Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Location: Greenland Drive
Boo's Rating: 2 1/2 screams
In honor of National Ice Cream Month (July), I decided to try to make my own homemade ice cream. I did a little bit of research and discovered that nearly every ice cream recipe ends with the words, "Pour mixture into ice cream machine and follow manufacturer directions." Hmmmm... I don't have an ice cream machine, and I don't think I want to invest in one, so what to do? I looked into other methods and found they're all pretty much the same concept. The "ball" method, the coffee can method, the double-ziploc bag method, etc. I didn't really want to use any of those methods because they all involve ice mixed with rock salt around the ice cream mixture, but they all said it created a soft-serve consistency. I wanted real hand-dipped consistency. One website I found said that you can actually pour the ice cream mixture into a shallow dish or tupperware and stir it with a hand mixer or spatula every half hour to 45 minutes. Bingo! Now that I'd found the least expensive method (no machines or rock salt to track down and purchase), I set about finding a good recipe. I didn't find one that really worked for me, so I pretty much used one as a guide and then altered it a bit. After that, it was off to the freezer for my ice cream. Unfortunately, after only 3 hours of chilling my ice cream in the freezer, it was not yet at the right consistency and I had to go to work! NOOOOO!!! I think if I had spent a couple more hours babysitting it, the consistency would have been better. I'll have to try it again on a day where I have more free time. I think the flavor of my ice cream was spot-on. It's got a really strong vanilla flavor. The consistency, however, is not so fabulous. If I were to be served ice cream at a local shop that was the consistency of mine, then that shop would probably only get 2 1/2 screams at the most. I'd like to say that my fabulous flavor would be enough to boost the score up a bit, but I'd be lying. I'm a harsh critic and I can't get all soft just because of my ego. So.... 2 1/2 screams for me. Sad, I know. I'm currently letting my ice cream warm up and soften a bit and I'm going to try to whip it up some more with a hand mixer to try to get rid of some of the ice crystals. Even if I don't, it's still a respectable first attempt at making homemade ice cream and it's definitely edible. Not only is it edible, it's pretty delicious.
In case you care, here is the recipe I used to make my homemade ice cream:
4 c. half & half
2 c. heavy cream
15 egg yolks
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 vanilla bean
In a saucepan, combine cream with half & half. Score the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds and add both seeds and pod to the cream mixture. Slowly heat to a simmer. DO NOT BOIL!!! While the cream mixture is heating, combine the egg yolks and the sugar in a mixer and combine. After heating the cream mixture, remove the vanilla bean, then temper the eggs by slowly adding about half the cream mixture. Pour the egg and cream mixture into the saucepan with the remaining cream and heat until the mixture thickens (about 170 degrees). Run your finger down the back of the spoon and if it leaves a clear path, the custard is ready. Cool the custard and then pour into a 9x13 baking dish, or similar sized plastic container. Every 30-45 minutes stir the custard with a hand mixer or spatula until it reaches the right consistency. Yum!!!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Location: Main Street, Strasburg
Boo's Rating: 4 Screams
Yes, it's PART TWO for the SCS&C. I said in my first review of this place that it was good enough for me to go back, so I did. In my first review, I forgot to mention one of the best things about the SCS&C- the smell. I forgot how when you walk in, you're nearly knocked over by the amazing sweet smell of the place. I asked what it is and the lady at the counter told me it's their homemade sugar cones. There's a little room in the middle of the store with all these waffle-maker-looking things and they seriously make their own homemade sugar cones! I had to try one. I was so focused on the cake cone on the first trip, I didn't even consider getting a sugar cone. They should be advertising these sugar cones by shouting from the rooftops about them. They are delicious! And I am not usually a fan of sugar cones. They almost always leak and they're a lot harder to eat because they usually crack and then you risk ice cream spillage. Problem? I think so.
I ordered a kiddie sized scoop of oreo cookie ice cream on one of their homemade sugar cones. It was a fabulous scoop of ice cream and the cone was delicious. I also asked for a sample of their pumpkin ice cream. Kudos to the SCS&C for offering that flavor in a month other than September or October. AND it was great. I'm a sucker for anything pumpkin flavored- pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin whoopie pies, pumpkin chili, pumpkin soup- I love it all. Their pumpkin ice cream didn't disappoint. That combined with the fabulous oreo cookie/sugar cone combo upped their Boo Rating to 4 screams!
