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Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Explosion

27 Aug

“There’s nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with Chocolate.” ~ Linda Grayson, The Pickwick Papers 

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Explosion!

I owe this recipe to a good friend. Here’s the story:

I recently walked into my apartment building, arms filled with groceries, when the doorman stopped me to let me know that I had a package at the front desk.

Uch, not this again – another package that doesn’t belong to me.

You see, last week we received two mysterious packages that were not for us. One was small and had The Husband’s name on it, so we opened it. Turns out it was for The Brother-In-Law. Womp Womp.

The second one was rather large and looked quite appealing from the outside… but again, not for us. Grr. (If this handsome looking package belongs to you, let me know, and you should come and claim it ASAP!).

Save me a bite!

So, you can imagine that after these two huge let downs, I was afraid to get my hopes up.  I informed the doorman that I wasn’t expecting anything and was about to carry my groceries into the elevator when I decided that maybe, just maybe, this surprise was actually for me…

Guess what? It was! (Insert victory music here!) You all know how much I love sweets. I think I’ve made that very clear. But, as much as I love sweets and treats, I also love presents. Just ask The Husband, he’ll tell you!

Well, I picked up this amazing surprise present at the front desk, and you know what it was? The Serendipity Sundaes book, which features tons of amazing ice cream constructions and frozen concoctions. Honestly, it’s the best. I opened the book to find a cute little note from my dear friend which read I saw this and thought of you. Hope it helps provide a little inspiration for 365scoops.

You can bet your little bippy that this book provided me with some great inspiration. This recipe is a testament to how awesome this book is, but more importantly, a testament to how super duper awesome my friend is. I’m the luckiest girl in the world!

So, grab a spoon and dig in!

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Chocolate Peanut Butter Chips (A.K.A. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Explosion)

From Serendipity Sundaes

Look at that beautiful chocolate.

Ingredients (Ice Cream)

2 cups whole milk

2 cups half-and-half

3 large egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

9 ounces best-quality bitter sweet chocolate (I used Scharffen Berger), chopped

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Yes. I melted the chocolate in a personalized ice cream bowl. Why not? An awesome gift from my girlfriends.

Ingredients (Chocolate Peanut Butter Chips)

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons peanut butter

Method

First make the chocolate peanut butter chips. Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe container and melt on high for 30 seconds, remove, stir, and repeat until the chips are completely melted. This should take 1 minute – 1.5 minutes depending on the strength of your microwave. Stir in the peanut butter.

Chocolate peanut butter mixture.

Place a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet. With a spatula, spread the melted chocolate peanut butter to the size of a 9×12 inch rectangle. Place the tray into a refrigerator until the chocolate hardens. When the mixture is firm, break into chunks and refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Now it’s time to make the ice cream base. Combine milk and cream in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat until warm over low heat.

Chocolate peanut butter chips on their way to being melted

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and the sugar in a heat-safe bowl (you are tempering eggs!)

When the milk mixture is warm, add the chopped chocolate. Heat, stirring constantly until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is beginning to simmer. Set aside.

Chocolate milk mixture melting

Add one-fourth of the warm chocolate mix to the yolk mixture and whisk until blended. Whisk the egg yolk mixture into the remaining milk mixture and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 170 degrees F. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour the batter into a clean heat-safe bowl and cool to room temperature. Whisk the vanilla extract into the batter, cover, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Tempering the egg mixture

Remove from the refrigerator and pour out one cup of the prepared batter and whisk in 1/2 cup of peanut butter until smooth. Whisk this small mixture into remaining batter and freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Approximately 5 minutes before the mixture is done churning, slowly pour in the peanut butter chocolate chips so that they mix thoroughly into the ice cream.

Adding the home-made chocolate peanut butter chips

Scoop the mixture into a freezer-safe container and enjoy. Warning, you might eat  this ice cream sttraight from the machine, it’s that good!

Voila! Look at those chips. Dang that was good!

