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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

JULY 4th: Patriotic Milkshake Recipe

For a dessert or snack over July 4th weekend, serve these patriotic shakes. They were designed by QVC’s chef David Venable.


Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1/4 cup + 4 teaspoons strawberry syrup, divided (recipe below)
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2-1/4 cups strawberries and cream ice cream
  • 1-1/4 cups quartered fresh strawberries
  • 1-1/3 cups whole milk
  • 4 ounces whipped cream (you can substitute frozen whipped topping)
    *You can use leftover strawberry syrup in club soda, cocktails, iced tea, lemonade, on angel food cake and pound cake, ice cream, pudding, sorbet etc.

    1. PLACE the blueberries and 1/4 cup of strawberry syrup into a medium-size bowl. Mix until the blueberries are fully coated. Refrigerate until needed.



    Drink the patriotic colors. Photo courtesy QVC.


    2. DRIZZLE 1 teaspoon of strawberry syrup in a spiral design on the inside of four tall glasses (we used a squeeze bottle). Freeze until needed.

    3. PLACE the ice cream, strawberries and milk in a blender with a large pitcher. Mix until smooth, 40–60 seconds. Pour into the prepared milk shake glasses.

    4. TOP each glass with 1 ounce whipped cream and the blueberry mixture, dividing evenly among the 4 glasses. Serve immediately.



    Buy strawberry syrup or make your own. Photo courtesy Tide and Thyme; here’s their recipe.



    Cook time is 25 minutes, total time is 40 minutes. The syrup should last, refrigerated, for 4-6 weeks. You can substitute any berries in this recipe,

    Ingredients For 3-1/2 Cups

  • 2 pounds strawberries
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar

    1. RINSE, hull and pat dry the strawberries. Cut into small pieces and place in a medium sauce pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil.

    2. REDUCE to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, skimming any foam. After 20 minutes, the strawberries should be pale and the liquid should be a deep pink color. Remove the pan from the heat.

    3. STRAIN the strawberry liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a clean pot. DO NOT press down on the berries to extract more juice; it will make the syrup cloudy. Discard the berries.


    4. ADD 2 cups of sugar to the liquid and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes till the sugar is completely dissolved, skimming any foam.

    5. REMOVE from the heat and cool completely. Pour into a glass container, tightly cap and refrigerate.



    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Strawberry Parfait Day

    Today is National Strawberry Parfait Day.

    We just published a July 4th breakfast parfait recipe, but the original parfait was made from ice cream.

    In the U.S., a parfait is a layered sundae. It can be simple, with alternating layers of ice cream and syrup, or a mélange of ingredients as shown.

    Parfait is the French word for “perfect.” The word means something different in France: It’s the original French sundae, made with a custard-base ice cream (“French” ice cream) flavored with fruit purée and whipped with a lot of air to a delicate texture.

    In a French parfait, the ice cream is not scooped but pre-frozen in individual serving containers—typically the long, tapered parfait glasses, narrower versions of sundae dishes. In America, a “parfait” became a particular type of sundae, different from the French parfait. An American parfait layers syrup and other garnishes between layers of ice cream, instead of adding them all on top like a sundae.

    Check out the different types of ice cream preparations in our Ice Cream Glossary.


    quark with strawberries

    Strawberry parfait. Photo courtesy Island Farms.



    In the U.S., different types of parfait bases are used. Choose from this list to build your own, layer by layer:
    Parfait Base

  • Ice cream/frozen yogurt
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt
  • Whipped cream

  • Fresh or frozen berries
  • Other fresh fruit, sliced or diced (bananas, mango, anything goes)
    Cake & Cookies

  • Cake cubes, plain or toasted
  • Crumbled cookies

  • Custard
  • Fruit purée
  • Whipped cream

  • Berry
  • Chocolate shavings/chips
  • Coconut
    One great thing about parfaits: You’ll never run out of combinations!



    RECIPE: Gin Milkshake


    It’s not so innocent. Photo courtesy Butter & Scotch | Brooklyn.


