The ice cream truck in our neighborhood seemed to be talking directly to me for it played the same song from my dancing ballerina jewelry box, the song that my ears were so well tuned to. (If I were a contestant on Name That Tune, I would have won it on one note!!) I remember playing in the yard and hearing the ice cream truck from blocks away nearing our house. The sound would ignite what seemed like my Wonder Woman speed propelling me into the house crazily yelling MOM, MOM, MOM, the summer call for ice cream money. (Sorry mom, must have startled you each time!) With her approval came one continuous move of grabbing a dollar from her purse (her intention was for me to buy my brother one, too) and flying out the door, taking a brief second to listen for the truck’s whereabouts, before sprinting up the street or concluding that I must recruit the help of my bike. The bike race usually consisted of other neighborhood friends who were in the same predicament as I. We would all pedal as fast as we could, some peeling off to take shortcuts across backyards, others to take alternate routes. It was a race but not against each other, for we all knew, as long as somebody made it to the truck, we would all win. There was only one ice cream treat for me, Screwball, the raspberry sorbet cup served with a little wooden spoon with an ice cream ball at the bottom, two treats in one. I always bragged as I smacked my gum about the fact that long after my friends rocket pops were gone, my experience was continuing. For my brother’s ice cream treats? An ice cream treat certainly can’t make it back to the house in a Louisiana summer, I just brought back some change to Mom. (Sorry big bro!!)
Today I can usually pass up ice cream, not one of my favorite treats. But when I heard the ice cream truck on the street the other day, I paused long and hard, and wondered if they still have screwballs. Did you know that National Ice Cream day was last Sunday? Did you have some to celebrate? Do you still have some leftover? What about ice cream your kids or grand kids begged for at the store only to say they didn’t like it after their first try? You are in luck! This recipe is a good one to use up leftovers-ice cream,cake, cookies, brownies, candy, fruit, or nuts, don’t let anything go stale or spoil.
Ice Cream Balls: Plan ahead for freezer time in between steps and this is a really simple and fun treat. First see what “mix-ins” you may have to mix into your ice cream. I happened to have a cupcake, three strawberries, and two scoops chocolate ice cream leftover from a small dinner gathering. (Did you know that chocolate ice cream was invented long before vanilla? But I wouldn’t recommend going into an ice cream parlor asking for the original flavor!) In a food processor, I mix the cupcake and strawberries. You can skip the food processor and pretend you work at one of those fancy “mix in” ice cream slab stores, just use two spoons to crush and mix your findings together. Mix your “mix-ins” into your ice cream of choice. Put into a bowl and freeze until firm, about an hour or so, along with a pan, plate, or ice-cube tray. After the hour or so, remove the ice cream and pan, plate, or ice-cube tray from the freezer. Put some parchment paper on the pan, plate, or tray. (I use an ice-cube tray, it makes lining up my ice cream balls easier and they seem to freeze faster on it.) Form the ice cream mixture into small balls. I use a melon baller to form the balls, but you could also use a small cookie or ice cream scoop, too. Put the ice cream balls onto the paper. Push a toothpick into the center of each ball. Put the plate, pan, or ice-cube tray back into the freezer. Freeze until firm, about 2 hours.
Decide what “toppings” you may want for your ice cream balls. I do walnuts and grated dark chocolate. Crush or grate each one and put into individual prep bowls. In a separate bowl, melt your choice of chocolate (milk, dark, white) or bark. Remove the ice cream balls from the freezer. Use the toothpick to pick up each ball and dip into chocolate and/or topping and place back on paper. Work fast (that’s why I only took one pic!!) and when each one is done, freeze once again for an hour.
That’s it! Enjoy! It is a good way to stretch the last bit of ice cream, two scoops equals about a dozen ice cream balls! Great for a pool party!
Put your TO COOK IS TO CREATE thinking cap on: Think about all the different possibilities for “mix-ins” and toppings. Chips and pretzels would satisfy that sweet and salty craving. Have some cookies? What other fruit? My hubby wants blueberries next time. Bananas would have been good with the chocolate and walnuts. What about adding a liqueur, too, for a grown-up treat. Think of all the candy bar ice cream flavors, create your own. Grate a chocolate bar or crush a candy bar for a topping or “mix-in”. Remember it doesn’t take much to transform two scoops of ice cream, a couple cookies, a cupcake, a handful of nuts, a cone, chocolate chips, grated coconut…you get the idea!
FOOD FUN: No fun, but if you do happen to get a brain freeze by popping too many ice cream balls into your mouth, try pressing your tongue to the roof of your mouth and hold it there for a few seconds. I learned this years ago from a friend of mine, and it works…the first few times anyway!