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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Ice Cream/Sorbet/Frozen Yogurt

TIP OF THE DAY: Pairing Ice Cream & Wine

We’ve written extensively on pairing wine with desserts, from apple tart and chocolate cake to cheesecake and tiramisu. There’s a brief mention of two sweet wines that go with ice cream: Nigori saké, a sweet, milky style, and Pedro Ximénez* dessert sherry.

But the problem with those limited ice cream and wine pairings is that ice cream comes in many flavors, and you wouldn’t pair the same wine with chocolate ice cream as with strawberry.

So since then, we’ve devoted lots of time to pairing wines with ice cream. The recommendations are below, and also include pairings with sorbets.


How alien is the concept of wine and ice cream? So much so that we couldn’t find a photo of a dish of ice cream together with a glass of wine “for love or money,” as the expression goes. The closest we got was a bowl of rum raisin ice cream, over which Pedro Ximénez sherry had been poured as a sauce.

It is widely thought that ice cream and wine just don’t mix. One reason given is that the butterfat from the cream dulls the palate; but foie gras too is even fattier and sweet wines are splendid with it. The other reason is that the coldness of ice cream numbs the palate, and this can be true.


/home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/px sherry BodegaJoseDeLaCuesta 230

Pedro Ximénez, a sweet sherry, goes well with chocolate, ice cream and numerous desserts. Photo courtesy Bodegas José De La Cuesta Pedro | Spain.

However, if you wait at least 10 seconds to sip the wine, following a spoonful of ice cream, your palate can be “primed” for wine. Use sorbet instead of ice cream and avoid the butterfat issue altogether.
The Tradition Of Sweet Wine For Dessert

Sweet wines date to ancient times. The finest wines in Rome were sweet white wines. Bonus: The higher the sugar content, the more a wine can withstand aging, temperature shifts and transportation; so sweet wines held up better.

Also, then as now, sweet wines pair with any course, depending on the particular dish. Today, wine connoisseurs pay big bucks to attend dinners where different vintages of Chateau d’Yquem, the priciest sweet wine (it’s a Sauternes from the Bordeaux region of France), is poured with every course.
The Tradition Of Sweet Wine For Dessert

For centuries at refined dining tables in Europe, dessert consisted of a glass of sweet wine, alone or with fresh fruit. A glass of Port with cheese is another time-honored tradition. Wherever a sweet wine is made, you can bet that it is enjoyed at the end of dinner.

We respect that tradition: A glass of Sauternes with sweet summer apricots or peaches is divine; ditto with Port and Stilton or other blue cheese. Over time, we’ve switched our guest menus away from serving a substantial dessert after a big meal (including a cheese course), to a dish of sorbet and a glass of dessert wine.

More recently, we’ve been inviting friends to an “ice cream social”† to try different wine and ice cream pairings. It’s a delightful occasion, and we highly recommend it. Consider it for adult birthday parties.
*Pedro Ximénez, pronounced him-AY-nez and also spelled Jiménez and various other ways, is a white Spanish wine grape used to make fortified wines like sherry. It’s also the name of the sweet dessert sherry made from it. Pedro Ximénez is often abbreviated as PX. The identity of the original Pedro Ximénez and his relationship to the grape is lost to time.

†Ice cream socials—parties where people came to eat ice cream— were popular events in the U,S. They date back to the 19th century before freezers, not to mention electric ice cream makers (i.e., they were a laborious undertaking, and thus a real treat). Some churches and communities still give them, but today it’s an easy party to throw at home. Here’s how to have an ice cream social.

While we’ve paired specific sweet wines with specific ice cream flavors, below, you first need to seek out what your local wine stores stock. Explain the specific ice cream flavors you’d like to serve and see what they recommend from their inventory. You can bring them this list, to make the selection process easier.