The Verdict: Dark chocolate peanut butter explosion! Definitely an apropos name for this special treat.  This ice cream was really rich, and really creamy. The bittersweet chocolate gave a slightly bitter flavor (duh) , but that was countered beautifully by the semi-sweet chocolate peanut butter chips. This ice cream hardened slightly more than usual so just leave it out for 5-10 minutes before scooping. It’s really yummy. Really, really yummy. It even made a guest appearance into an ice cream sandwich so stay tuned for more!



Indego Africa’s Blueberry Crumble Ice Cream Sundae

22 Aug

365 Scoops: “If I were to make a flavor for Indego Africa, what would it be?” 

Indego Africa: “Good question…what flavor would represent empowerment?” 

Now that's an "empowerment" sundae

When I think of Indego Africa, I think of innovation and empowerment.

When I think of Indego Africa, I also think of transparency and good governance, creativity and sustainability, and most importantly unparalleled impact.

In sum, Indego Africa is an innovative non-profit social enterprise – built on core values of transparency and good governance – that attacks systemic poverty by delivering access to export markets and job skills to African women. Indego Africa’s business model is simple yet powerful.

I’ve been involved with Indego Africa for the past 2 1/2 years, and for those of you who know me, you understand that this organization marries some of my deepest passions for Africa – where I have been traveling for the past 7 years – and women’s empowerment – a crucial part of my graduate and professional work. This organization really is the bee’s knees. Trust me.

Nicole Miller and Indego Africa partner to produce these vibrant, fair trade bangels

But, just in case you need more proof get a load of this…Indego Africa has been recognized by the likes of Harvard Business School, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Program, and iconic fashion designer Nicole Miller. Its list of corporate and nonprofit partners is wildly impressive and includes Generation Rwanda, Vision Spring, Amazon, Anthropologie and many more. Most notably, however, Indego Africa won the 2010 AfriPro Charity of the Year, and the Fair Trade Federation Award for “Most Positive Change in a Producer Community” and has been recognized because “their innovative business and education model creates a broad, deep, and sustainable impact on the artisans’ lives.”

In short (ok, maybe that was not short, but I have a lot to say about this great organization!) if you don’t already support Indego Africa then hurry and join. All the cool kids are doing it.

One last thing…We’re having an awesome fundraiser in NYC on Wednesday August, 24 at Libation. Buy your ticket, come hang out with me (if that’s not an enticing offer, than I don’t know what is!) and have fun all while supporting a good cause.

Do it. You know you want to!

Blueberries, sugar and lemon marinading

Blueberry Crumble Ice Cream Sundae (A.K.A. Empowerment Sundae)*

Inspired by Serendipity Sundaes and Ciao Bella

*This empowerment sundae is purple to represent Indego Africa’s logo color. Blueberries also happen to be a very powerful fruit, which is fitting for this empowering organization.

Ingredients

Ice Cream:

3 cups blueberries

1/4 cup sugar

2 tbs fresh lemon juice

2 cups half-and-half

Beautiful blueberry sauce

1 cup whole milk

2 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

Crumble:

5tbs butter

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats

Milk mixture and blueberry sauce right before blending

Method

To make the blueberry ice cream pour 3 cups of blueberries into a pot, add 1/4 cup of sugar and 2tbs of lemon juice. Toss to coat thoroughly and let sit for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, pour the 2 cups half-and-half and 1 cup milk into another pot and heat until bubbles form around the sides (do not boil).

While the milk mixture is warming, whisk together the 2 egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar in a large, heat proof bowl. Because there are fewer egg yolks than usual (most of my recipes call for 3-4 yolks) this mixture will get extra thick when whisking. Once the milk mixture is hot, temper the eggs by slowly pouring the milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking the entire time. Once fully incorporated, pour back into the pot and heat slowly until the mixture reaches 170 degrees, F – this should take approximately 10 minutes. Let the mixture cool entirely before refrigerating for 2 hours or overnight.

