LIVING & LOVING LOCAL: Summer’s Best Scoops
Fresh, House Made Ice Cream Treats Will Make You Shiver With Delight
By Robin Barr Sussman
Growing up in Houston, Baskin-Robbins was the city’s go-to ice cream parlor unless you churned your own, and many did, especially on summer holidays. Hand crafted ice cream has become fresher, easier and tastier with the rise of local milk and cheese producers, coffee roasters, chocolate makers and seasonal produce available at farmer’s markets. It’s that time of year when nothing else satisfies: We all scream for local ice cream!
HONEYCHILD’S SWEET CREAMS
Fresh-from-the-farm house made frozen custards are the name of the game at this creamery owned by chef Kathleen Morgan, who grew up making homemade ice cream. Prepared with organic, local ingredients, the custards — which are featured on menus all over Houston — are churned with seasonal juicy flavors like peach cobbler, dewberry and fig. Other decadent combos to make your mouth water: black chocolate, pecan praline, and buttermilk pie. Several local coffee shops and markets sell pints and, if you live in the Heights, you can get your craving delivered to your doorstep; instant gratification.
FAT CAT CREAMERY
A pioneer in the hyper-local movement, the kitties behind Fat Cat create their magic with ingredients sourced from a long list of local purveyors. Convict Hill oatmeal stout is used to prepare the milk chocolate stout ice cream, a top pick, and Texas Waterloo gin revs up the Waterloo strawberry buttermilk with strawberry jam (for adults only). Ever-changing intense flavors like salted butter caramel and Amaya coffee and cream can be addictive. Also anticipate novelties including ice cream sandwiches, push-up pops and sundaes, as well as dairy-free chai tea coconut ice cream. Something for every cat!
1901 North Shepherd, 713-869-1080, www.fatcatcreamery.com
Inspired by local ingredients at the farmer’s market, Dolce Neve opened its first emporium in Austin before bringing Houston its Instagram-worthy Italian gelato. The owners, hailing from Italy and New York, not only love gelato but are devoted to local purveyors including Pure Luck Dairy, Good Flow Honey and San Saba pecans to make their dreamy treats. The cloud-like creations are available in traditional Italian flavors — think organic hazelnut and stracciatella — or Texas-inspired combos like sweet potato, organic Meyer lemon sorbet, and goat cheese pecan ice cream.
4721 North Main, 832-767-2183, www.dolcenevegelato.com
CLOUD 10 CREAMERY
Pastry chef Chris Leung deploys his classical culinary training to craft lush ice creams and sorbets, which might not be made strictly from local ingredients, but the final product is crafted in Houston. Even the high quality mix-ins, sauces, waffle cones and the cookies for ice cream sandwiches are made in-house. Expect 16 delightfully surprising combos like red currant mascarpone, toasted rice, and sour green apple sorbet along with sundaes, ice cream pops, ice cream cakes and the signature banana split. Look for the newest location at 3502 South Shepherd.
711 Heights Boulevard, 713-485-5106; 3201 Louisiana, 713-485-4770
CHOCOLATE CHIP ICE CREAM SAMMIES
At Cloud 10 Creamery, snickerdoodles and chocolate chip cookies are made daily and you can pick your ice cream flavor for a custom ice cream sandwich. Here’s a recipe inspired by a recent visit to the parlor.
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup margarine
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 whole eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 pints dark chocolate, strawberry with strawberry jam, or your favorite Cloud 10 flavor of ice cream, slightly softened
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixer, combine the sugars, butter and margarine until blended. Add the vanilla and eggs, and stir together.
In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the above wet ingredients in a few batches, mixing gently. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop balls of dough on a cookie sheet and bake for 11 minutes. Remove from the cookie sheet and allow to cool.
Take one scoop of ice cream and place it on the flat side of the cookie, then top with a second cookie, pressing to allow the ice cream to spread slightly. Wrap each cookie individually in plastic and freeze until the ice cream is very firm, at least four hours.
Yield: 18 sandwiches