France’s vintners produce a wealth of sweet wines:

  • Banyuls, a fortified red wine (Roussillon, France)
  • Champagne Sec, the sweetest style of the sparkling white wine (Champagne, northeast France)
  • Bonnezeaux, white wine (Anjou, Loire Valley, France)
  • Maury, red wine (AOC†, Roussillon, France)
  • Muscat de Rivesaltes, a fortified white wine (AOC, Roussillon)
  • Muscat-de-Beaumes-de-Venise, white wine (AOC†, Rhone Valley, southeast France; not to be confused with the dry red AC wines labeled Beaumes-de-Venise, formerly known as Côtes du Rhone Villages)
  • Sauternes, white wine (Bordeaux, southwest France)
  • Vin de Paille, white wine (Jura, France)
    Dessert wines from other countries include:

  • Amontillado Sherry, fortified red wine (Spain)
  • Brachetto d’Acqui or Lambrusco, slightly sparkling red wines (Italy)
  • Black Muscat, red wine (California and elsewhere)
  • Ice-Wine/Eiswein, red and white (Austria, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and elsewhere)
    *AOC, an abbreviation for appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC), “controlled designation of origin,” is an official designation that assures that a product was produced in the specified region according with specific ingredients, according to traditional techniques. The analogous word in Italian is denominazione di origine controllata abbreviated, DOC.


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/nigori sake takarasake

    Nigori saké is unfiltered, creating a cloudy, or milky, appearance. The style is brewed to be sweet. Photo courtesy Takarasaké.

  • Late Harvest Wines (made the world over from Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Semillon, Viognier, Zinfandel and other red or white grapes)
  • Madiera, fortified red wine (Portugal)
  • Moscato d’Asti, sparkling white wine (Italy)
  • Moscatel de Setúbal, red wine (DOC, Portugal)
  • Muscat, red and white (grown in many locations in Europe, Australia, U.S. and elsewhere)
  • Nigori Saké, milky white and sweet [the name means cloudy] (Japan)
  • Pedro Ximénez Sherry [abbreviated PX], fortified white wine (Spain, Andalusia region)
  • Reciotto de Valpolicella, red wine, very raisiny (Amarone, Italy)
  • Ruby Port, fortified red wine (Portugal)
  • Sparkling Shiraz (Australia) or Lambrusco (Italy)
  • Sweet Madiera (Bual or Malmsey), fortified red wine (Portugal)
  • Tokaji (Tokay) 5 Puttonyos‡, white wine (Hungary)
    ‡Puttonyos is the Hungarian word to denote the level of sugar in wine; the comparable word used in the U.S., France and other countries is brix.


  • Any flavor of ice cream matches with its corresponding liqueur (e.g. raspberry with raspberry liqueur) or complementary liqueur (e.g., chocolate ice cream with coffee liqueur, peach ice cream with raspberry liqueur)
  • Apricot ice cream, Bonnezeaux, Sauternes, Vin de Paille
  • Berry ice creams match with Champagne, Muscat, Nigori Saké
  • Butter pecan, maple walnut or other nutty ice cream with PX Sherry, Sweet Madiera
  • Caramel or dulce de leche ice cream with PX Sherry or Sweet Madeira
  • Chocolate ice cream with Banyuls, Nigori Saké, PX Sherry; or Brachetto or Lambrusco with bittersweet chocolate ice cream
  • Chocolate chip ice cream should be matched to its base flavor: chocolate, coffee, mocha, raspberry, vanilla, etc.
  • Coconut ice cream with Late Harvest Semillon, Nigori Saké, Sauternes, Beerenauslese (or the pricier Trockenbeerenauslese)
  • Coffee or mocha ice cream with Amontillado Sherry, Nigori Saké, Madeira, Ruby Port
  • Floral ice cream—Earl Grey, jasmine, lavender, rose—with Ice Wine
  • Ginger or pumpkin ice cream with Sweet Madiera
  • Mint ice cream with Nigori Saké, Madiera or Late Harvest Zinfandel
  • Rum raisin ice cream with PX Sherry or Reciotto de Valpolicella
  • Stone fruit ice cream—apricot, cherry, mango, peach, plum—with Muscat-de-Beaumes-de-Venise
  • Vanilla ice cream with Nigori Saké, PX Sherry, Sauternes, Sweet Madiera, Vin de Paille (bonus: Scotch also works!)