Making the crumble topping

At this point, the blueberries will have marinaded sufficiently and are ready to cook. Heat the blueberry mixture on medium heat for approximately 10 minutes until the mixture thickens and some of the blueberries burst. Stir occasionally and once ready, remove from the stove to cool completely before refrigerating.

Anything with butter is delicious and this is no exception

While you’re waiting for the blueberry and milk mixtures to cool completely, make the crumble topping. In a medium sized mixing bowl mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and oats and until well-blended. Chop the butter into small pieces and thoroughly knead into the flour mixture. Eventually when the ingredients are mixed, you’ll get a big ball of buttery-goodness. Spread evenly into a 9″ pie pan and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. I cooked mine for 11 minutes and it was well-browned and toasted.

Yum! Crumble topping straight out of the oven

Once the blueberry and milk mixture are well-chilled,  pour half of the milk mixture into a blender with the blueberry mixture. Whisk in the remaining milk base and pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker. Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions or approximately 20 minutes. Once ready, scoop into a freezer-safe container and store for later use.

Yes. This was outrageous.

And now, the final creation…Blueberry Crumble Ice Cream Sundae! To assemble, place two generous scoops of blueberry ice cream in a sundae dish. Pour 1/4 cup crumble on top or layer with ice cream and crumble to create a parfait, drizzle a few fresh blueberries on top and enjoy! Warning: this is outstanding. You may not actually be able to sit down and enjoy it because it will be gone by the time you reach the table!

The Verdict: Unequivocally one of the best flavors yet! The marriage between sweet, creamy blueberry ice cream, and crunchy crumble is simply divine! I’m really a fan of deconstructed desserts so it should come as no surprise that this blueberry crumble ice cream sundae made the top of my charts. More importantly, however, you should feel really good eating this flavor – after all, it supports Indego Africa, which by now should be synonymous with women’s empowerment in Rwanda and long-term solutions to systemic poverty.

Strawberry Basil Gelato

29 Jul

“All the things I like to do, I like to do more with ice cream.”  ~Michael Ian Black

Strawberry Basil Gelato

Hold onto your seats ladies and gentlemen…This is a first.

That’s right. This is the first flavor ever created by The Husband.

Now, let’s not get confused. The Husband took no part in actually making this gelato. Well, that’s a small lie. He went out and bought the lemon, but that’s it. Oh, and he ate the gelato too, but that doesn’t count.

Up close and personal...

This is also a first for me because given my past track record with egg-based ice creams, I’m proud to report that this one went off without a hitch. Heck, I may go so far as to say that “technically” this is one of my best creations yet!

And, this is also a last. It’s the last post during National Ice Cream Month, and frankly, I’m shedding a tear just thinking about it…

Anyhow, a little background of how this flavor came to be. The Husband has a real affinity for basil, so much so that he’s been eating the leaves for breakfast. I kid you not. In fact, he even claims to “brush his teeth” with basil. Don’t get me wrong, and don’t get me started on how strange that is…

I love basil, give it to me on fresh pasta and pizza, and I’m sold. But, please don’t give it to me before noon, thankyouverymuch. Apparently The Husband holds by a different standard because he just can’t get enough of it! We recently purchased a little basil plant to feed his habit. Everything was going smoothly until one night I went to make pizza and noticed that the plant was totally depleted. Naturally I confronted The Husband who remarked sheepishly, “what, I wasn’t supposed to eat the whole thing?”. Ug. No.

Fast forward a few weeks and we’ve replenished our basil collection. I was putting the finishing touches on the New York Cheesecake Ice Cream Pie when boom. It hit him. Strawberry Basil Gelato.

I personally love gelato, but find it’s slightly harder to make it at home because gelato, unlike ice cream, has a lower fat content due to the primary use of whole milk. As a result home-made gelato doesn’t always keep as well in a home freezer. Additionally, it’s often made with eggs, and I personally get rather temperamental when tempering eggs. But, I gave it the old college try because strawberry basil gelato seemed like a good idea.

