Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Candied Bacon Ice Cream Recipe

Candied Bacon Ice Cream RecipeFor the candied bacon:
  • 5 strips bacon
  • about 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
For the ice cream custard:
  • 3 tablespoons (45g) salted butter
  • ¾ cup (packed) brown sugar (140g), light or dark (you can use either)
  • 2¾ (675ml) cup half-and-half
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons dark rum or whiskey
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. To candy the bacon, preheat the oven to 400F (200C).

2. Lay the strips of bacon on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or aluminum foil, shiny side down.

3. Sprinkle 1½-2 teaspoons of brown sugar evenly over each strip of bacon, depending on length.

4. Bake for 12-16 minutes. Midway during baking, flip the bacon strips over and drag them through the dark, syrupy liquid that’s collected on the baking sheet. Continue to bake until as dark as mahogany. Remove from oven and cool the strips on a wire rack.

5. Once crisp and cool, chop into little pieces, about the size of grains of rice.

(Bacon bits can be stored in an airtight container and chilled for a day or so, or stored in the freezer a few weeks ahead.)

6. To make the ice cream custard, melt the butter in a heavy, medium-size saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar and half of the half-and-half. Pour the remaining half-and-half into a bowl set in an ice bath and set a mesh strainer over the top.

7. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks, then gradually add some of the warm brown sugar mixture to them, whisking the yolks constantly as you pour. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.

8. Cook over low to moderate heat, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.

9. Strain the custard into the half-and-half, stirring over the ice bath, until cool. Add liquor, vanilla and cinnamon, if using.

10. Refrigerate the mixture. Once thoroughly chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the bacon bits during the last moment of churning, or stir them in when you remove the ice cream from the machine.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ice cream wars: Baskin lacks freshness; Cold Stone needs fan base

Ice cream wars: Baskin lacks freshness; Cold Stone needs fan baseAs the weather gets chillier, popular ice cream chains Baskin-Robbins and Cold Stone Creamery are still trying to attract customers with cold treats and hot desserts. Baskin-Robbins introduced the ice cream chain concept to Korea, while Cold Stone Creamery brought its unique concept of ice cream mixed on a cold granite stone.

Baskin-Robbins is perhaps the most popular ice cream chain, attracting a broad base of customers with its wide variety of ice cream and yogurt flavors, ice cream cakes and other desserts. But its franchise is showing signs of wear, as some stores are looking old and worn and the service is quite spotty.

On the other hand, Cold Stone Creamery offers ice cream creations or ice cream mixed with various candy, fruits, nuts and ingredients on a frozen granite slab. This unique concept is catching on, but the Cold Stone franchise has a long way to go to catch up with Baskin-Robbins.

Price-wise, Baskin-Robbins has a more affordable price point starting at 2,500 won for a scoop of ice cream. A small Cold Stone creation is more expensive at 3,800 won but it comes with different mix-ins.

Baskin-Robbins grows complacent

Baskin Robbins was started out as separate ice cream shops by brothers-in-law Burton Baskin and Irvine Robbins in California in 1945, but eventually merged as Baskin-Robbins in 1953. It was considered the pioneer in the franchising business for ice cream shops in the U.S.

The SPC Group, which also owns Paris Croissant and Shany, has grown Baskin-Robbins to become the most popular ice cream franchise in Seoul. You can find it almost everywhere, from the underground shopping areas to a neighborhood store to busy shopping districts.

The Baskin-Robbins store’s facade is typically decked out in bright colors and posters for the month’s new ice cream flavor and ``Hard Rock Yogurt.’’

At the counter, there are dozens of ice cream tubs with flavors ranging from the plain Vanilla to this month’s flavor Wizard’s Halloween. The names of the ice cream flavors are written in Korean and English. The calorie content is also provided for anyone who would like to compare calories of a scoop of Jamoca Almond Fudge (270 calories) versus Rainbow Sherbet (100 calories).

The huge poster of a delicious-looking scoop of yogurt mixed with toppings on a waffle dish was enough to make this reporter want to try it out. The Hard Rock Yogurt looked quite similar to one of those creations offered by Cold Stone Creamery.