  • Serve the wine in a glass.
  • Drizzle it over over the ice cream.
  • Soak dried or fresh fruit in the alcohol overnight and use it as an ice cream topping, along with a glass of the wine.

    You can use the same wines and liqueurs as with the analogous ice cream flavors; or with a sweet sparkling white wine. For citrus sorbets (grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange—not represented in the ice cream list), pair with the sparkling wine or the matching liqueur.



    RECIPE: Salted Watermelon Milkshake

    For National Watermelon Day, August 3rd, try a salted watermelon milkshake.

    Salt with watermelon? Actually, as a pinch of salt helps most foods, it’s an old trick to bring out more flavor (here, sweetness) in the watermelon.

    This recipe is courtesy of The Milk Shake Factory in Pittsburgh. It requires watermelon sorbet; but if you can’t find it or don’t want to make it (here’s a watermelon sherbet recipe), substitute strawberry or raspberry sorbet.

    Or, make an easy watermelon granita with this watermelon granita recipe, minus the basil. No ice cream maker is used; just watermelon, sugar, water, lemon juice and an ice cube tray.

    Prep time for the milkshake is 10 minutes.


    Ingredients For 1 Large Or 2 Small Servings

  • 8 ounces watermelon sherbet
  • 4 ounces whole milk
  • Two 2-inch cubes seedless watermelon, rind removed
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 4 ounces soda water
  • Optional garnish: mini chocolate chips
  • Optional garnish: watermelon wedge

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/salted watermelon shake themilkshakefactory 230

    Salted watermelon milkshake. Photo courtesy The Milk Shake Factory | Pittsburgh.


    1. COMBINE the watermelon sherbet, milk, watermelon slices and a pinch of sea salt in a blender. Blend until the sherbet and watermelon slices break down, approximately 45 seconds. Add the soda water and blend 10 seconds more.

    2. POUR the mixture into a 20-ounce drinking glass or two 10-ounce glasses. Garnish with mini chocolate chips and skewer the watermelon wedge, or notch it deeply and anchor it to the rim of the glass. Serve immediately.



    RECIPE: Ice Cream Sandwich Sundae

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/ice cream sandwich sundae grandhyattNYC 230

    Ice cream sandwich sundae. Photo courtesy
    Grand Hyatt Hotel | NYC.

      August 2nd is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day. We love this ice cream sandwich sundae, served at the New York Central Bar and Kitchen, located in the Grand Hyatt Hotel right above Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal.

    You can make it at home by adapting New York Central’s recipe with your own favorite flavors. Theirs combines summery flavors and colors:

  • A lemon ice cream sandwich on house-made graham crackers
  • A slice of raspberry mousse cake topped with vanilla frozen yogurt
  • A drizzle of dessert sauce (caramel, chocolate or fruit purée)
  • Candied violet petals (substitute blueberries)
    According to the New York Times, the American ice cream sandwich was born in the Bowery neighborhood of Lower Manhattan in the early 1899s, when a pushcart vendor placed vanilla ice cream slices between two graham cracker wafers and sold them for a penny to shoe shiner boys and stockbrokers.*

    According to an article in The New York Tribune in July 1900, the pushcart vendor who was selling the sandwiches was so busy pressing them into a tin mold to order, that he didn’t have time to make change and insisted that customers pay the exact price of one cent.

    The treat was revolutionary: hand-held and portable (the cone had not yet taken hold).

    An earlier predecessor, without the wafers, was a slice of vanilla ice cream cut from a larger slab by Italian street vendors in London. It was known as an “okey-pokey,” the English adaptation of the vendors’ Italian phrase, “o che poco,” meaning “oh, how little [money].” The name which gave way to the “Hokey Pokey” song.