Lemons for the strawberry base

I came home to make this flavor after an excruciating high interval training workout.  Again, don’t get confused and think that I actually work out like this regularly. The Husband gave me a free one week gym membership so I decided to milk it for all it’s worth. Yeah, well I’ve never sweat that much in my life. And I’m uber sore today too. Thanks a lot…

Anyhow, making egg-based gelato requires an enormous amount of whisking, and after a long upper body workout, I wasn’t thrilled to be doing that again. But, for the love of gelato, I did. And I’m glad I did, because it helped me get over my fear of tempering eggs, and contributed to this delicious flavor. So, without further ado…

Strawberry Basil Gelato

Gelato adapted from Ciao Bella; Flavor created by The Husband

Hull and slice, hull and slice...

Ingredients

1 cup half-and-half

2 cups whole milk

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup of sugar (for gelato base)

1 pound box of strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced

1/4 cup of sugar (for strawberry swirl)

2 tbs fresh lemon juice

7 large basil leaves

candy thermometer*

*You don’t technically need one, but trust me when I say that it will make your life much easier when tempering and heating the egg mixture

Method

Prepping the yolks before tempering... slowly adding the sugar until the yolks are thick and pale yellow

Day 1 – To make the custard base pour the milk and half-and-half into a medium pot. Heat slowly, and stir occasionally so that a skin does not form on the milk. Heat until small bubbles form on the sides, but do not boil.

In the meantime, whisk the four egg yolks together in a large heat-proof bowl until smooth. Gradually add in the 1/2 cup of sugar until the yolk mixture is very thick and a pale yellow color. Here’s where you’ll begin tempering the eggs. Slowly add the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk continuously. Once you’ve combined the eggs and the milk, pour back into the medium pot and slowly heat the mixture until it reaches 185 degrees F. Trust me here, you’ll want to use a thermometer. If you overcook the egg mixture, it will scramble, your whole kitchen (or apartment if you live in NYC) will smell like eggs, and the mixture will be ruined.

The eggs have been tempered! Success!

With the heat on low, it will take at least 15 minutes to bring your mixture to 185 degrees. Stir occasionally until the mixture reaches the desired temperature and thickness. Once ready, pour over a fine mesh strainer so that you catch all the little mini pieces of “scrambled egg” that may have formed. Let the mixture cool entirely before refrigerating overnight.

To make the strawberry mixture hull and thinly slice 1lb of strawberries. Put them into a small pot on the stove, cover with 1/4 cup of sugar and 2 tbs of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Let them sit (with the heat off) and marinade for 15 minutes. Then turn the heat on low and let the mixture cook until the strawberries are mushy and a syrup begins to form, approximately 10 minutes. Let the mixture cool entirely before refrigerating overnight.

Day 2 – To actually make the gelato pour 3/4 of the strawberry mixture in the blender with the gelato base and 5 basil leaves. Puree until smooth. Taste the mixture and adjust the basil flavor to your liking. I added 7 leaves and found that was the perfect “earthy” flavor, but yet the basil flavor was not overpowering.

Churning...right after adding the strawberry swirl

Pour the mixture into the base of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Approximately 5 minutes before the mixture is ready (for me this was after 13-15 minutes) add in the remaining 1/4 of the strawberry mixture. Scoop the gelato into a freezer safe container, garnish with a basil leaf and store in the freezer for 2 hours before serving.

Most creative flavor...Strawberry Basil Gelato!

The Verdict: I was so surprised and pleased by these flavor notes. First, I succeeded in tempering the eggs, and therefore the texture was so creamy and smooth. Second, the basil to strawberry ratio was spot on. When you take a bite of this gelato, the first flavor you’ll taste is basil. Then the strawberries hit you and together it’s a perfectly earthy combination. It’s hard to describe, so just trust me on this one.

