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This is How You Eat Ice Cream in the Winter


On a recent (cold and rainy) trip to Atlanta, I found myself craving comfort foods. Being in the South, I might have gone out for some real down-home soul food. But no. My gut led me instead to Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream, where I sampled every single one of their new winter flavors, among them Toasted Brioche with Butter and Jam and a Hot Toddy sorbet. I decided to double up on two of my favorite Jeni's classics: Bangkok Peanut (inspired by spicy Thai peanut sauce) and Yazoo Sue (a beer swirled concoction with rosemary bar nuts). To that I added a generous dusting of salty graham "gravel," one of Jeni's signature toppings. It was perfect, decadent, and more comforting than a bowl of chicken and dumplings.

And that got me thinking: Ice cream. Winter. Why should the latter curb intake of the former? I'm here to make a case for eating lots and lots of ice cream in the winter. To help convince you, I reached out to Jeni Britton Bauer (the Jeni of Jeni's), who provided some brilliant tips for giving ice cream a winter upgrade.

1. Winter is a great time to make ice creams with cakes, pralines, and cookies layered in.

Jeni wants you to load your ice cream with delicious things because it's winter and hopefully your diets are all out the window. "Its a relatively simple way to make an ice cream into a dinner party-worthy dessert," she says.

2. You don't even have to make the ice cream or mix-ins yourself.

Doctor up store-bought ice cream with a mixture of sauce and bits of cookies, cakes, or pralines (you can buy these too). "I like to crush them up in 1/2-inch crumbles and add a bit of sauce like caramel, chocolate, or jam to moisten them. You just want to coat the crumbles, not too much or too little. The sauce will adhere to the cakes or cookies and keep it binded together while you layer it in the ice cream."

3. Make a frozen banana pudding.

"Take a mixture of broken, crushed, or crumbled shortbread or vanilla cookies and just enough caramel sauce to hold them together," Jeni says. "Layer the blend into fresh banana ice cream for something like a frozen banana pudding." There's a great recipe for banana ice cream in Jeni's book, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home, or try this recipe for Spiced Banana Ice Cream.

4. Put some booze in your ice cream.

To make Honey Bourbon Cake Ice Cream, start with softened vanilla ice cream. Crumble a slice of yellow cake into 1/2-inch bits. Combine a few teaspoons of whiskey with an equal amount of honey in a small cup and pour just enough of the mixture over the cake crumbles, just until the cake is slightly moistened. (Dont use too much. If you do, the ice cream you're making wont re-freeze.) Let it soak for a few minutes, then gently mix the cake mixture into the softened ice cream. Put the mixture in the freezer to harden.

Ready to become a master winter ice cream mixer? Check out these recipes for decadent homemade mix-ins, but rememberthere's no shame in store-bought.
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