But unfortunately, there was no chance to try out the Hard Rock Yogurt dessert. Despite being prominently advertised on the store’s posters, the staff at a branch in northern Seoul informed this reporter that it was ``out-of-stock.’’ Asked why it was no longer available, the staff just gave a shrug and said the other desserts were available.

But when this reporter tried to order a banana split, the staff said it was also unavailable, but no reason was also given.

The menu also featured various desserts, such as parfaits, banana split and ice cream fondue, as well as hot and cold drinks like cappuccino blast and hot chocolate. Running out of options, this reporter chose the brownie & ice cream combination, which was fortunately available but it took 10 minutes before being served.

When the dish came out, it was a disappointing mix of two scoops of ice cream, two slices of dry brownies, a dollop of melting whipped cream sprinkled with chocolate chips and a puddle of cherry sauce.

The Baskin-Robbins store looked slightly old, despite the colorful walls and decorations. Some of the tables had some balled-up pieces of tissue and paper, while some tables still had some plastic cups on it. There was also no available paper or plastic cups, or any pitcher of water for the customers at the counter.

Overall, Baskin-Robbins has seemed to have grown complacent at top of the ice cream chains in Korea. There should be more effort by the franchise to make sure that whatever products they so heavily advertise are actually available at the stores.

Cold Stone lacks fun

Cold Stone Creamery made a name for itself in the U.S., not just for mixing ice cream on a slab of frozen granite, but for its fun-filled atmosphere and good service. The ice cream chain was started in Tempe, Arizona in 1988 by founders Donald and Susan Sutherland, with their desire to serve the ``world’s best ice cream.’’

In Korea, Cold Stone Creamery opened its first outlet in Jongno in 2006. The master franchise for Korea is owned by CJ Foodville, which operates VIPS, Tous Le Jours, A Twosome Place, China Factory and The Place.

At Cold Stone, customers can choose from the ``creations’’ such as Strawberry Banana Rendezvous (strawberry ice cream, bananas, strawberries, pie crust and white chocolate chip) and Cheesecake Fantasy (cheesecake ice cream with blueberry, strawberry and pie crust). Customers can also build their own creation by choosing an ice cream flavor, adding choice of ingredients and mixing it all together. The result is what Cold Stone likes to call ``the ultimate ice cream experience.’’

Cold Stone has both Korean and English menus available, but there are no nutritional or calorie information available for its offerings. Even on the company website, nutritional information is given separately for ice cream and the mix-ins. This makes it hard for customers to find out exactly how much calories are in one bowl of ice cream creation.

This reporter ordered a ``love it’’ or medium-sized Chocolate Devotion. Based on Cold Stone’s nutritional information sheet, chocolate ice cream is 227 calories, chocolate chips are 120 calories, brownie is 170 calories and chocolate fudge is 90 calories, plus waffle bowl is 160 calories. This brings the total to a whopping 767 calories. This is perhaps why the company would rather not place the calorie count on the menu.

In the U.S., Cold Stone Creamery’s crew is known to burst into song whenever a customer puts some money in the tip jar. In Korea where there is practically no tipping culture, this sing-for-tips gimmick falls flat.

Many customers don’t even realize there is a tipping jar next to the cashier, with the sign ``We sing for donations.’’ At the time of this reporter’s visit, the jar was 1/4 full and there was no customer dropping any coins or bills in it.

Usually, the servers also try to spice up their routine by throwing ice cream scoops in the air and other tricks, but none of that was seen.

The only sort of excitement that Cold Stone offered was a spin-a-wheel promotion on the street. Anyone can line up and spin the wheel for a chance to get coupons for free waffle cups and size upgrades.

On its website, Cold Stone Creamery says that the first five words of its mission statement are ``We will make people happy.’’ But somehow the Korean franchise seemed to have missed that part, because there’s a dull and cold (pardon the pun) atmosphere that does not make Cold Stone Creamery any different from the other ice cream chains.