And the award for most creative idea goes to…drum roll please…The Husband!

Great Eggspectations

4 May

“I’m frightened of eggs, worse than frightened, they revolt me.”

~Alfred Hitchcock 

Ok. I like eggs. I really do. Give me a spinach and feta fritata and I’m a happy girl. Eggs Benedict –  even better.

That Alfred Hitchcock is a nut. Not sure why he’s so scared of eggs. But if he were to edit the quote slightly, I actually might agree with him:

“I am frightened of tempering eggs.” That’s it!

The first time I tried tempering eggs I had no idea what to expect. If you had seen me in the kitchen you may have remarked “Is this a joke?” or “Does this woman have a clue what she’s doing?”

To answer your questions: NO – I had no freaking idea what I was doing. It was just a shot in the dark, and lucky for me, it worked!

Truth be told, I really would have loved it if someone had given me advice on tempering eggs  before  I attempted that feat.

As you all know, this is a “live blog” in other words, I blog as I make the ice cream. If I screw up or the flavor is gross, well, so be it! You’re going to have to read about it, and even worse, I’m going to have to eat it. Lucky for me, there’s only been one tragedy at 365 scoops. Hopefully not too many more will come my way! Being that this is, however, a live blog, I didn’t do much research on tempering eggs – I really just dove in head first and hoped for the best. Perhaps that’s my mantra in life!

Whisking the egg yolks

Here are some things I wished I had known about tempering eggs before my first try.  I hope they’re helpful to you.

  1. Buy a thermometer. This whole guessing game is totally ludicrous. Though it worked for me, I probably slightly over cooked my eggs, or worse, they could be slightly raw,  giving everyone who ate this ice cream salmonella. Sorry if that was you…
  2. Whisk the heck out of the egg yolks. And just when you think you’ve whisked enough, whisk some more. The creamier and frothier the better.
  3. Essentially, tempering eggs is slowly raising the temperature of your egg yolks up to the temperature of a hot liquid you have on the stove. This serves the purpose of preventing the yolks from turning into scrambled eggs if you simply dump them in.
  4. To quote The St. Louis friend in her recent post, make sure to temper the eggs nice and slowly or else “they will throw a temper tantrum” and scramble. I love this!
  5. This video might be of some use to you all. I think it’s helpful..http://www.bhg.com/videos/m/32071602/tempering-eggs.htm
This whole post probably begs the question: why eggs in ice cream anyways?

To be frank, I often wonder the same thing myself. And to be even more frank (is this confessional or something?) I prefer my ice cream without eggs!
There. I said it.
But, there are some of you who really do like the added creaminess that egg yolks undoubtedly provide, so that’s why I am committed to trying recipes with eggs.
David Lebovitz gives an excellent explanation of the difference ice cream made with and without egg yolks. I feel compelled to share it with you so that you are fully informed readers.
There are two basic types of ice cream: French-style which is a cooked custard made with egg yolks, and Philadelphia-style which is made with cream or milk, but no eggs.  French-style ice creams tend to be smoother and silkier due to the emulsifying power of the egg yolks, which get cooked on the stove top (hello tempering!). Philadelphia -style ice creams can be simply mixed or pureed, thoroughly cooled, and then churned (i.e. much simpler!). Because Philadelphia-style ice creams don’t have egg yolks they tend to be a little firmer, freeze harder, and have a somewhat chewier texture (note: I have no idea what David is talking about here!). The advantage, of course, is that Philadelphia-style ice creams have no egg yolks so they’re a little lighter tasting and easier to make.
So now you can choose for yourself. Philadelphia or France, that is the question… ponder it and stay tuned for the next recipe…

Dulce de Leche Gelato

27 Apr

Not to like ice cream is to show oneself uninterested in foods.

~ Joseph Epstein

All the swirly scoops of Dulce de Leche Gelato

Honestly, there are no words.

In a recent post about my love affair with dulce de leche I described a rather embarrassing moment in my lifetime, and an all-time low in the world of gluttony.

