Breaking Bread: My dream flavor of ice cream is only in my dreams
Chocolate malt-flavored ice cream with copious amounts of salted caramel gooeyness and ribbons of marshmallow fluff: You won’t find this flavor in any grocery store near you.
It is my dream flavor. It exists only in my dreams.
I regularly search the freezer cases of grocery stores and ice-cream parlors wondering why no one else has concluded that my combination is everything one could possibly want in an ice cream.
It’s chocolate. The malt gives the chocolate a subtle background flavor that hints at an old-fashioned malted, giving it a nostalgia component. And the salted caramel balances out the sweetness of the marshmallow swirl.
The combination is vaguely reminiscent of a Milky Way candy bar but taken to a higher level.
Some days I think I might want salted pecans in the mix, but then I remember that, when licking ice cream from a cone, I don’t like anything chunky nipping at my tongue.
What got me thinking about my dream flavor is the recent Velvet Ice Cream contest to create the flavor that the company will make for the 2017 Ohio State Fair. Each year, the Utica, Ohio, maker of ice cream produces a signature fair flavor. (The deadline to enter is today on Velvet’s Facebook page.)
Apparently, no ice cream maker’s research-and-development team has convinced its company that my flavor would sell (which, of course, makes me wonder about their processes).
I recently had a chance to chat with Jeni Britton Bauer, owner of Columbus, Ohio-based Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, about her process for creating ice-cream flavors.
Jeni’s introduces new flavors several times a year, including the most recent additions: Supermoon, Genmaicha & Marshmallows, Osmanthus & Blackberry Crackle, Cocoa Curry Coco and Orange Blossom Buttermilk Frozen Yogurt.
Her company frequently adds and subtracts flavors from the lineup at her scoop shops.
How do you know what flavors will be hits? I asked.
Britton Bauer noted that she spent 8 years early in her career scooping ice cream at the North Market. In listening to customer feedback, she gained a feel for their likes and dislikes, she said.
“I understand about people’s preferences,” she said.
I have spent decades scooping ice cream for myself, and I certainly know what I like.
But flavor creation also requires knowledge of the manufacturing process, Britton Bauer explained. Costs and ingredients must be considered.
When I hinted at the marshmallow fluff, I could see the wheels turning in her head as she began noting how excess sugar levels can interfere with ice-cream freezing.
So maybe there are a few technical glitches that need to be worked out for my flavor to become a reality.
But now that I’ve put my combination out there, maybe somebody will want to get working on it for me.
-- Lisa Abraham writes about food for The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @DispatchKitchen.