The first thing you might notice when flipping through Amanda and Merrill's new book, A New Way to Dinner, is that they love gussying up store-bought ice cream.
When we make ice cream, we do it because we love making ice cream, not because we need to. We live in a happy time (for the freezer section at least) when most grocery stores carry great quality ice cream in increasingly interesting flavors. Talenti, Haagen-Dazs, Jeni’s, Graether’s and SoCo Creamery are just a few of our favorite brands.
With excellent ice cream as a base, you’re just minutes away from a more fancy-pants dessert, something that you can put together as easily for your kids on a weeknight as for guests at a weekend dinner party.
We lean on store bought ice cream all the time, as you’ll see in our upcoming book, A New Way to Dinner. Here are some of our mini-recipes from the book for gussied-up ice creams, organized by flavor base:
Affogato: Pour a shot of your best espresso over a scoop of the highest quality ice cream you can find; e finito!
Vanilla Ice Cream with Rhubarb Compote: Here’s a (not)recipe: Cook down virtually any fruit with a little sugar and some aromatics (citrus zest, wine or port, spices), then spoon it—hot or cold—over ice cream.
Toasted Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Ice Cream: Toast slices of leftover or store-bought cake (angel food is also good here) and while it’s still warm, plop on a scoop of ice cream; the cake will start to absorb the melting ice cream as you eat it, which is a good thing.
Banana, Kefir, and Maple Shakes: blend up a ripe banana, some tangy kefir, and vanilla (or even coffee) ice cream, and sweeten with maple syrup.
Peppermint Stick Ice Cream: Crush candy canes or starlight mints and blend them into softened vanilla ice cream for a minty take on a blizzard.
Crispy Crunchy Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Ice Cream: For an ice cream sandwich with some crunch, sandwich crisp oatmeal cookies (store bought or homemade) with scoops of softened chocolate ice cream; wrap and keep in the freezer until you’re ready to eat them.
Chocolate Ice Cream with Toasted Brioche Crumbs, Almonds, and Salt: A great use for leftover brioche or challah. Pull the bread into bite-size pieces and toast them, sprinkled with honey, chopped almonds, and flaky salt, on a baking sheet. Crumble the mixture over chocolate ice cream.
Chocolate Ice Cream with Hot Honey and Maraschino Cherries: By maraschino cherries, we mean the real deal, not the technicolor cherries from the grocery store. Here’s a source for the good kind. Drop a few of these cherries over scoops of chocolate ice cream and spackle with Mike’s Hot Honey.
Chocolate Ginger Ice Cream Sandwich: Smoosh a mound of chocolate ice cream between chewy, peppery molasses ginger cookies.
Ginger Syrup over Ice Cream: Infuse simple syrup with sliced fresh ginger and use it to perk up plain Jane vanilla.
Tell us: How do you gussy up store-bought ice cream?
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).Order now