For some odd reason, I find myself there again.

To set the record straight for any of you who may be confused, I love chocolate and caramel. Really – it’s the perfect marriage between creamy, chewy, milky and just thinking about it I am salivating. Writing this post is really hard because I just want to be eating chocolate caramel right now. Ugh.

Back to the point. When The Husband and I were recently in Argentina we made it a point to eat at all the famous ice cream places. There were Freddo and Persico (two of the big chains) and a much lesser known but wildly superior Chungo. We discovered this little known gem on our second to last night in Buenos Aires (how we waited that long to try that place is something I will never understand) and it was on that very momentous night that I had the most perfect dulce de leche gelato EVER. So much so that we went back the next day to purchase a 1/2 kilo “to go” so that we could eat it in the taxi on the way to the airport (a poorly thought out idea, considering I would be sitting on an airplane for 11 hours with nothing but gobs of gelato in my belly!).

When I started this blog I decided that dulce de leche ice cream or gelato would have to be one of my first few posts.

The rationale: I am going through withdrawal.

I also promised myself  not repeat recipes throughout the course of this blog because there are so many incredible ice cream combinations to be had, but I will most certainly be making a variety of dulce de leche products.

The rationale: I cannot live without it.

I realize that in re-reading this blog post I sound a little nutty, but it’s the truth. I love dulce de leche.

So, as you saw in my post last week, I made the dulce de leche, the base for this recipe. You will see how it is incorporated below.

Delicious.

Dulce de Leche Gelato

From Ciao Bella Cookbook

Ingredients

2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

4 large egg yolks

2/3 cup sugar

1 cup dulce de leche (store-bought or you can make your own very easily here)

Method

In a heavy saucepan, combine the milk and the cream. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring or whisking occasionally so a skin doesn’t form, until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges. If you are using a thermometer the mixture should reach a temperature of 170 degrees F.

Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Gradually whisk in the sugar until it is well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. A word to the wise about this – you really need to whisk a lot, not only so that the sugar dissolves, but also because you really want to whip the yolks to make them slightly frothy and creamy.

Temper the egg yolks by very slowly pouring the hot milk mixture while whisking continuously. You need to pour the milk mixture little by little so that it does not heat the egg yolks too quickly and create scrambled eggs. NO ONE wants scrambled eggs gelato!

Return the custard to the saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon or spatula (and you can run your finger across the spoon and it leaves a clean path where your finger was). If using a thermometer the custard should reach a temperature of 185 degrees F. Whatever you do, do not bring this to a boil.

Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring every 5 minutes or so. It’s important to strain the mixture because inevitably a few clumps of egg will be at the bottom, and you don’t want clumpy, egg gelato!

To cool the custard quickly, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water and placing the bowl with the custard in it; stir the custard until cooled. Once it’s completely cooled, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least four hours or overnight (I recommend overnight!).

Churning...

Here comes the dulce part!

Once the mixture is totally cooled, place half of the mixture in a blender and add 1/2 cup of the dulce de leche. Blend until smooth, then whisk into the remaining base.

Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions (for me it was approximately 25 minutes).

In a small saucepan over low heat, gently warm the remaining 1/2 cup dulce de leche. Just after churning the custard, transfer a few scoops of the gelato into the container you’re freezing it in, and drizzle a few tablespoons of the dulce de leche over it.

Dulce de leche drizzled in the ice cream container

Repeat layering with the remaining gelato and dulce de leche, then freeze for at least 2 hours before serving. (The gelato layering and drizzling is not an exact science, you cannot mess this up, so don’t worry. The goal is to make sure you swirl dulce de leche into the gelato. Each bite will be slightly different, and that’s OK!)

When I made this amazing treat, the gelato was so extremely soft  and creamy that it needed to freeze over night.

The Verdict: YUMMERS!

I should note here that what made this treat truly extra special was the drizzle of chocolate ganache on top.