If Cold Stone Creamery wants to challenge Baskin Robbins in Korea, it has to work to make its stores livelier and more attractive for customers to come in and sample its delicious, albeit calorie-laden, ice cream creations.
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Nothing will stop the ice cream van appearing at the Crows Nest Festival

WHEN Alfio Coco’s wife had to go to hospital to have a baby two days before the Crows Nest Festival, he became worried. What if he missed the annual event?

Mr Coco has sold ice cream from his Bar Coco cafe van at the festival for the past 20 years. “My wife’s water broke on the Friday before and she said to me ‘you can’t miss the fair!’,” he said. Luckily, his daughter arrived before the Sunday and the Bar Coco van was in its usual spot on Willoughby Rd at the festival.

“It’s funny because she (his daughter, now five years old) loves the van, she says ‘it’s my van, it’s my business’,” he said. Perhaps in the future she will take over the business, which has been in the family for the past two generations. Mr Coco’s two uncles used to make ice-cream in Leichardt for 50 years.

Mr Coco used to work as a hairdresser in Crows Nest and helped out with the business during his spare time but soon decided to focus entirely on Bar Coco.

“I wanted to put all my attention to it,” he said. The free festival will celebrate its 21st anniversary this Sunday, October 17. Mr Coco missed the first festival because it was on a Saturday and he was working at the hairdresser’s, but the next year it was changed to a Sunday and he has been part of it since.

“I love it,” he said. “The atmosphere, the entertainment, the great stalls.”He said the only change he had noticed at the festival in the past 20 years was that it had grown “bigger and better”.

“I think in particular the entertainment makes people come back year after year. They always have number one entertainment with great bands.”

The festival, which attracts more than 40,000 people every year, will have 200 stalls, street performers, jumping castles, Sumo wrestling displays and four stages with musicians. It runs from 10am to 5pm.
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ice Pan, the next generation of ice cream

Ice Pan, the next generation of ice creamIce Pan is one of those places where several pop culture trends converge and form a genuinely pleasing little confectionary bubble. It is the current endpoint in a rising line of chain ice cream one-upmanship, the place where they not only mash in your chosen topping, but they also mash the ice cream into existence right in front of your eyes.

This is the Ice Pan experience: First, you select a base flavor from a long list of possibilities, including many fresh fruits, chocolate, green tea and red bean. Let's have strawberries this time. Then you choose a base liquid: whole milk, low-fat milk, skim milk or soy milk. Then, if you wish, you choose a topping — for instance, Reese's peanut butter cup. Your hard-working fresh ice cream masher throws the strawberries and the milk into a blender, whizzes it up and then dumps the liquid into his large, ultra-cold metal pan, and it instantly starts to freeze.

At this point, you realize that you may be, in fact, having a New Culinary Experience.

After about half a minute, once the stuff has gotten most of the way to frozen, your ice cream masher starts scraping up the frozen puddle. Watch closely because this is the really beautiful part of the experience: The frozen puddle breaks up into long, stiff crystals, and it looks sort of like a miniature version of Superman's Fortress of Solitude rising from the ice.

Then your masher really goes to work. He's got two kinds of terrifying implements — like large paint scrapers, but sharper, like what some evil chef-villain would wield in a "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie. And he proceeds to chop, flip, pound and mash the heck out of your ice cream until it's utterly smooth.

At some point, he has placed your single whole peanut butter cup on top of the mess and then proceeded to chop and pound it into oblivion with the rest. It's now clear that we need a word for this new job. I suggest cremista.

It looks like brutal, exhausting work. You get the sense that somewhere, in some kung fu movie yet to come, there will be a training montage where the ornery old master forces the arrogant young student to work at an Ice Pan for a year.

Ice Pan either arose from a sincere, Bill Nye-like love of the awesomeness of science or from the world's canniest pitch meeting: "What do people love? They sure love Cold Stone Creamery and that whole mash-in thing. And you know what else people love? Japanese choppy-choppy steakhouses. Let's combine the two!"

But if you look around, you'll start to notice another theme: The huge video displays show close-ups of cremistas pounding ice cream and flash the words "No pain, no gain" over and over again. The tip jars say, "Tipping makes our arms hurt less," which seems to imply that part of the store's pleasure is something akin to medieval entertainment — watching young, healthy workers flail and strain for your benefit — and tips.