    The modern ice cream sandwich that we know, a slice of vanilla between two rectangular chocolate wafers, was invented in 1945 by Jerry Newberg, who sold ice cream sandwiches at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh.

    By the time we were kids, Nestlé’s ice cream sandwich was our favorite treat from the corner grocer’s ice cream case. (Our tastes have evolved to more premium goods.)

    Who ever thought the ice cream sandwich of childhood would become this elite?

    *Source: Sugar and Snow: A History of Ice Cream Making by Jeri Quinzio/



    TIP OF THE DAY: Cook With Fresh Blueberries

    August is National Blueberry Month. The harvest is full, the prices are at the year’s low, and any food lover should relish the opportunity to eat lots of them.

    And cook with them. Beyond the all-American blueberry pie, you can make:

  • Baked treats: cheesecakes, cobblers, crumbles, fruit tarts, muffins, scone
  • Beverages: cocktails, lemonade, smoothies
  • Breakfasts: in cereal, muffins, pancakes, omelets, scones, yogurt and waffles
  • Frozen desserts: ice cream and sorbet
  • Salads: fruit salads and green salads
  • Soup: in chilled fruit soup, all blueberries or mixed berries
    We’ll focus on some of those tomorrow. Today, we’re starting with dessert; specifically, blueberry ice cream and blueberry pound cake. Both are easy to make, and won’t keep you in the kitchen for too long.


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/blueberry ginger ice cream driscolls 230

    Blueberry ice cream. Photo and recipe courtesy Driscoll’s berries.


    Fresh blueberries should be firm and dry (no leakage or juice stains on the bottom of the container), with a smooth skin covered with a silvery white bloom. The color should be deep purple-blue to blue-black. Reddish blueberries aren’t ripe and won’t ripen once they are picked, but you can use them when cooking with added sugar.

    Refrigerate fresh blueberries, either in their original plastic pack or in a covered bowl or container. Before using, wash the berries, removing any stems, leaves and smashed fruit, plus berries that look soft, shriveled or dots of white mold.

    Ingredients For 1 Quart

  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream

    1. COMBINE the blueberries, sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Mash the softened blueberries and stir with a fork. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

    2. PURÉE the berry mixture and milk in a blender or food processor. When smooth, stir in the cream. Press the purée through a sieve into a bowl. Press on the solids with back of a spoon to extract the remaining juices.

    3. COVER and chill the mixture at least 2 hours, or until cold. You can make the recipe up to this step, up to 1 day in advance.

    4. PROCESS the cold mixture in an ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer it to an airtight container and place in the freezer to harden.


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/blueberry pound cake qvc 230

    Fresh blueberry pound cake with blueberry sauce. You’ll notice how much firmer and tastier fresh berries are, compared to baking with frozen berries. Photo courtesy QVC.



    This easy recipe is from QVC’s chef David Venable. David tip: “Be sure that all of your ingredients are at room temperature before beginning. And, only use fresh blueberries in the sauce; it will have a better consistency.”

    The recipe is easy because David uses a pound cake mix. We made our own pound cake recipe from scratch, adding just the cup of blueberries and the sour cream from the cake ingredients below.

    Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

    Ingredients For The Cake

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 box pound cake mix or your own pound cake recipe
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • 1/8 cup + 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • Zest of a half lemon (zest the whole lemon; the rest goes into
    the sauce)
    Ingredients For The Blueberry Sauce

  • 3 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Zest of half a lemon

  • Optional: whipped cream or vanilla or blueberry ice cream

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a loaf pan. Set aside.

    2. PREPARE the cake: Toss the blueberries with flour in a bowl. Set aside.

    3. PLACE the remaining ingredients in a food processor and process for 3 minutes. Scrape the sides and process for 3 more minutes. Stir in the flour-coated blueberries with a spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45–55 minutes.