    Saturday, June 13th is World Gin Day. Celebrate by making a gin milkshake: gin, vermouth and ice cream!

    If the concept sounds strange to you, think of all the sweet drinks made with heavy cream, from Brandy Alexander to Irish Coffee to White Russian. This recipe simply uses “frozen cream.”

    Not a gin lover? Substitute rum, tequila or vodka.

    This recipe is by Allison Kave from Butter & Scotch in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. She calls it a Bloodhound Shake, and makes it with Carounn gin, a small-batch Scottish gin made with foraged Celtic botanicals.
    Ingredients Per Serving

  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 1 scoop strawberry ice cream
  • Garnishes: whipped cream, strawberry slice

    1. COMBINE all ingredients in a blender and mix until blended.

    2. POUR into a parfait glass or a pint glass. Top with whipped cream and a slice of fresh strawberry.

    If you like the gin milkshake, check out these ice cream floats with liqueur.



    FREE: 5/12 Is Free Cone Day At Häagen-Dazs


    Yours free on Tuesday, May 12th. Photo
    courtesy Häagen-Dazs.


    Tuesday, May 12th is Free Cone Day at participating Häagen-Dazs shops, from 4-8 pm local time.

    It’s a standard* size sugar cone or cake cone or small cup with your choice of ice cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet in a cup, sugar cone or cake cone.

    Here’s your chance to try two of H-D’s new artisan flavors (also available at the grocer’s):

  • Chocolate Caramelized Oat ice cream
  • Banana Rum Jam ice cream

    With flavors developed by American food artisans, the new collection includes:

  • Applewood Smoked Caramel Almond
  • Banana Rum Jam
  • Ginger Molasses Cookie
  • Spiced Pecan Turtle
  • Tres Leches Brigadeiro
    Here’s more about the Artisan Collection.
    Find a participating shop near you.

    And a smart idea from H-D: Guests who want to purchase items may bypass the line of people who are waiting for free scoops.

    *H-D calls it “kiddie size.”



    TIP OF THE DAY: Ice Cream Bar

    How about a make-your-own-sundae ice cream and/or sorbet bar for Mother’s Day?

    It’s easy to put together. The biggest challenge is how to keep the ice cream cold on a buffet table. We use a punch bowl filled with ice, and nestle pints into the ice.

    Use a hot plate to keep caramel and chocolate sauces warm.

    Then, make these decisions:


    For a group of 8, we recommend four pints of ice cream and/or frozen yogurt. If your group includes people who avoid dairy, make one or two of them sorbet. Easy decisions:

  • Chocolate ice cream/yogurt
  • Vanilla ice cream/yogurt
  • Mango sorbet
  • Raspberry sorbet


    The most fun dessert: make your own sundae. Photo courtesy Smucker’s.



    Easy decisions:

  • Candies: M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, toffee bits
  • Chocolate chips
  • Chopped nuts
  • Sliced strawberries
    For a more elaborate offering, consider brownie cubes, crushed almond nougat or peanut brittle, mini meringues and other favorites.

    Consider if your guests are the types who’d want maraschino cherries as the crown on the sundae. We prefer these Bahlsen Waffeletten, rolled waffle cookies dipped in milk or dark chocolate.


    The Inspired Room knows how to do it up right. They pre-pack the ice cream into hinged jars and keep them cold in a tub of ice. For neatness, the sauces go into syrup dispensers. Check out their article on the topic. Photo courtesy The Inspired Room.



    Easy decisions:

  • Chocolate/fudge
  • Raspberry or strawberry sauce/purée (for the sorbet)
  • Salted caramel
  • Whipped cream

    You may need to borrow some extra ice cream scoops, or use serving spoons.

    Use whatever dishes you have: bowls, mason jars, wine glasses or the easiest option, 9-ounce hard plastic party cups.

    Check out these hinged-lid storage jars. A set of 12 is $48, which is a reasonable investment if you’re planning on summer entertaining.
    Send us your ice cream party tips!




