Ice Cream Season

To anyone who decries ice cream solely as a summertime food, buckle up and put on a sweater. I’ve got numerous wintry treats in Super Vegan Scoops! tailor-made for the season that will change your mind.

Apple Pie Sundae

First gradually, and then suddenly, the seasons shift once more. Progressively cooler breezes blow in every night until thick, knit blankets reemerge from storage, unfurling upon beds like the triumphant victory flags of fall. Golden leaves tumble from their branches, crunching and snapping underfoot, dusting every pathway like freshly fallen snow. Tastes adjust as well, directing cravings towards the comfort of warmer, richer foods. When it comes to dessert, no dish better represents this transitory period than the classic apple crisp. A fool-proof formula for success, the combination of tender apples, bubbling away in their own cinnamon- and nutmeg-spiked juices holds universal appeal.

Bearing all the best characteristics of the classic pastry but in with a considerably cooler core, a rich scoop of apple butter-rippled ice cream perches atop warm, fork-tender apples, gently poached and delicately cradled by a single-serve flaky crust. Incorporating the faintly woodsy flavor of burnt sugar, these treats don’t just welcome autumn’s return, but celebrate it with gusto.

Frosty Pumpkin Roulade

The cult of pumpkin spice is unstoppable, growing in tenor and ferocity with every passing season. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice candles, pumpkin spice cough drops, pumpkin spice lip gloss, and pumpkin spice scratch-and-sniff bandages; they’re all real! If it can be infused with the flavor (or scent) that dominates all of fall, it absolutely will be. Pumpkin pie is at the very top of the Thanksgiving dessert hierarchy of course, as the purest, original manifestation of the flavor sensation.

In light of the newfound fervor for pumpkin spice, I feel a revolution is upon us. Coming from another venerable line of traditional baked goods, ready to unseat the longstanding overlord, is the spectacular pumpkin roulade. Typically filled with airy mounds of vanilla-spiked whipped cream, each spiral of aromatic pumpkin crumb gains even greater appeal with buttery pecan ice cream instead. Wrapping up two desserts into one, pumpkin spice fanatics will have a fresh focus for their seasonal obsession, and fair-weather fans will be mightily pleased, too.

Mulled Wine Sorbet

Drawn to the kitchen by the heady aroma of citrus and spice, the soothing scent of mulled wine evokes memories of the holidays, as warm and cozy as a thick knit sweater. Though typically enjoyed steaming hot, to fortify against a cold winter’s night, it’s also quite delightful served over ice, which is where this much cooler rendition got its inspiration. Pull on your mittens and scarves to embrace this spirited yuletide treat!

Peppermint Bark Roulade

Regardless of holiday party plans, as host or attendee, no matter how long or short wish lists may be, I have two words for you: Peppermint Bark. All it takes is chocolate and crushed candy canes, yet it can elicit the same level of enthusiasm as a laborious multi-tier Christmas cake. You’d think the stuff was sprinkled with pure gold judging by the way some people clamor to snap up piece after piece.

Something about the combination of creamy chocolate slabs, festooned with crunchy red and white striped mint confections seems to strike a chord with everyone, young, old, jolly, and curmudgeonly alike. It’s all about the ratio and quality of ingredients that hits the sweet spot.

Plain peppermint stick ice cream is a wondrous limited edition treat, but without a chocolate crunch, something seems to be missing. Enter, the glorious peppermint bark roulade, complete with creamy candy cane ice cream, topped with crisp chunks of chopped chocolate, all wrapped up in a fudgy, tender chocolate cake. As if that wasn’t enough, the whole thing is smothered in another layer of snappy dark chocolate magic shell, and finished with a flurry of crushed peppermint candy. It’s a bite of holiday joy that’s far better than anything you could wrap up with a bow.

Santa’s Secret Stash Sundae

When he’s on his epic Christmas Eve odyssey, Stanta is powered by the laughter of children, reindeer magic, and the holiday spirit itself, but we all know he needs to stop and refuel on something more substantial every so often. If I were going to treat Mr. Klaus, it would be with this magnificent collection of seasonal specialties. It all starts with a thick, chewy sugar cookie, because tradition does mandate the classic offering. Instead of a wane glass of milk, though, I’m topping it with a generous scoop of eggnog ice cream, melting into the warm skillet while rivulets of tart cranberry sauce burst through each nook and cranny. Lightly spiced nuts crunch through each layer, adding a refreshing textural contrast. Old Saint Nick never tasted a midnight snack quite like this.

Don’t forget about all the evergreen, all-purpose scoops that always hit the spot, any day of the year. There’s never a bad time to slice into a Brooklyn Blackout Ice Cream Cake, or lick a Cannoli Cone, for example. So get cozy, blast the heat, and break out the frozen treats! It’s still ice cream season, as far as I’m concerned.

Let Freedom Ring

Americans are not shy about letting their opinions be known, particularly when it comes to matters of freedom. From the very inception of this country, our founding fathers were shouting from the rooftops about liberty and justice for all. That ideal was a bit skewed and misleading at the time, silently omitting the vast majority of the population, but after a few hundred years of mucking about, I’m cautiously hopeful that we’re on the right path to actually realizing that dream.