    4. MAKE the sauce: Place all the ingredients into a food processor and process for 4–6 minutes. Drizzle the sauce on top of the sliced pound cake. Top with whipped cream and serve; or make it a la mode with a scoop of ice cream.



    RECIPE: Strawberry Cheesecake Pops


    Make frozen strawberry cheesecake pops to celebrate National Cheesecake Day. Photo courtesy Philadelphia Cream Cheese.


    July 30th is National Cheesecake Day, and we’re baking our Cheesecake Recipe Sour Cream Topping, which happens to be our mom’s recipe. It’s a heavy cream cheese cake with a sour cream topping that isn’t found often these days—probably because most people don’t want to take the extra step.

    If you don’t want to bake any type of cheesecake, how about these Strawberry Lime Cheesecake Pops from Philadelphia Cream Cheese? They give you a summery cheesecake experience without turning on the oven.

    Not all cheesecakes are sweet, by the way. We love savory cheesecakes—basil, blue cheese, corn and provolone, lobster Gruyère, salmon and tuna. Serve one with cocktails, as an appetizer, or as the cheese course with a salad. They’re memorable!



  • 1-1/2 cups strawberries, divided
  • 1-1/2 packages (12 ounces) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, cubed, then softened
  • 1 tablespoons lime zest and 2 tablespoons juice from 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream (heavy cream)
  • Plus:

  • 12 paper or plastic cups, 3 ounces each
  • 12-cup muffin tin


    1. PLACE a 3-ounce paper or plastic cup in each of 12 muffin pan cups. Cut each of 3 strawberries into 4 slices; place in the cups.

    2. PLACE the remaining strawberries in a food processor. Add the cream cheese, lime zest, juice and sugar; process until smooth. Spoon into medium bowl.

    3. BEAT the whipping cream in a medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently stir into the cream cheese mixture. Spoon into the prepared cups. Tap the cups on the counter to remove any air bubbles.

    4. INSERT a wooden pop stick or a plastic spoon into the center of each cup. If they won’t stand up straight, freeze for an hour and try again.

    5. FREEZE for 4 hours or until firm. Remove the frozen pops from cups just before serving.



  • Cheesecake (savory) was popular in ancient Greece. Neufchatel, ricotta and other soft, fresh cheesecake-friendly cheeses have existed in Europe for centuries, engendering a variety of savory and sweet cheesecake recipes.
  • Cream cheese was invented by accident in New York, in 1872, and later given the Philadelphia brand name (learn more). In the early 20th century, the company promoted the first cream cheese cake recipe, and an icon was born.
  • Cheesecake is actually a cheese custard pie. There is no cake made with flour, but a bottom crust like an open face pie.
  • Cheesecake is often served with fresh or cooked fruit. Blueberries, mango, raspberries and strawberries are fan favorites.
  • Want more? Take our cheesecake trivia quiz.


    Cream cheese is an American invention. Cream cheese-based cheesecake owes its popularity to Philadelphia Cream Cheese, which launched in 1872. The brand promoted the recipe on its packages. Photo courtesy Philadelphia Cream Cheese.



    We love cheesecake, and have published quite a few recipes over the years. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Boston Cream Pie Cheesecake recipe
  • Burnt Caramel Cheesecake recipe
  • Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake recipe
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake (recipe) and the history of cheesecake
  • Cranberry Cheesecake recipe with whiskey buttercream sauce
  • Easy Blueberry Cheesecake Topping recipe
  • Grand Marnier Mascarpone Cheesecake recipe
  • Individual Cheesecakes With Fresh Orange Or Grapefruit (recipe)
  • Individual Eggnog Cheesecakes recipe
  • Irish Coffee Cheesecake recipe
  • Irish Cream Liqueur Cheesecake recipe
  • Mango Cheesecake recipe
  • Michael Chiarello’s Mascarpone Cheesecake recipe
  • Milk Chocolate Cheesecake recipe
  • Mocha Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe
  • My Mom’s New York Cheesecake With Sour Cream Topping recipe
  • Pumpkin Mousse Cheesecake with gingersnap crust recipe
  • Red Velvet Cheesecake recipe


    FOOD FUN: Ice Cream Bar Trifle

    There are only a few days left of this year’s National Ice Cream Month. Here’s something a bit off the beaten track: an ice cream trifle. Is it a form of ice cream sundae or a variation of ice cream cake? Make it and take a vote.