    FOOD FUN: Ice Cream Tacos


    Ice cream tacos: olé! Photo courtesy Taste
    Of Home.


    How about ice cream tacos for Cinco de Mayo?

    You can make them the easy way, with frozen round toaster waffles, or make crunchy pizzelles and fold them into taco-like shells.

    But we adapted this recipe from Taste Of Home, which uses actual tortillas. As a neater alternative to tacos, you can form the tortillas into a bowl (drape them over an actual dessert bowl).

    Prep time is 20 minutes. With all due respect to Klondike’s Choco Tacos, these taste a lot better!


    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 pint ice cream of choice
  • 4 plain 6″ or 8″ tortillas
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil

    Choice Of Toppings

    Select two toppings; you’ll need two tablespoons of each.

  • Chocolate chips or other baking chips or shaved chocolate (see below)
  • Mini candies: M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, marshmallows
  • Shredded coconut
  • Chopped honey peanuts, pecans or other nuts
  • Diced banana, kiwi, mango or strawberries

  • Caramel or fudge sauce
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream and sprinkles



    Chocolate shavings. Photo courtesy Hebert Chocolate.

    1. COMBINE the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle on one side of each tortilla.

    2. HEAT the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the tortillas, one at a time, with the cinnamon side up. When the tortilla starts to brown, fold it into a taco shape and drain on paper towels.

    3. USING the same skillet, cook and stir the pecans for 2 minutes or until lightly toasted.

    4. ASSEMBLE: Line up the taco shells in a baking dish to keep them upright, open-side up. Place two small scoops of ice cream in each tortilla shell; add the toppings, drizzle with sauce and finish with the whipped cream.


    To shave chocolate or make chocolate curls, start with your favorite chocolate bars—solid, without nuts or other inclusions.

    1. WARM the chocolate bar in a microwave for 3 seconds. Use a vegetable peeler to scrape down the side (not the front/back) of the bar, forming curls.

    2. PLACE the chocolate curls on a wax paper-covered dish or baking pan and refrigerate until firm. It is easiest to move the curls with toothpicks.



    PRODUCT: Ciao Bella Gelato & Sorbetto


    Blueberry and passion fruit unite in swirls
    of sorbetto. Photo courtesy Ciao Bella.


    Ciao Bella, maker of premium gelato and sorbetto, recently introduced two new flavors, and sent us samples. We’re longtime fans of Ciao Bella. Before they hit the big time, they were a destination scoop shop in our town—way back in 1983.

    So we weren’t surprised at how much we liked the new varieties, both comprising two swirled flavors:

  • Blueberry Passion Fruit Sorbetto swirls gentle blueberry sorbet with sweet-tart passion fruit. The result: a beautiful and refreshing dessert that tastes like summer.
  • Chocolate Mascarpone Gelato swirls sweet, rich double cream gelato with hearty milk chocolate gelato, creating perhaps the best chocolate and vanilla swirl ever.
    The flavors are available now at Whole Foods Market locations nationwide, $4.99 per 14-ounce container. For more information visit

    We love ice cream and gelato* experience made us realize how truly wonderful a finet sorbet is. The emphasis is on “fine.”

    Because sorbet made with the best quality fruit can be transformative—the experience of soft, frozen fruit as opposed to a sweet, frozen dessert.

    While the gelato comforted us with its creaminess, the sorbetto woke our taste buds and made them dance. We felt not only happy, but lucky to be tasting such a wonderful incarnation of blueberries and passion fruit.

    *In the U.S., there is no federal standard for gelato, so anything can be called gelato. However, here’s the difference between American ice cream and Italian-style gelato.



    Mascarpone is often refer to as Italian cream cheese; but please, don’t think of this rich, lush, soft fresh cheese as anything resembling a brick of foil-wrapped cheese† filled with gum.