What emerges from their labor, though, is quite pleasant — it's fresh, light and quite unlike any other ice cream. It has neither the light body of frozen yogurt, nor the airy fluffiness of churned ice cream. It feels like one of those Mexican frozen pops, the ones with some dairy in them, that's been pounded into submission.

The West Hollywood Ice Pan may be the only place you can experience the cutting edge of culinary technology next to a Target and a BevMo. (Other Ice Pan locations are in Tokyo and Las Vegas.) And here is a prediction: The next step in the high-concept ice cream store arms race will involve teenagers frantically milking dairy cows from an in-store herd.


LOCATION: 7100 Santa Monica Blvd., No. 135, West Hollywood; (323) 883-0267;

PRICE: Ice cream, $4 to $6 (50 cents per topping).

DETAILS: Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Credit cards accepted. Lot parking.
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Monday, October 11, 2010

China screams for ice cream

China screams for ice creamInternational Dairy Queen Inc., the U.S. fast-food and ice-cream chain owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., plans to increase its outlets in China by more than 60 percent by the end of next year.

The company aims to have more than 500 stores in the world’s most populous nation by December 2011 from more than 300 now, Jean Champagne, chief operating officer of Dairy Queen’s international groups division, said late last month in Shanghai. Dairy Queen, Nestle’s Haagen-Dazs and Allied Domecq’s Baskin-Robbins are setting up more stores in the world’s fastest-growing major economy as consumers in their home countries curtail spending in the wake of a global recession. China is Dairy Queen’s fastest-growing and second-largest market globally, trailing only the U.S.

Champagne said at a briefing, “As the country continues to develop, there will be a whole new customer base that will continue to know about DQ,” CEO John Gainor said at the same news conference. “We’re very excited about our growth in China.”

The Edina, Minn.-based chain plans to introduce 15 new flavors in China next year to cater to local customers, Champagne said. The new flavors will include goji berry, which will be exclusive to China, he said.

Dairy Queen targets 130 to 135 new outlets this year and more than 145 in 2011 in China, Champagne said.

While the company will continue to grow in Beijing and Shanghai, it also plans to expand in smaller cities, Gainor said.

“As China’s disposable income increases, it allows us to penetrate into second- and third-tier cities,” he said. “In the next 10 to 15 years, China will be a very significant part of our portfolio.”
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

2 oz Unsweetened chocolate
1/3 c Unsweetened cocoa pwdr
1 1/2 c Milk
2 Large eggs
1 c Sugar
1 c Whipping cream
1 t Vanilla extract


Melt the unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler over hot, not boiling, water.

Gradually whisk in the cocoa and heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. (The chocolate may “seize” or clump together. Don’t worry, the milk will dissolve it.)

Whisk in the milk, a little at a time, and heat until completely blended. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more.

Pour in the cream and vanilla and whisk to blend. Pour the chocolate mixture into the cream mixture and blend.

Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on your refrigerator.

Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer’s instructions.
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Who Makes the Best Beer Float in Los Angeles?

Skeptics, you may doubt that beer + ice cream = perfection in a glass, but around town there are plenty of bars and restaurants that make this concoction, and make it damn well. I was a doubter myself at first (you can't help but close your eyes and picture a generic, yellow-gold, frothing beer in what would be an ill-fated match with a scoop of supermarket brand HFCS-loaded ice cream, I know) but then realized the right beer plus the right ice cream is a delight.

So who makes the best Beer Float?

To address this urgent dessert-meets-refreshment issue, Food GPS is presenting the L.A. Beer Float Showdown II on October 10th at the Verdugo Bar, in which four teams meet up for a good old-fashioned beer float smackdown. It's one beer float each for the competitors, and then attendees vote on their favorites, and a winner is chosen. Last year's champ, The Golden State, couldn't make it this year to defend their title, so the field is wide open. And if you're still hungry after slurping down four beer floats, the Manila Machine and Mandoline Grill truck will be there to sell their tasty eats. Speaking of filling bellies, 50% of ticket sales will go to Share Our Strength, which means deserving bellies will get filled with much-needed nourishment.
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Halifax Pumpkin Ice Cream

Halifax Pumpkin Ice CreamMaritimers love to make their own ice cream according to Executive Chef Les Stevens of Delta Halifax and Executive Chef Jamie Mullett of Delta Barrington.

