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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
I regret not doing three things during this summer’s trip to San Francisco this summer:
- Bringing better shoes.
- Bringing home a few pounds of Blue Bottle Coffee
- Stopping at Bi-Rite Creamery.
There’s really no excuse for any of them. Worst of all was number three. We actually walked past it on our way to Tartine when we were in The Mission.
Bi-Rite is a homemade ice cream shop located on 18th Street. It’s all small-batch produced with locally-sourced ingredients. The flavors range from the usual — vanilla, cookies and cream, mint chip — to the less usual (for the lack of better words. Orange cardamom. Earl Grey. Honey Lavender. And, today’s Al Dente flavor, salted caramel. Continue reading Al Dente Frozen: Salted caramel ice cream ala Bi-Rite Creamery **FAIL**
The Dogfish Head Chicory Stout ice cream from last week was the most viewed post in Al Dente history, thanks to the brewery’s loyal fanbase. While I liked it, it was rather heavy and loaded with fat from the eggs and cream. This latter fact turned The Wife off, instead longing for an ice cream that “won’t kill me.”
One of the things I learned is that chocolate-covered pretzels are an underrated entity in the world of snack foods. They went well as a topping for the Chicory Stout ice cream, so it only stands to reason that they would be even better mixed into the frozen base. And, since I was jonesing for coffee ice cream anyhow, it seemed like a good combination. Continue reading Al Dente Frozen: Coffee pretzel ice cream