    Made from cream, not milk, mascarpone is the richest fresh cheese, ranging in butterfat content from 70% to 75%. As points of reference:

  • A French double-crème Brie or Camembert has 60% to 75% butterfat.
  • French triple-crème cheeses must have a butterfat content of 75% or more.
  • Butter has a minimum of 80% fat in the U.S., 82% in France; going up to 86% for premium butters.
    Mascarpone is delicate in flavor, with a color not surprisingly like that of fresh cream. In the U.S., mascarpone is most often associated with desserts, especially the classic tiramisu or as a topping for berries.



    A dish of creamy mascarpone. Photo by Melody Lan | THE NIBBLE.

    But it can be used in savory recipes as well—pasta sauce, savory tarts/tartlets, stuffed chicken and tortas, among others. Wherever it goes, it adds to the creaminess and richness of the dish without overwhelming the taste.

    Pronounce It Correctly!

    Mascarpone may have the distinction of being the most misspelled and mispronounced cheese. Too many Americans call it “marscapone.”

    The correct pronunciation is mas-car-POH-neh. It is not, let us repeat not, mar-sca-POH-neh.

    The cheese is believed to have originated in the Lombardy region of Italy, in the late 1500s or early 1600s. Lombardy, in the northern part of the country (it includes the cities of Brescia, Cremona, Mantova, Milano and Sondrio), has a rich agricultural and dairy heritage.

    The name likely derives from “mascarpia,” the local dialect term for ricotta, because both ricotta and mascarpone are made by very similar processes. Mascarpone could have been a glorious accident in the preparation of ricotta. No cheese starter or rennet is used in its production; the moisture is drained from heavy cream using a small amount of citric acid and finely woven cloth.

    You can make it at home. Here’s a recipe.

    †Philadelphia Cream Cheese, for example, consists of milk and cream, whey protein concentrate, salt, carob bean gum, xanthan gum and cheese culture.



    RECIPE: Thomas Jefferson’s Vanilla Ice Cream

    Happy birthday Thomas Jefferson! Born April 13, 1743, this Founding Father became America’s third president; but he was America’s First Foodie.

    According to culinary historian Karen Hess, Jefferson was “our most illustrious epicure, in fact, our only epicurean President.”

    He loved his veggies, stating that they “constitute my principal diet.” His favorites: tennis-ball lettuce, Brown Dutch lettuce, prickly-seeded spinach and for fruit, Marseilles figs. He sought out new produce varieties from the foreign consuls in Washington, and is credited with introducing broccoli to mainstream America.

    He is credited with popularizing fried eggplant, French fries, johnny-cakes, gumbo, mashed potatoes, peanuts, sesame seed oil and sweet potato pudding, among other dishes, blending colonial cuisine with African (slave), Colonial, Creole, European and Native American traditions.[Source]

    At the time Jefferson left to serve as minister to France, in 1784, the mainstays of American colonial cooking were primarily meats—baked, boiled, roasted or stewed—breads, heavily sweetened desserts and [generally] overcooked vegetables. [Source]

    The sophistication of French cuisine and his travel to another culinary stronghold, Italy, broadened his perspective. He returned to America with recipes, foodstuffs (French wine, olive oil and vanilla beans) and cooking gear, including a pasta machine.



    Long before the invention of the crank ice cream machine, strong-armed kitchen staff would whisk the mix in a vat set in a bowl of ice. Photo courtesy Nielsen Massey.

    And with a French-trained chef: his slave James Hemings, brother of Sally. As a member of Jefferson’s Paris household, the 19-year-old was trained in French cooking at the direction of his master, with the promise that he would be given his freedom after returning to Monticello and training a successor.

    Ultimately taking charge of the kitchen at Jefferson’s Paris home, the gifted young man cooked for some of the most distinguished and discriminating people in France. As a freed man, he continued to work as a chef.



    In his own hand, Jefferson’s ice cream recipe. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.



    Upon his return from France in 1789, Jefferson brought 200 vanilla beans and an ice cream recipe. [Source:]

    There were no ice cream machines—the hand-cranked version had yet to be invented, in 1843—so strong-armed kitchen staff would hand-whisk the mixture in a bowl placed in a vat of ice.

