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Things: An Uncharacteristic Plea for Ice Cream Sanity

Tower of ice cream

This is going to be strange. I am someone who makes desserts and tries to use every possible dessert ingredient in the pantry. My last batch of brownies was titled The Rise and Fall of Western Civilization as Expressed in Brownie Form. (Yes, that’s italicized. That batch was truly a work of art.) I believe that nothing exceeds like excess.

And yet.

Ben & Jerry’s needs to calm the hell down. There is a time to lump ingredients (turn turn turn) and there is a time to just let one thing speak for itself. For example: there is a new line of “Truffles” flavors. It appears to be exclusive to Wal-Mart. At least, that’s the only place I’ve found it locally. (Update since my first draft of this: I found the Milkshake flavor at a Kroger.)

Chillin’ the Roast is “Cold Brew Coffee Ice Cream with Chocolate Cookie-Covered Coffee Liqueur Truffles & Fudge Swirls.” Now, it’s tasty. But you know what it makes me crave? Just the cold brew coffee ice cream by itself. And not just because I’m hopelessly addicted to coffee. It’s pretty fantastic stuff. It deserves a chance to stand on its own. I mean, I’m glad it doesn’t have its own pint in retrospect, because I would probably blow through it. And stuff like that makes Wilford Brimley very sad.

Also there’s Pecan Sticky Buns—-again, I’ve only seen it at Wal-Mart. It’s “Buttery Brown Sugar Ice Cream with Pecans, Sticky Bun Dough & a Cream Cheese Frosting Swirl.” Now, let’s not get into the debate about sullying perfectly good ice cream with pecans. Because that will get us nowhere and maniacs who enjoy that sort of thing get really bent out of shape when you call them on their psychosis. The point is this: what’s wrong with just “Buttery Brown Sugar Ice Cream”? Nothing! I tried it, excavating some of it from around the tainted pecans and it’s freaking delicious!

I guess what I’m advocating is a harmonious balance of tastes, which can be multiple ingredients…sometimes only one is required. There is certainly room for chaos and mayhem on the palette. The Tonight Dough flavor serves that function beautifully. And another Truffles flavor, Chocolate Shake It, is “Chocolate Malt Milkshake Ice Cream with Chocolate Cookie-Covered Fudge Truffles & Marshmallow Swirls.” And it works mostly because the malt milkshake ice cream base serves mainly as transport for the other bit.

That being said, if you only get one of these Truffles flavors, go for Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake. It is “Caramel Cheesecake Ice Cream with Graham Cracker-Covered Cheesecake Truffles & Chocolate Cookie Swirls.” And it succeeds because all of its flavors have a unified ambition: to destroy your pancreas. Of the three, this is the hardest to put down. It might make it back to your freezer after your initial foray into it, but I doubt it.

Honestly, the model I would point to isn’t ice cream at all but gelato, which for all practical purposes is Italian for “ice cream.” Gelato Fiasco (amazing name) has a flavor called Sunken Treasure, which has a brown butter gelato base plus “salty pretzel booty” and “bourbon truffles.” For the record, “salty pretzel booty” is a cute way of saying “salty pretzel bits.” Don’t expect there to be salty pretzels in the shape of asses–although that would be hilarious. It is an absolutely pitch perfect blend of flavors to the point where I had to buy a second pint because the first one disappeared so damn quickly.

And while we’re talking ice cream, let me bring up a couple of other things I’ve been meaning to tell you. Magnum Ice Cream now has pints. And in keeping with their ice cream coated with a chocolate shell (other flavors available these days), the ice cream in the pint is coated as well. And you squeeze the pint to crack the shell. So in the case of White Chocolate Vanilla, you get the vanilla ice cream with broken white chocolate shell bits. Sadly, the situation here is what I discovered when Magnum ice cream bars finally made it stateside: the shell is the best part. The ice cream inside is sorely lacking. And for all my hoopla about manic flavors, a damn good vanilla is something I greatly appreciate. And this just doesn’t cut it. If you had vanilla ice cream on a par with say, High Road or even Haagen Dazs, you might have a friend to talk to. But when I’m fishing white chocolate bits out of the ice cream and mostly ignoring the ice cream, that’s never a good sign.

Lastly, I’d like to tell you about Enlightened ice cream’s flavor, Movie Night. It’s “Buttery Popcorn Ice Cream with Chocolate Bits and Swirls of Caramel.” It’s one of the new “more protein” sort of ice creams which appear to have become a thing of late. And while that description sounds good, the end result is…well…imagine you held a seance and the medium involved was possessed by the spirit of a dead Blockbuster Video. The mournful way that spirit would speak through that medium…that’s how this ice cream tastes. Like the broken dreams of a dead video store.


ITEM! The lovely thing about Warren Ellis is that his work is usually recognizable. Less so in this new Season 2 Castlevania trailer, but if you watched Season 1 on Netflix (and you should have), then it’s pretty much what you would expect from that mad genius taking on anime-infused monsters and vampires and such. I look forward to this mayhem.

That kicks off October 26th.

ITEM! If you’ve ever wanted to see what a raging toy addiction looks like, or a very meticulously organized episode of Hoarders, subscribe to Big Dub’s YouTube channel.

ITEM! The Haunting of Hill House obviously is not a direct adaptation of the book. All I know about what it actually is…is that it is truly fucked up. I’m cautiously optimistic. If it can deliver on the promise of this trailer, then all shall be well.