Like I said, something about caramel and chocolate really is to die for, and I could not resist adding that ganache to this ice cream. It was heavenly together.

I strongly recommend that you do the same!

Screme!

24 Apr

What’s your favorite flavor? ~ Me

Who do you love more, your mom or your dad? How can I answer that? ~ Screme Gelato Bar Owner

5,000 Flavors!

It’s been three days in a row that I’ve eaten at Screme Gelato Bar. (But who’s counting?)

I remember when I was a little kid my mom used to tell me that too much of a good thing was bad. Sure, that may be the case for silly childhood obsessions but it’s certainly not the case for gelato, ice cream, sorbet…you get the point!

As many of you know, I need my daily fix of sweets. Some people say they need something sweet after dinner to round out the meal.

That is not me.

I need something sweet each day to live. Seriously, I cannot remember a day in my life in which I passed up a dessert, refused something sweet, or went without ice cream or cake.  For many of you this may sound like a familiar story, and you’re sitting there reading this blog post shaking your head and thinking “Yes!  I am not alone!”

Look no further. You have found your partner in crime:  Screme Gelato Bar

My delicious passion fruit sorbet!

Today I had a lovely conversation with the owner of Screme Gelato Bar. Our meeting started out with a taste of six (I know because I couldn’t hold all those spoons at once) different sorbets and gelatos until I finally decided on passion fruit. For a chocolate lover that seemed a bit strange, but any of you who taste the passion fruit sorbet you’ll understand why. The flavor is incredible, spot on. Perfect.

I asked the owner how he got into the ice cream business. Naturally I assumed he was a frozen treat aficionado just like me.

False.

I nearly fell off my chair when he told me that he didn’t really even like ice cream (that is, until he tried Aldo gelato in Israel). I couldn’t believe my ears! Here is a man who owns two gelato bars in NYC (with more coming soon!), has created over 5,000 (yes, five thousand!) different gelato and sorbet recipes,  and he is not even that obsessed with ice cream. Something seemed wrong!

Rewind a few years. The owner of Screme told me that while living in Israel, his wife used to take his kids out for ice cream daily (I love her already!) when he finally told her that perhaps this wasn’t the most healthy habit for the kids. The wife said “don’t knock it ’till you try it”, so the owner found himself swinging by an Israeli gelato bar, Aldo, and realized that his wife was on to something. (Lesson learned:  the wife is always right!). After he tried Aldo’s gelato he was addicted and decided to bring this business to NYC in the form of Screme Gealto Bar. I promise, after visiting Screme, you’ll be addicted too!

Fast forward three years. Screme, which can be found in two locations on the UWS (Broadway between 69th and 70th AND 94th and Amsterdam) boast fresh new flavors daily. And don’t even get me started on the customer service. It’s incredible! Each employee allows you to taste as many flavors as you want. Think of it this way, everybody loves something free. Taste as many samples as you want, and Screme promises that you’ll be hooked. So, for two minutes the employees actually become your best friend, by letting you taste whatever you want, and allowing for a “screme break in your life.” It’s really perfect.

Now, if your mouth isn’t watering yet, take a look at this video. You’ll see how Screme makes their incredible creations, and you’ll find yourself running to get your very own.

A signature component of the Screme gelato is fresh ingredients and flavors. If you are eating the pistacio gelato, you’re eating real pistacios imported from Italy, not syrup. If you try the mango sorbet, you get to taste little bits of crushed mangoes, not syrup. If you’re eating the Margarita, you are tasting real tequilla, limes, and a hint of sea salt. Finally, if you’re lucky enough to have tried their Cap’n Crunch Gelato you’ll be able to close your eyes and really feel like you’re eating a creamy and delicious bowl of that favorite childhood cereal. It’s the real deal. And let me tell you, you can really taste the difference. Once you taste the magical frozen treat, you’ll never go back to the synthetic flavors, it’s impossible. You’re dealing with the Rolls Royce of Gelato here, trust me!