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Location: Eastern Market on King Street
Boo's Rating: 4 Screams
This will be brief because all I have to say is: "Get your butt down to the Eastern Market on King Street and try this gelato!!!" It's all homemade with local ingredients and it's insanely delicious. Apparently it's also being sold by the pint in at least four local supermarkets. I sampled three flavors- coconut, dark chocolate and mulberry merlot and all three were delicious, but the mulberry merlot was FIERCE. I could eat that flavor all day. Gelato di Babbo, you're high in my ratings with 4 very loud screams.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Location: Market Street
Boo's Rating: 4 Screams
Treats Creamery is definitely a special place. First of all, it's located inside the Quilt and Textile Museum in downtown Lancaster. If you have not been to this museum, you really should go. The ladies there are so knowledgeable about not only the quilts, but the history of the building as well. They are SUPER sweet, too. The price of admission is a mere $6- a bargain, really. The museum also has a gift shop and of course, the creamery & cafe.
Today I sampled the pistachio ice cream on a cake cone. It was absolutely delicious. The ice cream was rich and creamy and full of WHOLE pistachios! Yum! I am forever looking for really delicious pistachio ice cream, and this was some of the best I've ever had. Seriously! The creamery also offers about a dozen flavors of ice cream, sundaes with lots of different toppings, shakes of all kinds, and light lunch options including soups, sandwiches, wraps and salads. I'll have to go back there sometime for lunch! Not on Tuesday, Friday or Saturday, though, because with it's location so close to the Central Market, it's hard to resist heading there as well! Overall, the creamery scored an impressive 4 screams. You can bet I'll be back there soon!
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Location: Windham, NH
Boo's Rating: 4 Screams
Waterhouse Country Store serves Gifford's Ice Cream, which is fairly common for many ice cream shops in NH. For a small "country store," there were MANY flavor options, too! I love the names of a lot of the flavors, including the one I tried- "Wicked Good Chocolate." You can't get more New England than that! And how was my ice cream? Wicked good, of course! It was rich and creamy, and the cake cone was fresh. Delicious! Overall, they earned 4 screams. It was wicked good, for sure.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Location: Lincoln, NH
Boo's Rating: 4 Screams
I know, I know- 4 screams? For real? Yes, for real. Udderly Delicious is not only utterly delicious, but the shop is a hoot! You can see the mayhem I created trying to get a candid photo of the employees with my cone (I particularly like the girl diving into the cash register to avoid being in the pic). As you know from my Oregon Dairy blog, I LOVE the cow hats on the ice cream shop employees. But that's just the beginning of the greatness at Udderly Delicious. It's a little tourist-y, but there were a bunch of locals there as well, so I won't brand them a "tourist trap." Having side-stepped that landmine, Udderly Delicious didn't cease to impress. For starters, they have LOTS of flavor choices. Among those choices? GRAPENUT. Raise your hand if you've ever had Grapenut ice cream? That's what I thought. Not too many of you, right? It's basically vanilla ice cream with Grapenuts cereal mixed in. You either like it or you don't. I remember summers at home as a kid, pouring Grapenuts cereal on top of my ice cream and then sitting in the living room, watching TV, hoping I'd get to stay up just a little later! Anyway, as for the ice cream, it's a surprisingly delicious combination. It's a rare find, even for NH ice cream shops so U.D. gets mad props for having it on the menu.
"What else makes them great?" you ask. Well, I'll tell you. They also have an ice cream sundae bar. Uh-huh. You read that right. An ice cream sundae bar. See?
Totally awesome, right? Well, guess what else is awesome? Made-to-order ice cream cookie sandwiches. Also, free chocolate sprinkles (jimmies) for kids! Check it out:
I'm no kid, obvi, so my sprinkles weren't free, but I ordered them anyway, on top of my chocolate ice cream on a cake cone. (Side note: U.D. called it a "cake" cone, too- more evidence that it's the correct term.) So, forget about all the extras like ice cream sundae bars and made-to-order ice cream cookie sandwiches because even without all that, the ice cream was delicious. Rich and creamy, it didn't disappoint. Good job, U.D. You get 4 very loud screams. Holla!!!
