Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Little Secret: Ice Cream Cookbooks Galore!

I love books. I love ice cream. I love mail and packages. I don't really love soy. I don't love spending money. So, I traded one book for another.

I guess this isn't totally about ice cream making, but it is, kind of. Just the other day I got a couple of new-used ice cream books in the mail. I got a like-new copy of Ice Cream: The Perfect Weekend Treat by Susanna Tee, and better yet, a little out-of-print gem of a book called The Joy of Ice Cream by Matthew Klein.

I just wanted to write a little post about the virtues of searching places other than your internet superstore or megabook store (though those can be good too!) for those books you want to add to your collection...I got one of my favorite books at the library book sale, and another one on Paperback Swap.

I just did a search at Paperback Swap for Ice Cream in the Cookbook category, and I found a number of books here. Don't worry, I didn't take them all! Sometimes, though, my favorite part isn't gettnig them immediately, but putting it on my wishlist until it becomes available, and then "Poof!," all of a sudden, a new ice cream book arrives at my door.

Of course, the popular ones are hard to come by but if you wait enough, you just might be surprised -- and of course, sometimes the unpopular ones are better than expected...

Anyway, this post is a little different from previous posts, but I guess I was a bit excited by my new finds!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Time is Running out for the Ice Cream Cupcake Roundup

Please join us with your own recipe for the Ice Cream Cupcake Roundup! (Click on the link for more details.) Roundup ends May 31. We already have some great entries, but we are excited to hear from others too!

(Image courtesy of Stef at Cupcake Project, who is co-hosting the Roundup! Beautiful work, Stef!)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Baskin Robbins Now Has Soft Serve Ice Cream

Baskin Robbins now offers soft serve. Seems like they only have vanilla, but you can mix in to get multiple varieties -- sounds like a McFlurry or a Blizzard to me...

Beantown Bloggery (of which I am now a huge fan for the latest and greatest Boston celebrity sightings and local events and news...) links us to a coupon for a buy one, get one soft serve cone here. Thanks much Beantown Bloggery. But hurry, offer ends May 27th.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Ice Cream is Melting! (Time is running out to win an ice cream block party!)

Two months ago Tina blogged about the Edy's/Dreyer's Ice Cream Block Party...Time is running out to enter, so take a moment to enter today! Good luck, but don't take my spot! *wink!*

Carvel's Arctic Summer Sweepstakes

Carvel is holding a summer sweepstakes, and even if you aren't an instant winner, you still get a coupon for $1.00 off an Arctic Blender or Blended Coffee! Looks like you can enter daily to win a computer, flat screen TV or MP3 player (or cash, if you prefer) and the sweepstakes runs until my birthday...oh, that's July 31, in case you didn't know...

Monday, May 12, 2008

I Scream for Connecticut Ice Cream!

I was born and bred in Connecticut, so it is only due time that I give a shout out to some ice cream in the Nutmeg State. (No, didn't have any nutmeg ice cream while I was there...hmmmm...)

A couple of weeks ago I was in Connecticut. I had ice cream with my lovely sister Sarah of ReBooK and brother in-law Liam...then I told my favorite younger sister (she just turned 27 the other day -- Happy Birthday, Arianna!) of our ice cream escapades, and she wanted ice cream too, so on the way back from Connecticut to Massachusetts, we exited I-84 for some creamy goodness.

Sweet, Sweet Claude's...

Sarah, Liam and I ended up in Cheshire (as Tina and I are both graphic designers I am going to add a little designer fact here -- information graphics guru Edward Tufte lives in Cheshire. Who knew?!) because Liam was on a mad quest for Mahjong and after call after call, Sarah finally found it in Cheshire at Toyz Toy Store. Whew!

Liam and Sarah promised awesome ice cream if I took a ride with them, and who was I to resist toys and ice cream. We stopped at Sweet Claude's Ice Cream (though they seemed to have a website posted on their wall, I couldn't find it online, and when I called to confirm, they said they do not have one, so this is the best I could get...). There was a group of people getting ice cream in front of us and only one girl at the counter, so the wait was a bit long, but it allowed for me to drool over the menu of many flavors, toppings, and homemade sauces...and admire the beautiful antique ice cream paraphernalia all over the shop.

In the end I decided on my old favorite, Cookies 'n' Cream. Sarah was a bit disappointed (as was I) that her favorite, Sweet Cream, was no longer on the menu (the girl at the counter said it would come back occasionally as a special), so she ordered vanilla with strawberry sauce, whipped cream and a cherry, which though missing the Sweet Cream base, she said was "pretty amazing". This looked and tasted so good, that contrary to my rule of vanilla only with toppings (I am a purist -- flavored ice cream, no toppings; vanilla ice cream, toppings), I added this topping to my C'n'C. It was amazingly good! Liam ordered a strawberry milkshake, "which," my sister says, "he pretty much always enjoys." The ice cream didn't disappoint, and even though I ordered a small, it seemed to me what would be a large everywhere else. Being so good, I finished it, but I probably should have stopped a bit sooner than I did!

Go Huskies!

