Ice cream is my favorite food. Of course, I eat more fruit and veggies and yogurt and eggs than ice cream, but when I picture my happiest times, ice cream was always what I was eating (or what I wanted to top off an otherwise perfect day). Even on my birthday, I’d opt for ice cream over cake or cupcakes – and since I have a summer birthday and was often away at camp as a kid, this worked out well! Lots of people think of ice cream as a summer treat, but I enjoy it year round. While it may seem counter-intuitive, eating a bowl of ice cream can enhance an evening of sitting by a cozy fire with hot cocoa. The trick is to create an ice cream experience that doesn’t rely on the tradition of grabbing a cone of your favorite flavor at an outdoor window, and mix it up instead!
One of my favorite ways to treat myself is to have a decadent flavor of ice cream nicely scooped into a crystal glass, topping it with a complementary seasoning. Here, I took caramel ice cream and added a pinch of sea salt and a dash of molasses, and paired with a mug of spiced apple tea.
Another serving style evokes the nostalgia of childhood. I have four small ice cream dishes, with pastel bowls on the inside of little tubs shaped like the bottom of wafer ice cream cones. I’ll scoop a classic flavor like vanilla or strawberry into one of these, and top with gluten-free rainbow sprinkles. It takes me back to summers down the Cape, where I used to get strawberry ice cream with rainbow sprinkles from a shop called Emack & Bolio’s in Orleans, Massachusetts. They’ve expanded throughout New England and the rest of the US, but to me, the other locations aren’t quite the ‘real thing’!
For an extra special splurge, turn your ice cream and toppings into a swoon-worthy sundae. Start with a basic base flavor, then add sauces and toppings. One of my favorites is a peanut butter cup sundae. I start with peanut butter cup ice cream, then add some extra peanut butter and chocolate chips. If I’m feeling very nostalgic and I happen to have some regular-size peanut butter cups around, I’ll break one in half and stick the pieces on top to make it look like those Friendly’s sundaes with the smiles! (And if you really want to go all out, make a batch of peanut butter cookie bites to crumble on top).
Of course, you can just have ice cream straight from the carton or in a regular dish, but I like to dress it up a little in the winter. It feels like a special treat, a welcome spot of cheer on an otherwise dreary day. (Caveat: I run outside when it is below freezing all the time. I am probably a classified crazy winter weather person, at least for locations outside the Arctic and, you know, Chicago. So feel free to mock my recommendation of eating ice cream this time of year. I’ll keep doing it anyway.) And I’ll mix it up with the seasons. In the autumn, I love pumpkin ice cream. In the spring I go for berry sorbet. Summer will find me with a gluten-free cone full of strawberry or Moose Tracks. So find your flavor and figure out how to make every spoonful special.
I’m planning to fix myself a bowl of ice cream for dessert tonight, to basically tell this snowstorm it’s time to get lost!
What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Do you eat it all year round or save it for a seasonal treat?
Have you ever tried making snow-cream? It’s delicious (but I would never trust NYC snow…)
© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.