Stoned vs. Sober: Coldstone CreameryPosted: September 18, 2012 | |
So a few weeks ago when I did that Taco Bell Experiment, I failed to mention that it wasn’t my coupe de grace with stoned eating experiences. Oh noooo. Not by a country mile. That title goes to Coldstone Creamery on University Avenue in Seattle circa 1995.
Drag up a chair, children, I’m about to tell you a tale that makes me look like a total ass. And also how I came to make an ice cream sludge today.
Back in the high school day, I lived four LONG hours away from a city and/or culture (as I’m sure that you may recall from previous posts). I also had a very tight group of four friends of various ages around then. Me, Der, Julie, Mara and Jesse were inseparable for the last two years of high school. We did everything together, including all working at the local pizza parlor after school. We were as tight as a cat’s posterior, the five of us.
Eventually two of us graduated ahead of the crowd and one moved away, so it was down to me and my friend Der in town for a year. One rare weekend that Fall, we got the chance to visit our friend Julie up in the “big city” of Seattle where she was a freshman at the University of Washington. Der and I packed up on Friday and set out in my beater of a car, blasting the Lords of Acid over the Snoqualamie Pass and chain smoking the entire time. (A note to my parents, this is going to get embarrassing. For me.)
At some point while we were there after a long drive sitting in Julie’s dorm room, the three of us made this great decision to smoke some weed that one of us had. Normally, people might say that this was nothing big, have a toke or two and call it a night. Not us. We crunched up a pop can, loaded up about an eighth on the spot and polished it off between the three of us in about five minutes. Needless to say, we were ruh-tarded in ten. Moderation was not our strong suit back then (and we figured it was crap weed to begin with).
Twelve minutes after someone ignited the night, ice cream sounded like a great idea. There was a great custom ice cream shop right behind campus! We eventually all got on our jackets and shoes (shoes took forever…) and wandered down to The Ave in search of this manna. Also, I was thirsty. We were on a quest for sugar and wet things but I don’t remember where we were or how long it took us to get there.
You know, all these years later, I don’t even know if we were even in a Coldstone Creamery that night- I just knew I was in this ice cream store and I thought that I was just going to order tea. What happened was that I ordered a vanilla ice cream with literally every blessed thing on the menu list in it instead. Raisins. Peanut butter cups. Graham crackers. Marshmallows. Fairy farts. Jimmy Hoffa. God knows what. Every little morsel that I added in hasty desire went folded together in on this marble slab. Folded, folding, folding, folding. Whoa. I liked the folding.
Keep in mind that this was 1995 and prices were lower than we have today, but I spent literally $11 on one tiny dish of ice cream that cool rainy night. ELEVEN DOLLARS. I obviously was hella baked. I remember that Der, Julie and I all just stared at the ice cream for a minute or two in awe before I tackled this garbage plate of cold sweetness with reckless abandon. To date, that dish was the best ice cream that I’ve ever eaten in my life. It also marked one of the most fabulous evenings that I had with those two girls before adult life crept in and spread us all far apart. We’re still friends today, but it just isn’t the same between their kids and jobs and my proclivity for living as far away from them as humanly possible.
The rest of the weekend was uneventful, but that memory stuck with me throughout time as the best ice cream ever while in the fourth dimension. Naturally, it had to go into my lexicon of nonsober foodstuffs. I was on a roll with seven layers, could I say the same for twee ice cream memories? I enlisted the help of my nameless friend again and got to work. He was glad to help.
I decided, as I couldn’t really remember what flavors were which that, night to instead go with a harmonious palate of fixin’s. Upon cross checking the Coldstone Creamery website for options, the choice that I made was yogurt pretzels, homemade caramel, homemade spiced peanut butter, almond slivers and cinnamon gently ushered into a bed of vanilla ice cream. This combo sounded much better than kitchen sink ice cream surprise back on The Ave. One pint of premium vanilla in hand, I got to folding while my friend settled into a comfortable high.