A full sensory experience!

And if that’s not enough, you really get a full sensory experience at Screme. First, you see these mountains of fresh gelato and sorbet that actually scream your name (ha, get it, scream!) If that’s not enough, you get unlimited tastes of the gelato and sorbet. Finally, you smell fresh, home-made waffles cooking and you’ll find yourself ordering a waffle a-la-mode. There is nothing better.

The Verdict:  Run, don’t walk to Screme. They’re open now (and kosher for Passover!). And if that’s not enough, it’s the first nice day here in NYC since 2010, so get yourself a treat from Screme and you’ll be on cloud nine!

Reconnaissance: Gelato!

12 Apr

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream. ~ Unknown

The Colors of Gelato

Loyal followers, I am in Miami this weekend sans ice cream maker (it doesn’t quite fit in a carry on) and to be honest, I feel naked. You know, I’ve come to rely so heavily on the ice cream maker and poof, it’s gone for a few days and I just don’t know how to function! I’m having withdrawal. There, I said it.

For some reason, I feel like I am in a 12 step program this weekend. The first step is:

We admit we are powerless over alcohol ice cream—that our lives have become unmanageable.

Ladies and Gentlemen – I am starting a very long path to recovery! (I promise it won’t happen while writing this blog, that’s for sure!)

But I digress…

It’s pretty clear that while on vacation it’s impossible to make ice cream . No matter how hard I try, I can’t travel with an ice cream maker. So instead I decided that while traveling it’s important to do a little reconnaissance for the blog. You know, a little field work to taste new flavors, see what the “locals” are eating, and get new ideas for you, my fellow eaters. I will consider my vacations “research” and see what my competition is!

Anyhow, there I was soaking up the beautiful sun and really enjoying the company of great girlfriends. Yet, before heading to the airport I wanted needed to get some ice cream.  While pondering where to go a nicely tan, shall we say mildly shriveled and perfectly toasted topless older gentleman crossed my path at the beach yelling “ice cream, get your ice cream.” I thought that my prayers had been answered!  He came over to my beach chair to show me his ice cream selection, and you know what it was? Klondike bars and frozen snickers. FAIL! I think he must of seen the look of disappointment on my face when he said “ma’am this ‘aint ice cream; ice cream is sweet cream at subarctic temperatures.” Ding ding ding!! That my friends, is my new mantra.

At that very moment, we left the beach on our quest to find real ice cream. We asked another overly tan gentleman (do you sense a theme here?) where we could find some good frozen treats and he pointed us in the direction of DolceVita Gelato. As we headed in towards the store the man yelled behind us “eat at your own risk.” Really? I should have known then…

DolceVita in Miami

A block later we arrived at the aforementioned shop. Upon entering, I felt that the pressure was on! Would this gelato live up to the famous gelato shops in NYC or the outstanding ice cream parlors in Argentina? Better yet, what if the mere taste of the gelato were to make me second guess this entire blog, out of fear that my ice cream concoctions will never live up to this famed frozen treat?

To quell my fears I tasted 5 different flavors: cookies and cream, dulce de leche with chocolate chips, mint chip, tiramisu and super sweet (yes, that was the name) dulce de leche. Honestly, after each one I thought really, each time hoping the flavors would get better, but they didn’t. They were pretty bland, and some of them even tasted stale (can ice cream taste stale?).

Dulce de Leche and Mint Chip Gelato

But, I felt it was against every principle I stand for to refuse a gelato. So I ordered 1/2 dulce de leche and 1/2 mint chip and dug in. If I were a critically acclaimed ice cream judge (I wish!) I’d give it a 4. Honestly, nothing to write home about and really quite a waste of a few hundred calories.

Oh well, as they say on 365scoops, there’s always next time!

Speaking of next time. Stay tuned for chocolate ice cream with marshmallow fluff and fudge chunks (it’s 100% kosher for passover!!).

Happy eating.