    Trifle is an English dessert dish made from layers of custard, diced fruit, syrup or fruit juice and cubes of sponge cake, topped with whipped cream. It was traditionally served in a footed glass bowl.

    In QVC chef David Venable’s recipe, below, ice cream bars replace the custard and chocolate-covered pretzels replace the fruit and caramel takes over for the syrup.

    Adapt the recipe as you like, for example, trading the pretzels for sliced strawberries, and exchanging the chocolate cake for pound cake or ladyfingers. Instead of caramel, we tried a version with custard sauce (crème anglaise).

    David used Klondike bars in this recipe, easy to chop because there’s no stick. We prefer Magnum ice cream bars: better quality ice cream and chocolate coating, more flavor choices.


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/Klondike Bar Triffle qvc 230

    Ice cream bar trifle: Is it a jumbo ice cream
    sundae or a different approach to ice cream
    cake? Photo courtesy QVC.



  • 3 packages frozen double-chocolate cake (10.8 ounces each) cut into 1″ pieces; we substituted fresh chocolate loaf cakes
  • 6 ice cream bars, each cut into 6 squares
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate-covered pretzels
  • 12 ounces caramel sauce
  • 16 ounces whipped cream or frozen topping

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/magnum almond icecreamBar 230

    Our favorite ice cream bar: Magnum. Photo courtesy Unilever.



    1. CUBE the cake first, then the ice cream bars. If using a fresh cake, freeze it first; it will be easier to cut. Freeze the cubes separately until ready to assemble.

    2. CRUSH the chocolate-covered pretzels gently into smaller pieces. Don’t over-crush—you want small pieces, not dust. Reserve 2 ounces to decorate the top of the trifle.

    3. PLACE 1/3 of the chocolate cake squares into a large trifle dish. Place 1/3 of the ice cream bar cubes on top, followed by 1/3 of the crushed chocolate-covered pretzels. Drizzle 1/4 of the caramel sauce over the pretzels and top with a 1/3 of the whipped cream. Repeat this order two more times, finishing with the whipped cream.

    4. ADD the rest of the caramel sauce and top with the reserved crushed chocolate-covered pretzels. Freeze immediately. David suggests that before serving, you should let the trifle sit at room temperature for 3–4 minutes so the cake can thaw slightly. We like eating frozen cake (especially in small cubes), and brought the trifle straight to the table.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Individual Ice Cream Cakes

    Don’t let National Ice Cream Month end without some ice cream cake. In today’s tip, you add to the fun by giving each person his or her own individual-size ice cream cake.

    All you need are two ingredients—cake and ice cream—plus an optional garnish. And a fun flavor pairing, although chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream work fine.


  • Ice cream
  • Un-iced cake (loaf cake works best)
  • Individual custard cups, ramekins or other dishes (glass is best, to show off the layers)
  • Optional garnishes or “surprises”, such as:
  • >Berries
    >Caramel, chocolate or fruit sauce
    >Chocolate chips or shaved chocolate
    >Whipped cream



    Portion-sized ice cream cake. (Can we eat two?) Photo courtesy Eat Wisconsin Cheese.


    1. CUT and layer the cake and ice cream in the dish, leaving a bit of room at the top for sauce or other garnishes.

    2. HIDE surprises between the layers: mini chocolate chips, M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, shaved chocolate, sliced strawberries. Place the layered dishes in the freezer until you’re ready to serve.

