I got to Wegmans to procure ingredients, the fascination with herb ice cream had worn off. I’m not entirely sure why, but I decided that I wanted sweet.

During my produce department meander, I found myself in front of the banana shelf. The stack of ripe and browning bananas were calling out for me. So, I answered.

Bananas and ice cream are not exclusive to banana split sundaes. (Side note: Invented by David Stricker in Latrobe, Pa., the original banana split was topped with pineapple. My question is why?) While my go-to at the ice cream stand was a cherry milkshake, I more often than not order a banana and chocolate ice cream shake. Why it hasn’t been adopted by the major ice cream makers as an ingredient is beyond me. It’s cheap, plentiful and easy to process. Continue reading Al Dente Frozen: Banana Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

Al Dente Frozen: Cranberry and Ginger Snap Ice Cream

2013-11-27 at 17-02-26

For Thanksgiving dessert this year, I thought I would do an ice cream that went with the apple, pumpkin and gluten-free peanut butter pies that were on tap. While shopping with The Sister, I suggested a straight vanilla bean option. I was scolded, in the middle of the produce section, for being boring.

“Why not something festive like…cranberry?”

The thought of cranberry ice cream had crossed my mind, but I figured it would be roundly panned by the crowd. I said as much, to which The Sister told me to mix it with something. “Do cranberry and orange, or cranberry and ginger, or cranberry and ginger snaps.” The first two didn’t really sound appealing, but the last was something I could do gluten free, in case The Kid wanted some.

Continue reading Al Dente Frozen: Cranberry and Ginger Snap Ice Cream

Al Dente Frozen: Blueberry Ice Cream

The Kid responded “Yes” when I asked if she wanted me to make her ice cream last weekend. When I asked what kind, she said purple. Pink ice cream, which was the request from the previous week, wound up being strawberry ice cream. Easy enough. But, purple stumped me.

2013-11-16 at 17-12-13


Apparently, I was sleep deprived or suffering from post-concussion syndrome because it took me a good 10 minutes to figure out that I could make purple ice cream with blueberries.

After about a year of making ice cream with my little Cuisinart-brand maker, I’ve found that frozen fruit works much better than fresh when making ice cream. The partially-defrosted fruit is sturdier when whisking by hand or churning in the machine, and the fruit is more consistent throughout the year than a pint of fresh berries.

In the end, the ice cream was pretty good and The Kid was more interested in the whipped cream than the purple ice cream.  Continue reading Al Dente Frozen: Blueberry Ice Cream

Figo! (And The First Al Dente Contest)

IMG_5135Some time ago, I may or may not have accused the makers of Figo! Gelato of being incompetent. After having a buy one, get one free coupon rejected at Wegmans, I may have been a little disparaging. For purposes of accuracy, I wrote:

Is it that Figo! has a lousy marketing team running its promotions? Seems so. 

It turns out that Figo! is okay and that Wegmans is inconsistent in applying its own coupon policies. Well, maybe not every store, but definitely the store I shop at.

As a reminder, my coupon confused the cashier, who ended up calling over the person with the key. This person, who is apparently the arbiter of coupon validity, bounced my coupon because they weren’t going to be reimbursed. (Oh, that coupon is now available again!)

(Side Note: Al Dente was interested in Figo! because of the BOGO coupon and the fact that all of its flavors are gluten free.)

A few days after the post, I received a lovely email from a representative of Figo! She apologized for the inconvenience, explained that the Coupon Magistrate was misinformed, and offered to right the wrong by sending me coupons for free gelato.

IMG_5135Free gelato? It wasn’t the goal, but I’ll take this unintended consequence and eat it.

It turns out Figo! makes quite a nice gelato. Let’s be clear…it’s about as good as it gets for packaged gelato and doesn’t come within five blocks of the stuff you get around here at Geddes Bakery or Biscotti. But, it is much better than Ciao Bella.

IMG_5133In the spirit of sharing, I’m going to give away coupons for free pints of Figo! All you have to do is post your favorite flavor and maker of gelato in the comments below. I’ll let The Kid pick one at random and they will win. And, here’s a bonus, if you make a donation to my Walk To End Alzheimer’s team, I will send you a second coupon. Yes, I’m not beneath buying your love.

So, post away and bust open your piggy banks. We’ll close the contest at 11:41 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, October 5. Remember, you can double your caloric intake by donating to Walk To End Alzheimer’s in the name of Jared Paventi. If you already have made a donation, just make the post in the comments section below and you will be in.