Later on in the day, as Arianna and I drove back to Massachusetts, we spoke of ice cream again, and Arianna having had missed out on the first trip asked if we could stop somewhere for ice cream. Me, turn down ice cream? Never! Talk ended up on the UConn Dairy Bar on the Storrs Campus, so we kind of spur of the moment pulled off the highway, and drove the few miles to the University of Connecticut (where, I might add, I had not stepped foot on the campus in over 10 years, when I went with my AP European History class -- thanks for taking us, Ms. Kowitch -- to see Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel speak at the Gampel Pavilion and then finished the day at the Dairy Bar).

Seeing as I hadn't been there in ten years, I took the wrong road to the Dairy Bar and drove Arianna on a tour of the Agricultural School. It was a beautiful day, and a nice drive, even though we managed to circumnavigate the Dairy Bar without even knowing it, so getting there took a little longer than expected. Finally, we found it and both Arianna and I ordered the cake batter ice cream. Good? "I've had better," Arianna said, and I wholeheartedly agreed. It was good, but wasn't what you expect when you think cake batter. It was creamy and sweet though, and clearly the UConn Dairy Bar was good enough for me to remember and want to visit again ten years later...). My apologies for the not-so-great phone photo -- I wasn't expecting the detour, so didn't have my camera!

Well, hats off to you Connecticut! You brought us the first newspaper, the first public art museum, the cotton gin, and some pretty darn good ice cream.

And guess what I just found out? You also gave us the first ice cream making machine! Thank you, thank you, Connecticut!

(Connecticut Firsts discovered at About Connecticut)

Friday, May 9, 2008

We salute you, Mr Robbins

Excerpt from the LA Times: Irvine Robbins, co-founder of Baskin Robbins whose love for creating unique ice cream flavors helped push post WWII America beyond vanilla-chocolate-strawberry has passed away at age 90. After getting out of the army in 1945, he and his brother-in-law, Burton Baskin, opened Snowbird Ice Cream store from a cashed in insurance policy. Robbins told The Times in 1985, "There really was no such thing as an ice cream store. I just had a crazy idea that somebody ought to open a store that sold...nothing but ice cream, and could do it in an outstanding way."

And that he did!

Interesting Fact: The "31" flavors concept was their idea that there was a flavor for every day of the month. They started out with 31 original flavors for each day and then their love for churning new flavors expanded the menu. My personal favorite, Chocolate Mint, was the 31st flavor, yum!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Free Ice Cream week a success..for me at least!

Unfortunately here in New England Free Ice Cream week was sort of a wash out, rather damp and cold, but for me any weather calls for ice cream...seriously there is no excuse. Luckily I only live near one of the three ice cream chains offering free ice cream days but the temptation was definitely there to go out of the way to hit another, the good old Ben and Jerry's. But as the crazy cost of gas skyrockets, and with a car that only takes premium, to get there was more than a cone would have cost had it not been free so I nixed that option.

So anyways, I used my three year old as a good excuse to take advantage of Baskin Robbins 31 cent scoop day and we were off. Interestingly the store near me is actually at a rest stop/visitors center (that and a Dunkin Donuts....another great reason to go there) but its accessible from a fantastic bike path not far from my house. But again, the weather was damp and cold, so we took the lazy man's route and pathetic! We've been there numerous times and its somewhat new but never many people. Seriously we get there and families were all abuzz. Amazing what 31 cent scoops will do. I could have easily just sat, watched, and listened to the discussions around me. It really is more of a sociology experiment if you ask me. So on to the ice cream. Me, I went for the Chocolate Peanut Butter...super creamy chocolate ice cream with smooth, thick bands of peanut butter ribbon throughout. I give it 5 stars for its creaminess, texture, and flavor. My daughter wanted the yellow one (why do kids choose by color?) which was a basic vanilla, not so exciting, but the fun part for her was that for the first time she enjoyed it on a cone. I was very scared about the mess but she downed the scoop so it never had time to melt! But the kicker was that the scoop was 31 cents and if you wanted the cone it was an additional 40 cents! Guess they have to make there money one way but sort of false advertising to me.

Well I made my money back because as I waited in line I noticed others having quarts packed....seriously is it that good of a bargain? Well I was easily persuaded by those around me and was sold. I walked away with two pints which they counted as 5 scoops each. Where do you get a pint of premium ice cream for $1.55. Wow, what a deal. I was very tempted earlier by York Peppermint Patty, vanilla with tons of mini peppermint patties and bands of dark mint chocolate ribboned throughout, so that called my name and then I had to bring some home for Scott and he loves oreo cookie . So one cone, one dish, and 2 pints later, oh and for a whopping $4.12 we had a superduper ice cream night!

Free Ice Cream Week Observations
Baskin Robbins 31 cent Scoop Day
-a cone was not included in the 31 cents scoop deal
-10 scoops per person
-you could fill a pint or quart with 31 cent scoops (which I joyfully skipped away with!)

Ben and Jerry's Free Scoop Day
-Free scoop was limited to six certain flavors
(which I believe is new because I have been in the past and its any flavor but a friend went and was disapponted to find out that you could only choose certain kinds. I'll have to find out what those were. I would be interested to know if they were based on favorites or possibly cost. If Cake Batter is an option I am there next year!)

Did you take advantage of Free Ice Cream week? We'd love to hear from you!

Stay tuned for my version of an Ice Cream Cupcake and we can't wait to see what you all come up with! (see previous post for details)


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