    3. GARNISH the top with anything you like. One of our favorite garnishes: miniature York Peppermint Patties (we buy them by the carton-full at Costco).

    SLICING: Peel the carton from the ice cream to slice the ice cream into layers. Trim and fit the variously-sized pieces of ice cream and cake in the individual dishes.

    SUBSTITUTE: If you have all the ingredients except the cake, you can substitute cookies or sweet muffins.



    UPDATES: New Flavors From Product Favorites


    A nutritious, easy breakfast is just a crunch away. Photo courtesy belVita.


    If we reported on all the updates to products we’ve previously reviewed, we’d need another full-time staff. Each year flavors come, flavors go; and on an all-too-regular basis, packaging changes.

    While we can’t keep on top of it all, here are recent updates to some of our favorite products.


    There are seasonal ciders, just as there are seasonal beers. Angry Orchard’s Summer Honey is a perfect poolside drink—or it would be, if we had a pool. Instead, we’re enjoying it in the great air-conditioned indoors.

    Here’s our original review of Angry Orchard Cider. The company website is

    Ever since we published our review of the best organic hot dogs, Applegate has become our brand of choice.

    Applegate has always used meat from animals that are humanely raised and antibiotic free. Made with only beef, water, sea salt and spices, the dogs are also lower in fat, with less salt than other brands.

    Now, the beef is 100% grass fed, something of interest to healthier eaters. Compared with other types of beef, grass-fed beef typically has:

  • Less total fat.
  • More heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
  • More antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E.
  • More conjugated linoleic acid, a type of fat that’s thought to reduce heart disease and cancer risks.
    Learn more at


    Since their launch by Nabisco in 2012, belVita has been a favorite breakfast and snack item at our office and a Top Pick Of The Week. We prefer the original crunchy biscuits to the subsequent Soft Baked and Biscuit Bites variations.

    Recently, Cranberry Orange was added to belVita’s crunchy flavors. Along with Blueberry and Chocolate, it’s a favorite. The line is certified kosher (dairy) by OU. Discover more at

    Halfpops, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week, has added two new flavors to originals Butter & Sea Salt and Aged White Cheddar.

    The newcomers, Caramel & Sea Salt and Chipotle Barbeque, are equally delicious. The line is certified kosher (dairy) by OU, and certified gluten free. Find the retailer nearest you at



    Nonni’s Thin Addictives, a lower-calorie alternative to biscotti, has released Mango Coconut Almond Thins.

    It joins Banana Dark Chocolate, Blueberry Oat Almond, Cinnamon Raisin, Cranberry Almond and Pistachio as a crunchy side to coffee and tea.

    The line is certified kosher (parve) by MK, a Montreal certifier (the product is made in Canada). Discover more at


    Flat, crunchy Pretzel Crisps are another favorite snack. We used the Dark Chocolate & Peppermint and White Chocolate & Peppermint flavors as stocking stuffers last December, and extolled the Sriracha & Lime flavor more recently.

    Now, there are four gluten-free varieties that taste just as good as the conventional versions: Gluten Free Original Minis, Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Flavored Crunch Minis, Gluten Free Salted Caramel Minis and Gluten Free Vanilla Yogurt Flavored Crunch Minis.

    From Deli Style to Minis to Modern Classics to Everyday Indulgents and Holiday Indulgents, there are quite a selection of Pretzel Crisps. See the whole line at The line is certified kosher (dairy) by OU.



    Chipotle Barbeque joins Caramel & Sea Salt in the Halfpops line. Photo courtesy Halfpops.


    Quaker has introduced new Quick 3-Minute Steel Cut Oats, which delivers the same hearty texture and nutty taste that has made steel cut oats our favorite—but with a far more convenient cook time.