“…if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

On this particularly joyous 4th of July, when many reunite, emerging from quarantine cocoons for the first time in over one and a half years, there’s so much more to celebrate than just the baby steps forward on the journey towards true freedom. Vaccination does feel akin to emancipation; we must never forget the struggle to get here, nor those not fortunate enough to see this day.

It’s truly a bittersweet moment for me, acknowledging both the immense progress we’ve made collectively, and still the terrible, horrendous, and heinous setbacks that continue to plague the country. As a rule, however, I’d like to focus on the positive. Though many still suffer, I want freedom to ring, loud and clear, in every home and especially… Every home freezer.

Yes, it all comes back to food! Finally free to serve friends in-person, I’m thrilled to whip up a batch of frosty ice cream doughnuts from Super Vegan Scoops! to symbolize the endless ring of freedom intended for all inhabitants of these fifty states.

For a more thematically appropriate attire, these cool contenders are all dressed up in a variation of the white chocolate shell icing. For a blue tint, it just takes 1 teaspoon of butterfly pea tea powder (also known as “blue matcha,”) and the red is infused with 1 teaspoon of powdered beets. Add festive sprinkles and voila, you suddenly have some beautiful, festive food to share.

At long last, on this 242nd observance of our independence day, I hope that freedom truly can ring for one and all, and may it taste as sweet as vanilla bean ice cream.

Sundaes Everyday

If you’ve ever flipped through a new cookbook and thought, “Man, that recipe looks amazing, but I’m just too tired to start from scratch,” or “I don’t have all the ingredients here,” or “I just don’t have the time,” you’re not alone.

Even simple formulas can become daunting given the demands of work, family, and life in general. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just treat those glossy pages like a restaurant menu, ready to order on a whim?

For anyone living in the Austin area or craving some culinary tourism, June and July are your lucky months.

Sweet Ritual, esteemed vegan ice cream parlor and frozen dessert specialists, will treat your taste buds to limited edition specials based on the creations in Super Vegan Scoops!

Celebrating the launch of the book, you’ll be able to spoon into a Boba Tea Parfait or Elvis Banana Split without doing any of the prep work or cleanup afterwards.

Make your own custom boba masterpiece; take your pick from the full spectrum of milkshake flavors and add tapioca pearls to it. There’s no wrong way to swirl it up, though strawberry and coffee get top billing from the tireless tasters scooping it out as Sweet Ritual staff.

If you want to make like a banana and split, you can pick out two scoops of ice cream to perch upon a caramelized banana, house-made peanut butter shell, crunchy peanuts, and a spiced coconut bacon topping. It truly is fit for a king!

Once you’ve fallen in love with the flavors, you can pick up signed copies of Super Vegan Scoops! to take home with you, too.

Churning out premium dairy-free ice cream made with local suppliers and local produce to use real fruit, fragrant spices, and handmade baked goods in every scoop, Sweet Ritual should already be at the top of your list for a dessert fix. Getting my creations featured is genuinely a dream come true, so come visit, share about it on social media, and prove to me that it’s real!

You’ve got two months to indulge, starting right now. Ready, set, scoop!

Sweet Ritual
4631 Airport Blvd, Suite 125
Austin, TX 78751

Ice Cream ‘Wich Craft

As July draws to a close, the holidays are fast approaching. Are you ready for the coming festivities?

I’m not talking about Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Las Posadas, or Festivus. As if anyone could forget, there’s an even more momentous event right around the corner. August 2nd is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day!

As an avowed ice cream advocate, this is my kind of day. I don’t feel the need to justify or rationalize my indulgence, but as a source of inspiration, the thematic suggestion is always welcome. Sandwiches, one of the earliest frozen novelties, remain one of the simplest. While scoops have gone wild with flavor innovations and popsicles crystallize in every color of the rainbow, most ice cream sandwiches are still plain Jane vanilla.

In the United States, the term typically conjures up visions of a bland slab of beige ice cream, wedged between two thin chocolate wafers that blur the line between cookie and cake. I’m not looking to push the envelope here, but what if we expanded our understanding of the assembly to be a bit more accommodating? Just as there’s more than one way to churn ice cream, there’s more than one sort of wafer in the world.

The wafer I’m most fond of, for example, is the type that’s light as air, crisp like a cracker, and stacked up in slender rectangles with sweet cream filling. This biscuit is essentially synonymous with Voortman Bakery, masters of the edible art form since 1951. Only theirs will stand up to the summer’s heat, and freezer’s chill, without wilting under pressure. In fact, I tend to store them in the freezer when the temperatures climb, not to prolong freshness, but to provide an invigorating, refreshingly cool contrast to a sweltering hot day.

Connecting the dots between these treats and the holiday at hand, it wasn’t a big leap to re-imagine the average sandwich as something remarkable. That is, remarkably delicious AND remarkably easy to make.