Once everything came together in a mushy cold sludge we aimlessly drove through Elmhurst looking for the shop on the map. Back and forth we drove over Queens Boulevard, avenue of death and confusion, looking for a left turn. No dice. I, being of a constantly relaxed state of mind, and my friend (being in a chemically induced one) had a hell of a time trying to get to our destination. We drove around the block for 15 minutes before we got our in! Finally, after much meandering in the car and in the maze of the mall then afterwards, we FINALLY got to the Coldstone Creamery in Queens Plaza. It was like I was recreating that night in 1995 all over again.
Quickly we discovered that the Coldstone location we were visiting had none of the ingredients listed on the online menu. Horrors. So as it turned out we also made another kitchen sink creation that day. Our own Coldstone version had Oreos, Reese’s Cups, almonds and peanuts in a vanilla base. Almost nothing was like my fancy homemade version, but we recreated that night almost entirely up to now minus raisins. The two of us, we wandered outside and surveyed our bounty on a bench. Here’s how it went:
(After the first bite of each…)
Me: What do you think?
Nameless Friend: I’m trying to be more talkative about the food this time.
Me: You talked a lot about the food last time. I just edited it heavily.
(…a few bites later…)
Nameless Friend: (Motioning towards the Coldstone version with his spoon) I like this one better. Its got better texture. It’s not as sweet.
Me: Yeah. I like the stuff in mine and the sweet, but the aftertaste reminds me of Pepto Bismol.
Nameless Friend: (grimacing) Thanks.
(…a few bites later…)
Nameless Friend: (motioning towards mine with his spoon) I like this one better.
Me: I’m pretty much just eating it for the stuff in it. I don’t really want the ice cream, I just want the caramel.
We ate the rest, chatting about nothing particular. After the last bite, we discussed the experience in toto for pros and cons. The winner? COLDSTONE!
Ultimately, after finishing off my creation and the store bought one, Coldstone Creamery won in the stoned ice cream challenge because my version was too sweet and did have a slight aftertaste of wintergreen (somehow). However, once I realized how to make one of these ice cream creations, I was impressed at how easy it is to make any boring ice cream sparkle. Want to try it at home? Give it a fold! Also, you may want to try these recipes as well. (Just not together, as they taste like Pepto.)
Customized Ice Cream
-1 pint Ice Cream, boring single flavor (such as vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, et cetera)
-Fixin’s. Your choice of sweet and slightly savory items.
1. A few minutes before you’re going to get started, take your ice cream out of the freezer to soften slightly. At this time, place a bowl and two stiff spatulas in the freezer as well.
2. Prepare your fixin’s. Chop any nuts or fruits into bite size pieces. Crush up cookies, crackers, pretzels, et cetera. Chop or shave chocolate as needed.
3. Remove the bowl and spatulas from the freezer. Scoop out the ice cream from the container and dump the fixin’s on top.
4. Using the spatulas, fold the ice cream from the outer edge to the center of the ice cream. Fold and mush, fold and mush. Work fast.
5. The ice cream may soften up too much at this time. If it does, return it to the freezer for a minute before serving.
-1/2 pint heavy cream
-3 Tablespoons water
-3/4 cup packed brown sugar
-2 Tablespoons butter
-1 teaspoon vanilla
1. In a heavy saucepot, combine the water, sugar and butter and a three finger pinch of salt over medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture bubbles. Keep stirring for 7 minutes.
2. Add the vanilla in and stir, over the heat still.
3. Add the cream in slowly and stir. Keep stirring for 10 minutes until the mixture thickens. when you remove the spoon from the pot and trace your line through the residue, it will leave a trace mark. This indicates that the sauce is done.
4. Cool the sauce to room temperature before using.
Spiced Peanut Butter
-2 cups roasted unsalted peanuts
-1/4 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed.
-1 Tablespoon cinnamon
-Kosher Salt, to taste
-1-2 Tablespoons peanut oil IF NECESSARY.
1. Chop the peanuts lightly and add them to the bowl of a food processor. DO NOT USE A BLENDER, IMMERSION BLENDER OR TRY TO DO THIS BY HAND.
2. Add the sugar, cinnamon and a large pinch of salt as well. Seal the top and begin pureeing the contents.
3. Stop the machine periodically and scrape down the sides. If the mixture is too dry after a few rounds of pureeing, you may add one to two tablespoons of oil but go very light as it can cause the mixture to break.
4. When everything is smooth, check the taste and adjust as necessary.