From my Ben & Jerry's cookbook showing me the ropes, back when I first got started making ice cream, to my travels tasting the best ice creams in the country, I am a man indebted to his influences. When I took to the kitchen this time around, I took inspiration from two sources: the toasted marshmallow milkshake from NYC's Stand 4 and the liquid chocolate mix-in from Graeter's in Cincinnati (and beyond). These two components (toasted and melted!) are typically missing from other s'mores ice creams. In mine they work together to create the perfect frozen representation of the quintessential campout fare:
A toasted marshmallow and graham ice cream base, featuring a melted chocolate mix-in that halfway hardens while the ice cream churns. Top it off with more melted chocolate (still warm when mixed in!) and graham cracker dust. Enjoy!
Brad's Perfect S'mores Ice Cream
12 - 16 campfire-sized marshmallow
4 - 6 oz. graham crackers, divided...depending on how much you want to use as topping
½ cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup milk
¾ - 1¼ cup dark chocolate chips...depending on how chocolatey you like it
4 half graham crackers, optional
(1) Place marshmallows on foil and toast in a toaster oven* until golden on top and melty. (A lower temperature for longer is better than a high temperature for shorter.)
(2) While still in the packet, crush the graham crackers in packet with a hammer. Not too hard, or you'll burst the packet open.
(3) Put toasted marshmallows and 2 - 4 oz. of graham crackers in a food processor. (Reserve the rest of the crushed graham crackers for topping later.) Blend well. It should resemble a Rice Krispies® treat made out of Golden Grahams™.
(4) Add cream, sugar and milk to the food processor and blend. Between rounds of blending, scrap the sticky marshmallow mixture off of the blades and sides.
(5) Chill mix in the fridge for at least 3 hours. Then...
(6) Start up your ice cream maker. Pour in the mixture. My ice cream maker takes about 15-20 minutes to whip in a good amount of air. (If there isn't enough air, any leftover ice cream will freeze too densely and be rock hard.)
(7) While the mix churns in the ice cream maker, melt the chocolate chips. (They only need to be soft, not fully liquid. Small portions in the microwave works fine.) Add at least half of the melted chocolate chips into the churning ice cream. Reserve the rest for topping.
(8) When the ice cream is done churning, scoop into bowls and top with the reserved melted chocolate chips and graham cracker dust. If you like, put half a graham cracker on the bottom of the bowl, or on top for extra crunch.
* Use a toaster oven because, like a broiler, it will actually toast the marshmallows. A regular oven would just melt them. A microwave will cause them to inflate, which doesn't help with the recipe, but is great fun when you have two marshmallow Peeps® and want to make them joust with toothpicks.
Friday, September 12, 2014
Sunday, August 31, 2014
|Worth braving the elements for.|
• • •
What happens for dessert-seekers in Minneapolis after the cold settles in, when the desire to be outdoors ranks about as high as the Minnesota Twins so far this season? For those months there is a dessert worthy of bundling up and trekking to: Sweet Science Ice Cream. You can't take the Skyway to get there, but all you need to do is walk a short block-and-a-half west of the Franklin Avenue Metro stop. When you see the sign that says “Verdant Tea,” you’ve arrived at your destination.
|Imagine yourself inside here...|
|...and snow out here.|
Sated (and having regained the feeling in your toes), you approach the counter, looking at the display of ice cream options, each flavor represented by a colored periodic table square and scientific abbreviation. The person at the counter tells you that though Sweet Science is a separate entity from Verdant Tea, all of the ice cream is made in-house in their backroom. Small batches—maybe ten pints each—and fresh ingredients. None of that corn syrup garbage. You weigh your options, knowing you’ll want two of the $3 minis they sell…and at least one pint you’ll buy later to take home. But all of the flavors sound good. How will you ever decide?
|When was this lesson in chemistry class?|
The Dark Chocolate Sorbet hits you like a gelato, packing in a concentrated flavor. It is neither creamy nor watery and tastes more like dark chocolate—actual dark chocolate—than ice cream does. Cold chocolate with mildly rough textural notes, like stone ground Mexican chocolate. Sweet rhapsody.