Right up front, I must confess: Even by the most generous interpretation of the term, the center of these sandwiches is not ice cream. Set to a frosty, creamy consistency and festooned with colorful sprinkles, you could easily fool the average eater, without anyone feeling betrayed. Based on ingredients and technique alone, it’s more like frozen frosting, but that also means there’s no churning, no cooking, and almost no work required to whip up these treats. In a world where cauliflower can be called rice and zucchinis are noodles, can’t we stretch the definition a bit here?

Sparkling with zesty citrus through and through, thin ribbons of fresh orange peel undulate within a tangy cream cheese base, flecked with real vanilla bean for a rounded, floral sweetness. Flanked by tender orange creme wafers, there’s nothing to interrupt the full-bodied fruity flavor. If you’ve ever craved a good old orange creamsicle, these handheld treats are even better than a dream-come-true.

Such a highly successful experiment really got my wheels turning. Since Voortman makes wafers in just about every flavor you can imagine, the sky (or your freezer space) is the limit. Next time, I might start with strawberry wafers with vanilla ice cream and roll the edges in mini chocolate chips for a modernized neapolitan. There are also banana wafers that are crying out for caramel cream and a quick dip in chopped nuts for a bold new take on the classic banana split. What about trying chocolate hazelnut wafers with chocolate filling and toasted hazelnuts, for all the Nutella-lovers out there?

Trust me, I’m just getting started. There’s never a bad time for frozen treats, but this might just be the best time to join the party.

Continue reading “Ice Cream ‘Wich Craft”

Get the Full Scoop

It’s easy to poke fun at the absurd “national holidays” that litter the calendar, if you’re really desperate to celebrate something on an otherwise unremarkable day, but this one is legit. Decreed by President Reagan back in 1984, the third Sunday in July has since been known as National Ice Cream Day.

In case you’ve lost all sense of time, [you’re not alone] that day is today! Vanilla is still the most popular flavor worldwide, but if your tastes are a bit more adventurous, I’ve got a real treat for you.

Super Vegan Scoops! is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com! My second ice cream cookbook following on the success of Vegan a la Mode, this vibrant ode to plant-based frozen desserts offers one-of-a-kind flavors and frosty grand finales like the world has never seen before.

Novelties, cakes, sandwiches, sundaes, and even baked goods made with melted ice cream- Yes! The secrets are laid out in brilliant full-color detail at your fingertips, and soon, in your own kitchen.

Coming May 2021, I promise it will be worth the wait. Pre-order now to get in on the first shipment!

Seeds of Revolution

Ben & Jerry’s is making headlines so fast, you could get whiplash trying to keep up with these two men. No sooner than I hit “publish” on what I thought would be the ice cream review of the of the year, or at least of the season, did a brand new press release come flying through my inbox. Thrown in there as if it was a second thought, a little note to just slip under the door while no one was home, turned out to be a bombshell.

Beyond announcing another flavor, this was a brand new base entirely, never before seen in commercial ice cream production.

Sunflower butter.

No nuts, no dairy, pure indulgence.

If you were a fan of the original almond milk line from Ben & Jerry’s, you’re going to be disappointed… Because you’ll be deeply displeased that the entire range of flavors can’t be upgraded to this new base instead.

Almonds have enjoyed mainstream success for their established identity as wholesome, fairly neutral carriers of good fats and creamy textures. Sunflower seeds are the underdogs, with all those positive qualities, but none of the recognition. Masterfully blended with decadent flavors and extravagant mix-ins, I personally would have never guessed the seedy underbelly supporting it all. Not a hint of nuttiness, no matter how carefully I tasted, came though above the intended indulgences.

Coming this summer, keep an eye out for these three sensations that will rock your local freezer aisle and scoop shops:

“Milk” & Cookies (vanilla with chocolate chip cookies, chocolate sandwich cookies, and chocolate cookie swirls):

Delightful doughy bites swimming in a frozen pool of non-dairy milk, slowly returning to a more liquid state, coating each morsel in a luscious cloak of thickened cream. Huge chunks of sandwich cookies jut out of every other spoonful, as if they hadn’t even been chopped before being loaded into the pint. The end effect is neither vanilla nor chocolate, but somehow, all the best components of the two all at once.

Crème Brûlée Cookie (burnt caramel with brown sugar cookies and salted caramel swirls):

Dirty blonde with a dark, mysterious edge, this complex little vixen is my new obsession. Though it sounds like a straight shot of sugar in a waffle cup, it manages an impressive level of balance with subtly bitter, lightly salted caramel, toasted and nutty, perfectly complimenting the seeded base. The interplay between gooey swirl and soft, fudgy molasses-flecked cookies makes every bite exciting, right down to the bottom of the carton.

Mint Chocolate Cookie (mint with chocolate sandwich cookies):

Fresh, bright, sweet peppermint cradles a fine mist of crumbled wafer cookies, interspersed by enormous cookie boulders. Treading the fine line between rich and refreshing, the overall experience is solidly one of indulgence.

These seeded pints are being added to the current dairy-free offerings, making 17 flavors in all for the truly lactose intolerant to raise a spoon to.