The traditional pumpkin pie is usually paired with a heaping scoop of ice-cream, so it seems natural to mix the two ideas into a sweet pumpkin ice cream.


1 1/2 cups of whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

1 teaspoon freshly-grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

5 large egg yolks

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup of pumpkin puree

Optional: 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier, rum or brandy


Make an ice bath by putting some ice and a little water in a large bowl and nest a smaller metal bowl inside it. Set a mesh strainer over the top.

In a medium saucepan mix the milk, cream, pumpkin, granulated sugar, ginger, ground cinnamon, cinnamon stick, nutmeg and salt.

Warm the mixture until hot and the edges begin to bubble and foam

Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl and gradually whisk in about half of the war spiced milk mixture, stirring constantly.

Scrape the warmed yolks back in to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.

Immediately pour the mixture through the strainer into the bowl nested in the ice bath. Mix in the brown sugar, then stir until cool, then chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.

Whisk in the vanilla, (and the liquor if using,) and pumpkin puree. Press the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, and then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
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Monday, October 4, 2010

Caramel Ice Cream Sundaes

Caramel Ice Cream SundaesNothing says comfort like a bowl of vanilla and dulce de leche ice creams topped with warm, vanilla-scented caramel sauce. If you can't find nut brittle, substitute toasted mixed nuts.


* 1 cup(s) sugar
* 1/4 cup(s) water
* 1/4 cup(s) heavy cream
* 4 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, cut up
* 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
* 1 pinch(s) salt
* 1 pint(s) dulce de leche ice cream
* 1 pint(s) vanilla ice cream
* Nut brittle.


1. In medium saucepan, stir sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until syrup turns amber. Remove pan from heat and carefully add heavy cream (mixture will sputter); stir to combine. Return to heat and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve any hard bits of caramel. Remove pan from heat and let cool 5 minutes. Whisk in butter, vanilla, and salt. Let sauce cool.

2. Scoop ice creams into sundae dishes. Spoon caramel sauce over ice cream and garnish with nut brittle.
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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Minden ice cream factory ceases operations

Minden ice cream factory ceases operationsThe merciless economy may have claimed its sweetest victim yet. Tahoe Creamery of Minden has shut down operations. On Friday, empty crates lay stacked in front of the manufacturing suite in the Meridian Business Park. Inside, the company's famous filler machine, once used to fill large quantities of paper pints, stood defunct, motionless, half covered in wrapping.

Two Tahoe Creamery pickup trucks remained parked outside, but no employees were in sight. A phone call to the head office ended in a recorded message saying, “Tahoe Creamery is no longer producing ice cream due to the stressful economic climate.

The news came as a shock to fans who have enjoyed the company's 150 homemade recipes in restaurants and stores all over the region, from the most popular flavor, blueberry, to Batters Up, once the official ice cream of the Reno Aces.

The news was especially shocking given the optimistic report from owner Greg Hoch in February. At the time, Hoch said business had quadrupled in the preceding year and that production had increased from 12,000 pints of ice cream to 26,000 pints a month. The product, company executives maintained, was reaching about 50 chain stores throughout Nevada and California.

“We've been blessed,” Hoch said in a previous interview. “We've been growing kind of fast. We don't even have time to sit down and analyze the numbers. They're coming in fast and furious.”

Hoch grew up on Shady Glen Dairy Farm in Manchester, Conn. In 2000, he moved with his family to Nevada and opened the Sierra Glen restaurant in Carson City. In 2004, after starting Tahoe Creamery in the back room of the restaurant, Hoch closed the Sierra Glen and opened the production facility off Airport Road.

The company first sold 2.5-gallon boxes of ice cream to restaurants and hotels before developing the pint-sized product known today.
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