Monday, November 9, 2009

In Season - Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

(Cue the low-lying fog, pipe organ music and howls of distant wolves.) Late last night, while quaking beneath quilted blankets and listening to the heater breathing disjunctively in deep gulps and groans.

I began to believe my old dark house was speaking to me in an angry language of creaks and moans.Suddenly I was startled by the sound of hysterical sobbing - or was it laughing?

Frantically peeking through my bedroom window, I suffered an electric shock when I saw shadows scattering through my open-gated backyard underneath the blood-red moon.

Must be the season of the witch. Oh the heck with that, it must be the season of "three treats and a trick," the new collection of confections from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams.

Ice cream is always seasonal at Jeni's, as this superlative company embraces the use of local produce and thematically timely ingredients for its spectacular desserts. So naturally, during this Halloween party period, it offers limited-time specials that are very October-appropriate.

Jeni's describes the recently released harvest-season three treats thusly: "Pumpkin Five Spice ice cream - roasted Ohio-grown heirloom pumpkins seasoned with five-spice; Red Hot Apple Cider sorbet - fresh pressed Ohio apple cider spiced with lots of red-hot cinnamon; Smoked Chocolate with Handmade Marshmallows - Lapsang Souchong tea infuses this rich chocolate ice cream with a smoky flavor."

As for the trick, it's a delicious "reversed root beer float" made with great freshly whipped cream on top of vanilla soda poured over Jeni's rockin' root beer ice cream (get it?).

Well, considering the aforementioned sobbing and shadow-scattering turned out to be my neighbor coming over to borrow a cup of Jeni's Salty Caramel because he'd just run out (and knows I'm always holding), I decided to check out the new, enticing tricks and treats and report back to him - as well as to you hungry hobgoblins.

• Pumpkin Five Spice One bite of this great pumpkin might have you asking "is grandma turning her pies into ice cream?" It's pale creamsicle-colored, speckled with goodies and tastes of pumpkins and cream with a restrained amount of spicing (check it out in sundae form paired with warm toffee pecan sauce, whipped cream and a shortbread cookie "witch's finger").

• Red Hot Apple Cider sorbet This cider house rules! It's bubble-gum-colored, really fun and, like all of Jeni's sorbets, surprisingly smooth in texture. The sharp Hot Tamales-like red-hot cinnamon candy flavor is rounded off by a tangy, genuine-tasting, juicy apple cider rush.

• Smoked Chocolate with Handmade Marshmallows Here, the super-satisfying and comforting milk chocolate base finishes with a highly unexpected mouthful of smoky essence (from the tea). The excellent homemade marshmallows provide a color and textural contrast and even evoke puffs of smoke trapped in the light brown ice cream - as well as hanging around a ghost-story-telling campfire.


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