I just returned from a whirlwind tour of Columbus, Ohio, one of the most enjoyable trips I have ever taken. From early in the morning until late into the night we were shown some of the best that Columbus has to offer. I loved the ones we were able to visit and I can’t wait to go back and check out the rest!
One of the places that everyone told me we had to try was Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Luckily it was the final stop on our first day’s schedule. As we drove up, the line was out the door and snaked down the street outside the small shop. Brightly lit and brimming with a profusion of incredible flavors, we filed in the back door full of anticipation and excitement. Even after an evening of incredible foods and drinks, we couldn’t wait to try Jeni’s highly touted ice creams. And she certainly didn’t disappoint!
After a few minutes of everyone rushing to get the best pictures of the shop (have you ever seen a photo-hungry crowd of foodies?) we settled into the alcove to meet Jeni and sample some of her creations. Jeni started working in a bakery in high school and stayed there through her college years. She had found her passion – sweets – but needed to focus it. She tried out the concept of an American-style bakery with French techniques she had learned over the years, but something was missing. And then one day she decided to try making ice creams. Her first venture was to add a little cayenne oil to store bought chocolate ice cream and her guests went wild. They couldn’t get enough and Jeni had found her passion!
She created flavors such as Coriander Raspberry, Cherry Lamibc, Bacon Praline, and one of her most popular offerings, Salted Caramel. She has a slew of signature flavors that are always on the menu and a variety of seasonal combinations that change throughout the year. She loves incorporating ingredients she finds at the local farmer’s market to make Strawberry Buttermilk, Cucumber Creme Fraiche, and Backyard Mint among her many options.
Jeni is a delightful woman whose passion for her craft can’t help but overflow. She bubbles with enthusiasm, her eyes sparkling as she talks about ice cream. Her commitment to quality ingredients is inexhaustible and she only buys from other likeminded purveyors. Her philosophy of controlling the ingredients “from the cow to the cream” is evident in every single bite. You won’t be disappointed with a single flavor.
Today’s recipe is from her 2011 cookbook “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home.” With more than 100 artisanal recipes for ice creams, sorbets, frozen yogurts, and dessert sauces, you are bound to find dozens that you must try. The biggest challenge will be to decide which one to make first. This is a beautiful book with plenty to please everyone in your family and ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Don’t be afraid to try Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Roasted Red Cherries, Kona Stout Ice Cream, or Sweet Corn and Black Raspberry Ice Cream. They may sound like strange combinations, but you will walk away a true believer after just one bite.
The next time you get to Columbus, Ohio, you must stop at one of the eight Jeni’s locations. And don’t be surprised if you adjust your itinerary so that you can return day after day! Yes folks, it is THAT good! If you can’t make it to the Midwest, you can order directly from her at www.jenisicecreams.com.
Disclosure: The trip was paid for entirely by Experience Columbus. I was not compensated in any way for this or any other article.
- Chocolate Syrup
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably natural cocoa)
- 1/2 cup brewed coffee
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate (55% to 70% cacao), finely chopped (Source: www.askinosie.com)
- Ice Cream Base
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1-1/2 oz (3 tbsp) cream cheese, softened
- 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp light corn syrup
- Prepare the Chocolate Syrup: Combine the cocoa, coffee and sugar in a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and boil for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate, and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir the syrup until smooth. Set aside.
- Make the Ice Cream Base: Mix about 2 tbsp of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. (add link to glossary) Whisk the cream cheese, warm chocolate syrup, and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.
- Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
- Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
- Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon resealable freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
- Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister of your ice cream maker and spin until thick and creamy, following the manufacturer’s directions.
- Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
- Yield: a generous quart.
- Variatons: Cocoa Zin Ice Cream: Replace the coffee with 1/2 cup Zinfandel or other dry red wine.
- Dark Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream: Make the ice cream base as directed. When it is chilled, pour into the frozen canister and turn on the machine. Drip 4 drops of pure peppermint essential oil (Source: www.crosbymintfarm.com) through the opening in the top of the machine and spin the ice cream.
Jeni’s is touring the nation with her latest book, Jeni’s Splended Ice Cream Desserts. Buy a copy today!
Unauthorized use, distribution, and/or duplication of proprietary material without prior approval is prohibited. If you have any questions or would like permission, I can be contacted via email at: heritagecook (at) comcast (dot) net. Feel free to quote me, just give credit where credit is due, link to the recipe, and please send people to my website,www.theheritagecook.com.