Of all the ways to savor the taste of the holidays, ice cream is one of my favorites. I’m not sure why I prefer cold desserts in cold weather – maybe it’s a form of seasonal acclimation? Masochism? Temporary insanity? Probably not since, in spite of me being lactose intolerant, ice cream is pretty much my favorite treat all year round.
If the spirit of the season is giving, consider this my gift to you. I tested and assembled three of my favorite easy, easier and easiest ways to enjoy special ice cream with your loved ones this holiday. You’re welcome.
EASY: Dark Chocolate Cocoa Gelato
In-home ice cream makers (like this fabulous Cuisnart in rich Christmas red) have allowed many an ice cream fan to achieve new heights in ice cream creativity. The holidays are a great excuse to try new combinations. As imaginative as many home creations get, I opted for the classic route because, for me at least, hot cocoa with marshmallows is one of my personal favorite holiday treats. Ok, so it’s not HOT, per say, but it DOES taste remarkably like that seasonal mug-o-goodness from my early memories.
For the best rich, chocolaty taste, start with a thick, rich chocolate mousse gelato mix like this one. Once it’s frozen and ready to go, top with warmed marshmallow cream (Saveur has this great recipe) for the perfect finish to (or substitute for – don’t judge) any holiday dinner.
EASIER: Vanilla Fro-Yo with Candy Cane Sprinkles
For most of my childhood, as thrilled as I was to get a candy cane, I never enjoyed eating them. The taste was always missing something. Well, as of last week I discovered that the missing element may well have been vanilla frozen yogurt.
To make this minty-fresh dessert, simply dump and stir a cup of vanilla greek yogurt in your Zoku Ice Cream Maker until frozen and top with crushed candy cane pieces. I used a resealable bag and a rolling pin to
exorcise my mall-rage crumble a candy cane but you can also grab these pre-crushed sprinkles. Voilà! Delicious and seasonally appropriate!
Because as easy as it is to make your own ice cream, sometimes you need to just grab and go. And nearly EVERY major ice cream manufacturer offers a bevvy of interesting limited-edition holiday flavors. I stumbled across Dreyer’s Eggnog Ice Cream a couple of years ago and was shocked at how much I enjoyed the flavor. Even with my lactose intolerance (Lactaid works wonders!) I drained the container within a few days. On my own. In a pinch, I also discovered that it is better than vanilla ice cream as a topping for a warm apple pie. Something about that creamy rich egg and hint of nutmeg melded perfectly with warm apples and homemade butter crust… LOVE!
Most local creameries and ice cream houses also feature their own special holiday flavors and, if you’re in Seattle, I highly recommend trying Full-Tilt’s Coconut Milk Eggnog Ice Cream (it’s even vegan!!).
How do you enjoy ice cream during the holidays?