A few bites in, you switch to the Rhubarb Cinnamon Almond. It tastes all the more creamy following the sorbet. You recognize that the primary flavor is the cinnamon base, which creeps along the line of not quite spicy and not quite sweet. In bursts, the rhubarb jelly swirls punch out. The almond, it seems, functions primarily as a garnish, resting only on the surface layer, but is a welcome addition. It adds to the overall concept of a rhubarb crisp a la mode.
|Ignore the nose prints.|
Saturday, August 30, 2014
|View of the 10th Avenue Bridge from Northern Pacific Bridge Number 9.|
• • •
After taking in Emily Johnson/Catalyst's latest dance/performance/ installation/etc. piece, I made my way to one of the pedestrian bridges, crossing over the Mississippi River. Having been inspired by the piece, my soul felt blown up like a balloon--floating, yet fragile. And though I was a ways away from where I was staying, there was far too much electricity in the air for me to simply go to sleep. I needed to walk around, see the earth in motion, live life...eat ice cream.
|Très chic, oui?|
|Polka dot menu on a flat screen.|
|Modern building in|
an industrial neighborhood.
Friday, August 29, 2014
|View northwest from the Guthrie's Endless Bridge.|
• • •
During Saturdays on the riverfront, throngs of people make their way to the Mill City Farmers Market. Tucked between the Guthrie Theatre and the Mill City Museum (a stone's throw from Izzy's Ice Cream) market-goers can buy produce, eat delicious food and become frustrated by Salty Tart Bakery's elusive, always sold-out stuffed brioche. And while they're in the area, market-goers can also enjoy the riverfront by day, walking along the Mississippi, trekking across one of the two pedestrian bridges or taking in the view from above on the Guthrie's "Endless Bridge." But after enjoying the summer sun, a market-goer will need to cool down.
|Before the dripping mess.|
|Looking down at|
Mill City Farmer's Market.
Downtown in background.
Luckily, the market isn't the only place to find Sonny's. They have a brick-and-mortar location and, according to Cafe Crema's website (which is far more informative about locations than Sonny's seemingly dormant website), Sonny's ice cream cart can also be found at the Kingfield Farmer's Market and downtown at 8th & Nicollet Mall "on sunny days."
|View north from the Endless Bridge.|
|View looking northeast.|
Thursday, August 28, 2014
|The Franklin Ave. location of Sebastian Joe's.|
• • •
|Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.|
*Sebastian Joe’s ice cream is served at Sea Salt Eatery, a seasonal stand featured on numerous best-of-Minneapolis lists that has lines out the door for its fish tacos. Luckily, the ice cream line is separate on the opposite side.
Images from kayaking the chain of lakes connected to Lake Calhoun.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
|View of downtown from a Metro platform.|
This week I will celebrate Minneapolis as my new favorite ice cream destination with four entries:
Minneapolis: Ice Cream for the Parks
Minneapolis: Ice Cream from the Market
Minneapolis: Ice Cream Downtown
Minneapolis: Ice Cream Indoors
|Minneapolis Sculpture Park.|
|From the top of Minnehaha Falls.|
|The park around Minnehaha Falls.|
|Minneapolis Sculpture Park.|
where the falls lead to
the Mississippi River.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
|Does my Olaf drawing look bad? ...You hesitated.|
If you haven't seen Frozen yet, I wouldn't recommend reading this entry. No spoilers or anything, but you won't get the jokes. I would recommend instead that you stop what you're doing and watch the film. But before you do that please tell me how you get internet service while living under a rock?
• • •
I found out what frozen things do in the summer. He was a snowman named Olaf and I just ate him.
I realize that must make me seem as wicked as Adele Dazeem.
I almost felt guilty, but I let it go.
(I could keep going...and I will.)
|Like a snowman in a blender.|
One read of the flavor description and I thought Olaf might like a warm hug...from my mouth. While I have but a mild amity for carrot cake, I am jumping-out-of-my-clogs ecstatic at the mention of carrot cake ice cream. The cream cheese base was lighter than one expects and the carrot cake and walnuts did a lot more than provide texture, adding much to the flavor. Suffice to say I had far less restraint than Sven the reindeer. (Reindeers are better than people, after all.) A flavor this good should be celebrated near and far, from Chicago to Weaseltown. And I think Olaf, who made the greatest sacrifice for this flavor to exist, would agree that it is a flavor worth melting for.
If you have the chance to try this flavor from Bobtail, it is an opportunity to knock at...assuming you know how to knock.
