Summer is officially here. And you know what that means: it’s time to get used to the sound of the ice cream truck music, and the throngs of screaming kids ready to fork over their allowance for ice cream sandwiches or ice pops shaped like cartoon characters. As delicious as those treats are, though, us adults usually have a more sophisticated palate than that. So it only makes sense that we upgrade our ice cream for something more, well, adult. Well we’ve got you covered here! Check out five unusual and interesting ice cream toppings after the kids are in bed!
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1. Balsamic Vinegar & Berries
Try it on: Vanilla or Chocolate.
If there were any justice in the world, balsamic vinegar and berries would be up there with ketchup and mustard or peanut butter and jelly in terms of perfect food combinations. You could go the easy route here and toss some berries onto your ice cream and top it off with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Or, you can try something a little more decadent (and a little more work!) and with this recipe:
1. In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, half of the sugar, and berries.
2. In a small heavy skillet, combine pine nuts, cloves and the rest of the sugar. Stir for around 4 minutes over medium-low heat. You’ll know they’re done when the pine nuts are golden brown and the sugar has melted.
3. Top ice cream with the strawberries first, and then top with nuts.
Recipe Credit: Epicurious
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2. Popcorn and Caramel Sauce
Who doesn’t love caramel popcorn? And, for that matter, who doesn’t love ice cream? So it certainly makes sense to combine the two together. All of you ambitious cooks can check out the recipe for buttery popcorn ice cream from scratch over at The Kitchn. It sounds perfect: the popcorn is more than just a topping, it’s in the ice cream itself. The rest of us, in the meantime, can pour some caramel sauce and buttered popcorn over our store-bought vanilla.
3. Olive Oil & Sea Salt
One thing I know for sure: I love the flavor of olive oil and sea salt, and I love ice cream. Together? Eh, that sounded kind of gross — I’m not very big on savory + sweet flavor combinations. When I tried it, though, I had to throw that all out the window. If you’re using good-quality ingredients (especially, in this case, olive oil!) harmoniously complement each other. There’s also a lot of room to experiment with the type of sea salt you use.
How to: Drizzle olive oil onto ice cream — about 1/2 tablespoon per scoop is a good start. Sprinkle sea salt. You can even add fresh herbs like basil, rosemary or thyme. Lemon zest works well, too!
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4. Black Sesame Seeds & Orange Zest
Though it may sound strange to westerners, in Asia, black sesame ice cream is quite common. According to Serious Eats, in fact, it’s as common as vanilla is in the United States! You can click that link to find a recipe for sesame seed ice cream, or revamp your vanilla ice cream with the seeds and some orange zest. Totally delicious!
5. Cayenne Pepper & Cinnamon
Fans of Mexican hot chocolate will love this one! Sprinkle some cayenne pepper and cinnamon on top of some rich chocolate ice cream for a spicy take on a classic dessert.