The holidays are coming. So, I decided to start of list of great presents for ice cream lovers. Iâ€™ve got a couple of ideas that Iâ€™ll present over the next few weeks. Today Iâ€™ll go with the best stocking stuffer: An ice cream scoop. Ice cream scoops are one of those things that everyone has, but most people donâ€™t have the best one. Well, I do. I absolutely love my Oxo Ice Cream Spade. See, ice cream Spades are superior to scoops because you can get so much more ice cream out of the container. Itâ€™s wonderful. And I like Oxo because their handles are extra comfy. And I like their red logo. But, I digress. I honestly think that my Oxo Ice Cream Spade is the best scoop out there and that you wonâ€™t find a better stocking stuffer. But, if you donâ€™t like the spade, you should check out a few other ice cream scoops that Real Simple rated:
“The Original Zeroll $16
Zeroll’s aluminum scooper, a stalwart that’s been around since 1935, earned a thumbs-up for its effortless rolling motion, which yielded nearly flawless spheres every time. The thick handle is filled with a defrosting fluid that warms on contact with a bare hand, in turn heating the scoop. This, combined with the extra-deep bowl’s beveled edge, makes carving into a carton a cinch. Hand wash.
Best Added-Feature Ice Cream Scoop:
Oxo Good Grips Lever Scoop, $8
Testers tried scoops with a quick-release lever built into the handle (unwieldy for lefties and kids), a windshield wiperâ€“like sweeper built into the bowl (often clogged by chunky ice cream), and a squeeze-operated lever (hard to manage one-handed). This Oxo model beat them all hands down. The soft rubberized handle prevents slips when you’re dealing with hard ice cream (or when your fingers are slick with drippy meltdown), and the clever pop-up lever pushes the scoop right out of the bowl like a catapult: Scoop, pop, and serve. Next! Dishwasher-safe.
Best Mini-Scoop Ice Cream Scoop:
Stainless-Steel Mini Ambidextrous Scoop, $10
Mini scoops are perfect for gelato and sorbet, whose concentrated flavors satisfy cravings with smaller portions. This winning version has a thin metal blade that sweeps inside the bowl when the handle is pressed, unsticking the gelato and delivering a diminutive 1 1/2-inch-diameter globe every time. (With larger models, this type of mechanism often jammed. But here the combination of a smaller bowl and a spring-loaded, full-hand grip overpowered any potential clogs and sticks.) It carves a mean melon ball, too. Dishwasher-safe.”
Some people have asked why I write ice cream reviews. There are two main reasons for my writing ice cream reviews. First, I love ice cream. Second, I want others to be able to make good decisions about their ice cream. There are so many ice cream flavors available that sometimes itâ€™s hard to choose. (Well, I personally think itâ€™s always hard to choose just one flavor of ice cream). When I canâ€™t make a decision about something I read reviews. I go online and look for reviews about any sort of big purchase Iâ€™m making. I read Consumer Reports; and in DC we have Consumer Checkbook which has reviews for services like drying cleaning, insurance, car maintenance centers, and doctors. (I definitely want good reviews for a doctor). Anyway, I like reviews. And thatâ€™s why I decided to make a website about ice cream reviews. Ice cream is truly a part of American culture. And so is criticism. So, Iâ€™ll keep dishing up those ice cream reviews!
Breyers Ice Cream was on sale again at Safeway: buy one- get one free. I couldnâ€™t pass up a good deal. I bought some French Vanilla and some Mint-Chocolate Chip. Youâ€™ll have to wait for the review of the mint-chip, as today Iâ€™ll tell you about the French Vanilla.
Breyers French Vanilla is similar to Breyers Vanilla Bean in that it had vanilla bean specks and now our favorite tara gum. But, it tastes thicker, creamier, and custard-like. (And has a few more grams of fat and calories than the natural vanilla.) Not knowing what makes â€œFrench Vanillaâ€ â€œFrenchâ€ I Googled it. Answer Bag had the answer:
“What is “french vanilla”? What is different about it from regular vanilla?”
Chef Ottevanger answered:
“The difference is lots more egg yolks.”
This makes sense when one considers that French Vanilla is actually “not a type of vanilla. It is a term used to describe an egg-custard base for ice cream.”
“French vanilla” is often used to designate preparations that actually have a strong vanilla aroma, and possibly contain vanilla grains.â€
So, there you have it. French Vanilla has more egg yolks which would explain the texture feel and taste. Itâ€™s a good flavor to try if youâ€™re in the mood for plain vanilla ice cream. However, I wouldnâ€™t recommend it for malts, sundaes, etc. Itâ€™s too strong.
- Flavor: 4
- Flavor Intensity: 4
- Originality: 1.5
- Texture: 4
- Overall: 4
- Cost: 5.99 or free (buy one get one free sale at Safeway)
The Ultimate Ice Cream Book claims to have recipes for â€œover 500 ice creams, sorbets, granitas, drinks, and moreâ€. So, when I ordered the book online I expected it to be, well, massive. I was thinking dictionary or at least Joy of Cooking thickness. Not this book, â€œUltimate Ice Creamâ€ is only 225 pages long. â€œHow does that happen?â€ you ask. Well, each ice cream recipe has at least a few â€œvariations,â€ presumably each variation counts for another recipe. For instance, â€œmarmalade ice creamâ€ has 8 â€œvariationsâ€ (ie 1) â€œUse apricot jam and apricot liqueur or strawberry syrup.â€ Quite frankly, Iâ€™m not sure I would count that as another recipe.
But, thatâ€™s just me being critical. Mr. Weinstien has some creative recipes in the book including lavender ice cream, saffron ice cream, corn ice cream and kiwi sorbet. I havenâ€™t even come close to putting a dent in this book, but from what it seems, it should be the only ice cream cookbook Iâ€™ll ever need.
The Ultimate Ice Cream Book: Over 500 Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, Drinks, And More is written by Bruce Weinstein.