Monday, June 23, 2014
|King of Pops Window and Headquarters.|
There aren’t many places I’ve heard of that are famous for popsicles, but one place, Atlanta’s King of Pops, has been on my radar for years now. It only seemed natural that before celebrating democracy at the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum—the fourth president I’ve checked off—I bow before a monarch of dessert.
But why, you might ask, do popsicles need a king when other desserts seem to have political neutrality? I’m no political science expert, but the explanation behind the coronation can be found in some simple math: Hammer + sickle = communism. Subtract the hammer (the voice of the working class), drop the k from “sickle” (via the type of healthcare only royalty or the 1% can afford), add patriarchy (patri-, father, pop) and there you have it: Monarchy = Popsicles. But I digress…
Within a short distance from one another are the two most important King of Pops locations, the Corner and the Window. My first stop was the Corner, the original location to feature a King of Pops cart. Waiting for me was a small cart, an umbrella, a smiling face and a seven-item menu. Having heard praise of their Sea Salt Chocolate, I dove in. This sweet-salty snack was the perfect chocolaty thing to smack my lips to on a warm day. Shame it wasn’t peanut-themed, eh, Jimmy?
|Menu at the Window.|
Tucked amongst brick and artful graffiti, the Window functions as the headquarters of King of Pops. Were it not for two things that indicate one has come to the right place—the eye-level signage and the chalkboard sign detailing the fifteen flavors available that day (out of over 100 rotating flavors!)—it would be easy to miss because the eponymous window peers out from a basement. Met with another smiling person happy to serve me what I was happy to eat, I hemmed and hawed for a while before settling on Blackberry Ginger Lemonade. Walking away eating the juicy frozen heir to the throne, I realized it didn’t matter what I’d chosen because anything would have been incredible. Well, almost anything. (I’m looking at you Strawberry Banana.)
|A pop veiled in mystery.|
I’m happy to report that Atlanta is no longer the only place to find King of Pops (see the pull down arrow at the top left on their website); indeed, they are snuffing out democracy in shops and farmer’s markets both near (just 90 minutes away in Athens, GA at Ike & Jane Cafe and Bakery) and far (as far west as Chattanooga and as far north as Richmond, VA). So now you have the option to enjoy warm weather the Atlanta way without being in Georgia! Enjoy!
For another way to cool off in Atlanta, check out Atlanta in a Cone!
For another way to cool off in Atlanta, check out Atlanta in a Cone!
Friday, June 20, 2014
|The name Less-elli's was never considered.|
|Great photo, Brad!|
Today, I’ll talk about Atlanta in a Cone. Later on, I’ll tell you about Atlanta on a Stick.
• • •
|Night photography is hard, y'all.|
|Salted Caramel in the middle.|
Next time: Atlanta on a Stick!
Saturday, May 31, 2014
|24 pints, 12 months, 1 man to eat them all.|
• • •
Without a doubt my favorite Bobtail creation over the past twelve months was Lemongrass Mint Ginger. Though almost a year has passed since I tasted this flavor, I remember its nuances well. The subtle way each of its three namesakes floated in and out, playing off one another perfectly. Though it was a rare occurrence when I found myself doubting that Lemongrass Mint Ginger was as good as I remembered it being, it was put to the test when Bobtail offered Lemongrass ice cream partway through the year. It was delicious, but it was a sad nostalgia, like when you drive down the main drag of your hometown and see some of the stores had closed. I missed the spice of the mint. I missed the carbonated-like effect of the crystallized ginger sprinkled throughout. I hate to drag a solo artist through the mud--Honestly, Lemongrass, you were great--but I hope the band gets back together someday because Lemongrass Mint Ginger was one of the best, a legend on a spoon.
Both of the runners-up are four-legged flavors. First, there was the oddly-named 'Goat?', which brilliantly added goat cheese to the classic pairing of blackberry and vanilla. Pretty and delicate, both in color and on the tongue, it was an inspired twist on an underrated favorite. Next, there was Sloth which, for reason that escape me now, was never actually given its own post. Sloth had a peanut butter base with marshmallow and butterscotch mixed in. I'm not usually one for peanut butter flavors, but this one did it for me.
As luck would have it, the story doesn't end here. Chris over at Bobtail has been a big fan of my blog posts and was kind enough to send me a new punchcard for another year of Bobtail ice cream! Year two begins in June.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
|Photo copyrights are not mine. Will take down upon request.|
L-to-R: "Wildman" Steve Brill, Murray's Cheese and Beyond Reason.
