With the two-day/four-flavor Ice Cream Throwndown scheduled for Monday and Tuesday of this week, I spent the weekend – what else? – making ice cream.
Looking ahead, this is what the judges can look forward to –
Monday (Round One)
Rob’s Chocolate Mint vs. Joe’s Advokaat-Laced Vanilla with Crumbled Milk Chocolate Flake
Going mint is a double-edged sword. While, on the one hand, Rob’s already won over Brad and Ashleigh who have declared themselves fans of the gum flavor, I’m sure there will be others on the jury who won’t be quite as enthused. Still, I’m not leaving anything to chance and countering with one of my big guns. Given that some seventy percent of all ice cream lovers go for the vanilla, I think this one has potential to wow across the board. The vanilla base alone – made using actual vanilla beans that are simmered for half an hour, allowing their flavor to infuse the milk before being stripped – could carry this round. The Advokaat gives it a nice eggnog undertone while the crumbled Flake chocolate lends the whole a terrific textural contrast.
Rob’s Coconut Ice Cream vs. Joe’s Coconut Cream Pie Ice Cream.
I’ll admit to breaking my “fruit and dessert are two completely different things” rule when it comes to certain candidates: bananas, pears, the occasional apple, and, of course, coconut. So when I learned Rob was going to offer up a coconut creation, I decided to counter in kind and reached into my bag of tricks for this delectable version. Coconut milk replaces regular ice cream in forming the custard base. Then, during the churning process, three more ingredients go into the mix: crushed graham crackers to approximate that delectable pie crust flavor, dark rum, and toasted coconut.
Tuesday (Round Two)
Rob’s Chocolate Brownie vs. Joe’s Sweet Milk Chocolate with Shaved Bittersweet Dark Chocolate.
Chocolate Brownie will be hard to beat. While I considered countering with similar feature particulates (ie. cookies, doughnuts), I ultimately elected to offer a contrasting approach. Pralus Melissa criollo 45% forms the sweet milk chocolate base, while slivers of finely chopped Amedei 70% Chuao offer a bittersweet counterpart. The spotlight is all on the chocolate here.
Rob’s mystery entry vs. Joe’s Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream.
While I played fast and loose with the the previous three entries, allowing my own creativity to inspire me, this final flavor was by the book – a recipe compliments of the fabulous David Lebovitz (available here: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2007/04/salted_butter_c.html). It’s a little more labor intensive than the other three, but well worth the extra effort. In fact, it’s so good, I’m heading to my local bookstore tomorrow to pick up The Perfect Scoop, David’s book which details a host of equally marvelous ice cream creations: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/1580088082/davidleboviswebs.
I want to be modest, I really do, but there’s no way in hell I’m losing this throwdown. With the four flavors I’ve got lined up, I’ll be surprised if I lose even one of the head to head battles. Taking nothing away from Rob – I’m sure he’ll deliver some terrific creations – but these are probably the four best ice creams I’ve ever made.
In the end, it’ll be up to the judges. I look forward to hearing what they have to say.
And, later, critiquing their scripts.