My Summer of Scoops




Strawberry Blueberry Gelato

I picked up a Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet and Ice Cream Maker mid-May, and it’s been a permanent fixture on my counter for the entire summer.  I’d grown accustomed to waiting half an hour for my ice cream mixtures to freeze in my $30 Rite Aid special I’d bought, half off, three summers ago. So it was pure revelation after I wandered into the University Village Williams Sonoma and impulsively picked up a $150 model marked down to 60–sweet!–and it came with an extra freezer bowl for one-after the other flavor endeavors–double scoop sweet!  The revelation occurred when I pulled out my newly-acquired ice cream bible, David Leibovitz’s The Perfect Scoop and christened the Cuisinart ;) with the first recipe I’d selected, Avocado. The pale green mixture, avocado blended with sour cream, sugar, 1/2 and 1/2, and Mexican vanilla froze up to a thick soft serve in 5 minutes. Ridiculous.

Gryphon, my cat, claimed the empty Cuisinart box to hide in (and from which to periodically shoot out unexpectedly underfoot).

I’ve been whipping up frozen confections ever since.

Gryphon in the Cuisinart box


A little obsessively, perhaps. Kristin and Cody suggested maybe I need to go out on a date. And after I sat down with a tablet and wrote out a list of the flavors I developed over the summer, I tend to agree.  Just working on my technique, I guess.

Still, no one has complained outright. ;)

Obsession, or Passion?

Passion . . . or Obsession?

Here’s the list of 18 flavors I recalled:

Avocado Ice Cream

Cheesecake Ice Cream with

crushed graham cracker topping

Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

Bitter Chocolate Sorbet (the only flop)

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Blackberry Jam Swirl (x3)

Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Caramelized Banana Ice Cream

Blueberry Sorbet

Strawberry Sorbet

Strawberry Blueberry Gelato

Leche Merengada (Spanish Frozen Meringue)


Peach Ice Cream

Toasted Coconut Ice Cream

Banana Nutella

Blueberry Pluot Apricot Ice Cream

Peach Nectarine Plum Sorbet

Double Chocolate Stracciatella (Italian. Ice cream with streaks of chipped chocolate)





...Ice Cream (Agave Nectar, cocoa, unsweetened chocolate, egg yolks, 1/2 &1/2, salt)

...Ice Cream (Unsweetened chocolate, agave nectar, cocoa, egg yolks, 1/2 &1/2, salt)

The 3 flavor requests in the ice cream queue are a Rocky Road with homemade marshmallow cream, chocolate mint (which I think I will upgrade to a Stracciatella), and just in tonight, cardamom. That last one sounds perfect for fall, I think, and since it’s one of my very favorite spices, I’ll be happy to oblige. A couple others I can’t wait to get to: Olive Oil Ice Cream (Looks like Molly Moon just added this flavor; I saw it on the menu of their ice cream truck at the Melrose Market today), and Orange Szechuan.

With the exception of the gelato, which came from the Ciao Bella Book of Gelato & Sorbeto, just out this year, and the sorbets (which I never look at a recipe for), most of these flavors are Leibovitz’s recipes. I made the leap on my own from peanut butter to Nutella, and Kristin suggested the banana :) .  I opted to eliminate the sugar, despite all online recipes suggesting otherwise. I figured ripe bananas and the sweet paste would be enough. I presented it at Nate’s BBQ, grabbed a scoop for myself, went into the kitchen to wash my hands, and by the time I returned, the quart had been reduced to an inch. And in tonight’s experiment, the Stracciatella had its sugar replaced with agave nectar . . . and gauging from the party guest who adamantly proclaimed it “Killer!” I’d say no one was the wiser.


If I had to pick a favorite flavor out of all these, I’d say Avocado. Maybe part of it is sentiment, but I also thought it perfect because it didn’t beg to be eaten in large quantities…so rich and so unusual that a couple spoons was satisfying. And I loved the fact that nearly everyone reacted the same to it. First, with a bit of scrunch to the face, wanting to expect it would be too odd to be good, and then the total dawning as they realized how damn delicious it was.

A close second would be the Spanish frozen meringue. Lightly scented with lemon and cinnamon, the texture was as near an exact replication of the texture of snow as I could imagine–Cody and I couldn’t stop sneaking spoons of it.

For my birthday, I snuck a quart of the Peanut Butter with Blackberry Swirl into the IMAX to share with 16 friends; I covertly passed Dixie cups down two aisles, and shared another batch at the office. I get requests for this one, so this would be a sure contender for my future imagined ice cream shop. Or for distribution in grocery stores–I mean, really. How is it possible that this flavor isn’t already there?