May is month twelve of my Bobtail Year, two pints of Bobtail Homemade Ice Cream a month for donating to Oracle Theatre.
• • •
When I walk into Bobtail, I see they have a flavor named after a certain bearded, Taylor Swift back-up singer with rectangular pupils, a horned barnyardigan whose fuzzy figure doesn't seem like appetizing inspiration for a dessert.
"Tell me about the Goat, please."
"You have to say it, 'Goat?' Haha!"
"I'd like to try the Goat? please."
My scoop-stress, who having been tasked to name the flavor assigned it its inquisitive moniker, dunked her arm into the freezer. The sample spoon dipped into the prettiest bucket of ice cream in all the freezer. Could it be?
"Tell me about the Goat?"
"Goat? is a vanilla goat cheese ice cream with blackberries and goat cheese crumbles."
It was! I'd known it on sight: Just as blackberries stain one's fingers, it turns an ice cream base a delicate white and purple. Blackberry ice cream is perhaps the finest of all fruit ice cream, its tartness blending with cream and vanilla into the sweetest three-part harmony known to man. Adding a new voice to the mix, goat cheese? My oral cavity ached for this trio-turned-quartet's appetizing acoustics.
I let the echo of the sample bite reverberate through my being. Having just tasted vanilla goat cheese ice cream with blackberries and goat cheese crumble, it was clear that a change had taken place inside me. Part of me knew that nothing would ever be the--
"Well?" she asked. Clearly, I had lingered for longer than is normal.
"Well, I know I love it. The thing I'm wondering is how many pints I should get."
And I wish I'd gotten more.
Anyone who knows me and Bobtail will know this isn't Bobtail's first dance with goat cheese ice cream. This time around, vanilla is the principle flavor, one that is softened by the goat cheese and made tart by the blackberries. The goat cheese flavor isn't really in the foreground until one gets a bite with the goat cheese crumble mix-in, temporarily overtaking the silky vanilla-blackberry. The goat cheese crumbles are not overused, sneaking in every two or three bites. While the blackberry mix-in is less present than the goat cheese crumbles--just a few in my pint--their effect on the flavor as a whole is undeniable.
Without question, this was one of the best flavors of my Bobtail Year...but was it the best? This requires some thought. Next time: Bobtail Year in Review!
Friday, May 9, 2014
|I know, Open Hands. I too wish there was more.|
• • •
"Taste it. I think you'll find it's a bit of a revelation."
I took the sample spoon of Lime-Basil Sorbetto from the friendly poet behind the counter. Indeed, the flavor seemed to reveal new taste buds and revive dormant ones, as if my mouth had been transformed from a studio apartment into a high-ceilinged cathedral. I wanted more. I needed more. He continued, "It's like a mojito with basil instead of mint." I don't want to drink it, I thought. I want to eat it by the shovel-full.
|Italian 101: The "ce" in dolcetti is|
pronounced "cheh", like "Chet."
In addition to offering a fantastic product that mixed the contemporary with the classic, the place also featured a mishmash of contemporary decor. I wasn't sure whether it was a sleek café lovingly adorned with hipster flair or the other way around. My favorite parts were the showcase tables full of trinkets and an enormous metal bird's nest chandelier. This would be a great place to sit for an evening, playing Bananagrams with friends between bowls of gelato.
They also offered little sweets--dolcetti--like pastries and imported chocolate, all of which made me wish my stomach joined my mouth in suddenly feeling bigger. Much bigger. One shovel-full of Lime-Basil Sorbetto was not enough.
|After I tried Jalapeño Chocolate, I was offered a palate cleanser.|
Just another reason to love Dolcetti Gelato.
Dolcetti Gelato was easily the stand-out among frozen desserts downtown. I also tried the old fashioned Leatherby's Family Creamery and the island-themed Tropical Dreams Hawaiian Creamery. For dinner in Salt Lake City, I'd point you to Cucina Toscana where I received truly memorable service to go with an exquisite special: Halibut Umido, halibut in tomato-basil sauce with scallops, shrimp, squid and clams. Be warned, though: when SLC restaurants advertise that they closes at 10, it means the kitchen closes at 9. Take note.