Here's one last picture of Kevin & Melanie, my friends who joined me for this tasty blog trip.
P.S. One more SUPER COOL thing: The U.D. had brownies for sale that were GIGANTIC!!! My only vacation regret is that I didn't try one.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Location: Raymond, ME
Boo's Rating: 4 Screams
OK, this place had some seriously delicious ice cream, or rather- frozen custard. I asked what makes it custard and was told that it's the use of egg yolks that makes it custard and not ice cream. Hmmm... interesting. But let's be honest, the only thing I really care about is how delicious it is, not necessarily HOW it gets to be so delicious, right? Right.
I was with my family while sampling this place. I ordered chocolate (of course), my mom got white chocolate mocha and my stepfather Mike got gingersnap. More like gingercrap if you ask me! Just kidding. I have to admit, when he ordered that flavor, I was like, "WHAT?" Who orders GINGERSNAP ICE CREAM? I guess when there are flavors like chocolate or white chocolate mocha or strawberry, it's just the LAST flavor I'd think to try. To be fair, it tasted EXACTLY like gingersnaps, but without any crunch and I think that's why I didn't like it. I like the whole package with those snappy little cookies, but when you take away what in my opinion is an essential element, it's just not the same. But enough about that- I know you're wondering why I know so much about an ice cream flavor I didn't even order. I make it my responsibility to taste as many flavors as possible when reviewing an ice cream establishment and I must admit, I am shameless in that respect. I will ask the clerk at the counter for several "samples" before making my flavor decision. If friends and/or family join me at an ice cream shop, I make them give me a taste of what they ordered. You know- for research.
Ok, so enough about gingersnap. My mom's selection- white chocolate mocha- was AMAZING, as was my chocolate cone. The texture of the custard was OUT OF THIS WORLD!!! Most frozen custards I've seen are soft-serve, but this seemed to be hand-dipped. It was still pretty soft, compared to your basic hand-dipped ice cream, but still oh-so rich and delicious. The only problem I found with Raymond's was the fact that they only had 8 flavors to choose from. But even so, 4 screams is pretty stellar.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Location: Manchester, NH
Boo's Rating: 4 1/2 Screams
The picture really covers it all. Let's be honest, whoever decided to dip a cake cone in chocolate and then also dip into chocolate sprinkles is a genius! I haven't had New England ice cream in quite some time and my first cone back didn't disappoint. Blake's Old Fashioned Ice Cream was never one of the places I frequented when living in NH, but now I really regret that. I ordered the Triple Chocolate Ecstasy on the type of cake cone described above. It was so delicious and rich that I couldn't even eat enough ice cream to get down to the cone! I ended up getting a dish and scraping almost an entire scoop off just so that I could taste the delicious cone I'd ordered! The ice cream was so rich, so chock full of chocolate-y goodness, I was in complete ice cream heaven. Hence, the 4 1/2 screams rating.
As you all know, I've been on vacation in New England for the past 10 days and just returned last night. My next few posts will cover the 5 ice cream establishments I visited over that vacation. I really meant to visit more shops, especially the ones I remember being my favorites growing up, but we know what they say about the best laid plans, right? Anyway, it really got me thinking about different ice cream shops in different places. In the spirit of National Ice Cream Month, I'd like to hear from all of you about your favorite ice cream shop. Tell me what makes it great- the ice cream, the employees, the atmosphere- whatever it is that makes it your favorite. It doesn't have to be in the Lancaster, PA area- it can be anywhere. Wherever it is, I want to hear about it!
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Blake's Old Fashioned Ice Cream
Raymond's Frozen Custard Ice Cream
Chelsey's Ice Cream
Gifford's Ice Cream (at the Waterhouse Country Store)
I'll be back soon! In the meantime, please leave a comment telling me your favorite ice cream shop and location and I'll make sure to visit as many as I can!