4 ice creams, clockwise from left: Peach Nectarine Plum, Double Chocolate Stracciatella, Peanut Butter with Blackberry Jam, Blueberry Pluot Apricot

4 ice creams, clockwise from left: Peach Nectarine Plum, Double Chocolate Stracciatella, Peanut Butter with Blackberry Jam, Blueberry Pluot Apricot


I am planning to embrace fall. I’m looking forward to things like a rustic double apple cake, spicy fruit crisps, and lots and lots of savory soups.

Happy Autumn. Thanks for the great summer.





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11 comments to My Summer of Scoops

  • Yummy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • WarPig

    Have you tried Splenda or another sweetener that is suitable for diabetics? I’d be very interested in the results. I am not currently a diabetic, but as a Viet Nam vet and half American Indian I am likely doomed to get it sometime. But, to try and keep it as far off as possible, I am trying to work in diabetic-friendly foods into my diet.

  • I am always aware that people want less sugar; in fact, I almost never put as much sugar as an ice cream recipe calls for. My intent is to focus on flavor, not sweetness. And since I do know diabetics, I have been on the lookout. Most “sugar-free” recipes have such an awful amount of sweetener, I tend to pass. I can taste when something has Splenda in it (though I’ve been told I shouldn’t be able to do this), and I think it’s disgusting. I’ve read that agave nectar is a suitable replacement for many diabetics because of its low glycemic index, but I have yet to have a real, live diabetic comment on this.

    In the meantime, WarPig, my sugar-free Chocolate Mousse is excellent (whether you’re into sugar or not at the moment):

  • WarPig

    I thank you,. I will try it when I buy a new ice cream maker (mine died). A Cuisinart would be great but unless I can find a deal such as yours, it will have to wait until after Christmas as I am behind on my gift-buying.

    I do love Italian gelato. I also like frozen custard as it has a much smoother texture than regular ice cream. Fruit sorbets, though, is what I used my ice cream maker for the most. Mix watermelon and blood oranges and a very little honey (I know) and put it in the small watermelon shell from whence you got the watermelon. People will be asking you what the other flavor is in the watermelon since they cannot identify it by color.

    I can taste Splenda, too, but it is the least worst of the artificial sweeteners since the Food Nazis and sugar/corn syrup industries took away cyclamate. There is a new one out, Natura or Nutro or something like that, but it is still horridly expensive. Tasted okay. There used to be a sweetener called Sweet One, which was the best tasting sweetener I’d tried. It had one or no calories per packet (can’t remember which) and I could not tell the difference between it and sugar – whether on Wheaties, cinnamon toast, strawberries, or in tea. (I add nothing to my coffee unless it is bad coffee.) But I cannot find it anymore locally and buying it off the internet is ridiculous. A 5-pound bulk bag is some $30, not counting S&H.

  • WarPig

    Oh, PS: Here in rural Ohio, finding Agave nectar is going to be tough. I can’t even buy “dutch processed” cocoa powder at any grocery within a 60-mile radius. When I watch cooking shows and they say “you can find it at any grocery store,” I laugh. I live within 60 miles of Columbus, Dayton, Springfield and Cincinnati, Ohio and I still have trouble finding ingredients that are “commonly available” on both coasts.

    I think there should be a cooking show for middle America.

  • No need to wait and buy an ice cream maker to make the Chocolate Mousse…it’s not frozen. And you can make my lemon ice cream without a maker as well!

    Re: Agave Nectar . . . if it’s made it to South Dakota (where I’m from), then I’m sure it’s landed in Ohio . . . somewhere. ;)

    I think there should be a “Real Housewives” show for middle America. j.k.

    Thanks for all the awesome commentary.

  • I love you. And I want some Guinness-milk chocolate ice cream!

  • I don’t eat much sugar, and ice cream is the only desert I actually crave. Chris gave me a beautiful Donvier ice cream maker, but our fridge does not have a powerful enough freezer for it to work properly. Someday, however, I will move into an apartment with a real fridge, and then I will work my way down your list.

  • I’ll have to do a post explaining how to do ice cream without an ice cream maker. There’s more steps to it, but it’s nothing as arduous as a hand crank or anything. I’m making up a flavor based on an ice cream someone was telling me they make in Mississippi: Banana Pudding Ice Cream. So I’ve roasted and caramelized some bananas, made a vanilla-scented whipped cream, and vanilla wafers are freezing. Just hope it all works in the assembly.

  • But I want to use my ice cream maker! Seriously, our freezer is crappy. It can’t even make ice cubes.

    In the mean time, I’ll just have to drool over your ice cream pics.

  • WarPig, where do you live? I grew up in southern Ohio, in the village of Morrow, in Warren County (where Kings Island is). I also lived in Cleveland for 9 years.