    Available in plain oats in canisters, and flavored individual pouches: 3-Minute Blueberries & Cranberries and Cinnamon and Sugar. Discover more at

    Some people like a lighter brew for the hot weather, and Samuel Adams offers a good selection. Two new lighter brews for summer refreshment include Downtime Pilsner, a “laid-back” golden pilsner, and Rebel Rider IPA, a hoppy West Coast-style IPA with a lighter body. These new brews are joined by traditional summer favorites, Boston Lager, Porch Rocker and Summer Ale.

    Also new, from the Small Batch Collection, is Honey Queen, a blend of mead and beer. Dating back to the 12th century, this combination is known as a braggot—a new word for our Beer Glossary. It’s brewed with three different honeys, complex hops and chamomile for a tart sweetness with a lovely honey finish.

    Learn more at



    PRODUCT: Halo Top Low Calorie, High Protein Ice Cream


    Good stuff, fewer calories. Above, Chocolate
    and Lemon Cake. Photo courtesy Halo Top


    When we were first offered samples of Halo Top, we accepted but wondered: How good could an ice cream be at 70 or 80 calories per serving? The calories are so low, the carton promotes them in big numerals on the front of the package: 240 or 280, depending on the flavor.

    Many of the ice creams we eat contain that many calories in 1/4 cup! Otherwise stated, this ice cream has one-quarter the calories of premium brands.

    Yes, this is great ice cream for people who like to consume it by the pint.

    Halo Top was developed by an attorney who felt guilty about his ice cream habit. The lower-calorie ice ceams on the market had artificial ingredients he wanted to avoid. So he took a year and a half to develop a brand that met his criteria: all-natural, non-GMO, hormone-free milk and cream, greatly reduced calories and greatly increased protein (a major “guilt-free” factor).

    Each pint has 24 g protein. By comparison, Breyers has 10.4 g protein per pint.

    Equally noteworthy is the taste: Made with top-shelf ingredients like Belgian chocolate, organic fruits, organic cane sugar, cage-free eggs and hormone-free milk and cream, these are lovely pints!

    The line currently includes:

  • Birthday Cake*, with rainbow sprinkles
  • Chocolate, made with Belgian cocoa powder
  • Lemon Cake, textured with lemon zest
  • Mint Chip, with Belgian chocolate chips
  • Mocha Chocolate Chip*, made with Belgian chocolate chips and cocoa powder
  • Strawberry*, made with organic strawberries
  • Vanilla Bean, made with organic Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Vanilla
    *This flavor has 280 calories per pint. Flavors without an asterisk have 240 calories.



    The calories are reduced by substituting part of the sugar for non-caloric stevia and erythritol, both natural ingredients. The extra protein comes from milk protein concentrate and prebiotic fiber.

    It’s an inspired approach, a boon to ice cream fans who eat too much of it and would like to cut back somehow.

    This is how. We affirm that the ice cream deserves its halo—represented by a gold circle on the rim of the pint.

    The line is certified kosher by KOF-K and certified gluten free.

    Discover more at, including a store locator.



    Each pint has a golden halo. Photo courtesy Halo Top Creamery.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Decorate Your Ice Cream Cones


    Decorate your ice cream cones with a topping and whipped cream. Photo courtesy
    Quest Nutrition.


    Another tip for National Ice Cream Month: cones with toppings!

    Those who buy cones at a scoop shops know the joy of selecting toppings (and chagrin that you want more than will fit on a scoop of ice cream). Why not port the practice to your home?

    You don’t even have to buy sprinkles. Use what you have at home:

  • Bananas, berries or other fruit
  • Cereal/granola (we like Cheerios, Corn Flakes or Raisin Bran)
  • Cookies, crushed
  • Candies (junior Mints)
    The finishing touch: whipped cream. You can buy Reddi-Whip in vanilla or chocolate flavors; or if you have a cream whipper, make a gourmet flavor.


    Instead (or in addition to) whipped cream, you can dip and decorate your cones:

  • With sanding sugar or edible glitter
  • With sprinkles
    It takes only a minute to change a perfectly yummy ice cream cone into something wonderful.


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