    The result had a mousse-like consistency rather than the freezer-hardened ice cream we know today. But chilled and creamy, and flavored with exotic vanilla beans, it was a delight of high society (only the wealthy could afford the vanilla, the labor and the ice).

    Jefferson’s original, hand-written recipe is housed in the Library of Congress. Nielsen-Massey, vendor of premium vanilla beans from around the world, adapted the original recipe so you can make it at home.

    It calls for 1¼ cups of sugar, a saucepan and an ice cream maker, instead of a half-pound of sugar, an open cooking fire and a very strong person or two to churn it by hand.



  • 2 quarts heavy cream
  • 6 yolks of eggs
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean*

    1. WHISK together the egg yolks and sugar until creamy and lightened in color. Set aside.

    2. PLACE the cream in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise with the tip of a small knife. Scrape both sides of the bean with the knife’s dull side and add the seeds and bean to the cream. Place the saucepan over medium heat until the mixture is nearly boiling.

    3. REMOVE the cream mixture from the heat, and very slowly add ½ cup of the hot cream to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the now-warmed egg yolk mixture into the hot cream, whisking to combine.

    4. RETURN the saucepan to the stove, stirring constantly over medium heat until the mixture is thick and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Allow mixture to chill in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

    5. CHURN the ice cream in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

    *You can use Tahitian or Mexican vanilla beans in place of the conventional Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans to highlight different vanilla flavors. You can also susbstitute vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract: 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste is equivalent to 1 vanilla bean.



    FOOD FUN: Hello Kitty Ice Cream Cake

    Hello Kitty, whose “real” name is Kitty White, is a cartoon character produced by the Japanese company Sanrio. She is a white Japanese bobtail cat with a red hair bow.

    From her first appearance on a vinyl coin purse in Japan in 1974 (it arrived in the U.S. in 1976), Hello Kitty exploded into a global marketing phenomenon. Last year it had sales of $7 billion—all without any advertising. That’s a lot of hellos.

    Hello Kitty is the delight not only of pre-adolescent girls—the original target market—but teens, college and adult women as well. Her endearing face can be found on everything from school supplies to fashion accessories and high-end consumer products.

    We recently spotted a tiny Hello Kitty face on the temples of our friend Irma’s new eyeglasses. (She bought the glasses because she liked the style, and didn’t pay any attention to Kitty.)


    Hello Kitty Slice Out-230

    Say Hello Kitty, then enjoy a slice. Photo courtesy Rich Products.


    Now, Rich Products Cop. of Buffalo, maker of supermarket ice cream cakes, has licensed Kitty’s image.

    This cake is all ice cream with a Cool Whip-type frosting decor. The confetti on the sides of the cake is also mixed into the body of the cake.

    The cake is certified kosher dairy by KOF-K.

    Need a fun cake for a special occasion? Look for Hello Kitty in your grocer’s ice cream section. You can find Kitty at A&P, Big Y, Giant Eagle, King Kullen, King’s, Market Basket, Price Shopper, Publix, Redner’s, Shaws, Shop Rite, Target Wal-Mart, Wegman’s and other retailers.



    FOOD FUN: Red Waffle Cones & Love Potion Ice Cream


    Valentine treat: red waffle cone filled with
    Love Potion #31 ice cream. Photo courtesy Baskin-Robbins.


    If you’re ready to start celebrating Valentine’s Day, head to Baskin-Robbins for a red waffle cone and a couple of scoops of the flavor of the month, Love Potion #31. (That’s for B-R’s 31 flavors; there are no Love Potions #1 through #30).

    Love Potion #31 features white chocolate and raspberry ice creams, a raspberry ribbon, chocolate chips and raspberry-filled chocolate hearts. We love chocolate and raspberry, so thanks, B-R: This is right up our alley.

    Customers can enjoy a free red waffle cone with the purchase of any double scoop of ice cream at participating Baskin-Robbins shops nationwide.

    The Valentine offerings also include ice cream cakes in the shape of “conversation hearts,” with messages including Be Mine, Love You and XOXO. You can order the cakes online for pickup at your local Baskin Robbins.




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