The Scoop: On Chunks and Ice Cream Paleontology
If you can't have great ice cream, at least you can have chunky ice cream.
I had a lot of good-but-not-great ice cream as a kid. When Mom had a really bad day at the office, she'd come home with two pints of Ben & Jerry's and we'd call it dinner. As I got older, it became my job to get the ice cream on those bad days. When I asked her what flavors she wanted, her reply was always, "Something with stuff in it." Over time the "stuff" became as important as the ice cream itself.
It's easy to see why: the chocolate base in Phish Food, a family favorite, is a little light on the cocoa and heavy on the gummy stabilizers. But sending those dark, crunchy chocolate fish to their doom always made me smile. Quality ingredients and technique make great ice cream, but chunks make ice cream fun.
Mining for the biggest chunks of toffee is a cutthroat competition in my family. Full pints are left pitted with their greatest resources removed. Spoons are batted away with alarming force when sharing a bowl. Chunks: gotta catch 'em all.
A breakthrough came to me when I discovered Ben & Jerry's Fossil Fuel, a flavor which sadly seems to have left circulation. It was a "sweet cream" (read: "creme") base with chocolate cookie pieces, a fudge swirl, and little chocolate dinosaurs. Which you excavate. With your spoon.
Fossil Fuel made ice cream more fun than it had any right to be. It made chunks more than just chunks—it turned downing a pint into a game of ice cream paleontology. I became the Indiana Jones of dessert paleontology, discovering new frontiers of the fossil record, whole chocolate fudge species of dinosaurs otherwise ignored by science. And then I ate them.
These days I tend to go for smooth ice creams that are more about the churn than the chunk. But when I'm looking to have some real fun with my dessert, I always find myself back in front of the freezer case, picking out the pint with the most "stuff."
Looking for an ice cream recipe with a great base and lots of chunks? This Really Rocky Road will do you right.