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Beyond the Cone: 10 Fun Ways to Eat Ice Cream

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On average, Americans consume more than 23 pounds of ice cream every year. Who says you have to eat it in a cone, or even in a bowl? In honor of National Ice Cream Month, which kicks off July 1, here are a few unconventional ways to hit your ice cream quota.

1. ICE CREAM TACOS

These dessert tacos are as tasty as they are easy to make. First, sauté tortillas in butter; next, dredge them in a cinnamon-sugar mixture. Fold the tortillas in half and dip the top edges in melted chocolate; allow the chocolate to harden, then pack the taco with your favorite ice cream flavor, top with caramel, and pop in the freezer for 30 minutes. Finally, eat them!

2. ICE CREAM PIE

This pie has a graham cracker crust and combines vanilla ice cream with peanut butter cups, pecans, Butterfingers, and homemade caramel sauce for a truly delicious dessert. If you just can’t wait for three hours, or want a quick ice cream pie you can make with kids, click here for a simpler, 10-minute recipe.

3. ICE CREAM BOMB

There are a lot of steps in this take on Baked Alaska—which, as legend has it, was invented at Delmonico’s in New York City in 1867 in celebration of the U.S.’s purchase of Alaska—but it’s still relatively easy to make. First, prepare a cocoa-coconut base; then, smush a bunch of ice cream into a bowl, evening out the top (which will become the bottom of your dessert) by placing cling wrap over the ice cream and smoothing it with your hand; then it goes into the freezer for a bit. Once it’s frozen hard enough, take it out of the freezer, dunk the bowl into another bowl of warm water, and gently pry the ice cream loose. Place the flat bottom on the coconut base, cover the whole thing in plastic wrap, and freeze again. Next, make a cocoa meringue and smooth it over the ice cream with a spatula. Bake at 356°F for four to five minutes and serve immediately.

4. ICE CREAM CUPCAKES

Ice cream + cupcakes = yum! Creating these tasty treats is simple. The first step: The day before you’re planning to serve, bake some cupcakes—whichever flavor you prefer. Next, scoop out the center; cut off the top of what you’ve scooped and set it aside. (Feel free to eat what’s left over!) Then, fill the hole in with ice cream and pop that piece of cupcake on top. Stick the cupcakes in the freezer overnight. When you’re just about ready to serve, pull them and out and top them with frosting or a dollop of whipped cream.

5. FRIED ICE CREAM

Fried ice cream: It’s not just for county fairs anymore! Start by placing nine scoops of ice cream on a baking sheet and popping them in the freezer for an hour. Next, roll them in a mixture of cornflake crumbs and cinnamon, then put them in a plastic bag and freeze overnight. When you’re ready to fry, heat the oil to 375°F; fry the balls one at a time for eight to 10 seconds. Serve in chilled bowls immediately.

6. ICE CREAM “HOT DOG”

If you have leftover hot dog buns, don’t toss ‘em—drench them in butter, cinnamon, and sugar, throw them on the grill, and then fill them with ice cream! This recipe from Food & Wine will show you how.

7. COOKIE DOUGH ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

Everyone’s had a chipwich. This recipe flips the script on the chipwich by sandwiching cookie dough ice cream between uncooked cookie dough. You can either make the ice cream yourself or go pre-made; either way, the results will be delicious.

8. ICE CREAM TRUFFLES

To create these delicious treats, you’ll first need to line a baking sheet with wax paper and scoop out eight round balls of ice cream in three flavors (this recipe recommends vanilla, chocolate, and coffee, but you can choose whatever your palette wants). Freeze the ice cream overnight. The next day, put your desired toppings—chopped almonds and coconut, for example—in separate bowls and line plates with wax paper. Next, melt some bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate in vegetable oil, stirring constantly. Once it’s totally melted, remove it from heat and let cool until it’s lukewarm. Quickly dip the ice cream balls in the chocolate and then into the bowls with toppings. Once all of the ice cream balls are fully coated, freeze them again until they’re firm, which should take a few hours (you can also freeze them for up to three days). Enjoy!

9. ICE CREAM POPS

Fun for kids and adults alike, this recipe calls for combining crushed cookies, peanut butter cups, and candy-coated chocolates in a bowl, then popping a spoonful into 5-ounce paper cups. Next, put vanilla ice cream and the remaining cookie/PB cup/candy mixture in a mixer bowl and combine with a paddle attachment. Spoon the mixture into the cups and insert a popsicle stick. Freeze until the pops are firm, then rip the cups off and serve!

10. MOCHI ICE CREAM

Finally, if making ice cream isn’t your thing, pick up My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream at the store. This delicious, creamy ice cream is wrapped in sweet rice dough and comes in seven flavors: Double Chocolate, Green Tea, Cookies and Cream, Ripe Strawberry, Sweet Mango, Mint Chocolate Chip, and Vanilla Bean. Find a store here.

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Food
Let Alexa Help You Brine a Turkey This Thanksgiving
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There’s a reason most of us only cook turkey once a year: The bird is notoriously easy to overcook. You could rely on gravy and cranberry sauce to salvage your dried-out turkey this Thanksgiving, or you could follow cooking advice from the experts.

Brining a turkey is the best way to guarantee it retains its moisture after hours in the oven. The process is also time-consuming, so do yourself a favor this year and let Alexa be your sous chef.

“Morton Brine Time” is a new skill from the cloud-based home assistant. If you own an Amazon Echo you can download it for free by going online or by asking Alexa to enable it. Once it’s set up, start asking Alexa for brining tips and step-by-step recipes customized to the size of your turkey. Two recipes were developed by Richard Blais, the celebrity chef and restaurateur best known for his Top Chef win and Food Network appearances.

Whether you go for a wet brine (soaking your turkey in water, salt, sugar, and spices) or a dry one (just salt and spices), the process isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. And the knowledge that your bird will come out succulent and juicy will definitely take some stress out of the holiday.

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Why Your Traditional Thanksgiving Should Include Oysters
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If you want to throw a really traditional Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll need oysters. The mollusks would have been featured prominently on the holiday tables of the earliest American settlers—even if that beloved Thanksgiving turkey probably wasn’t. At the time, oysters were supremely popular additions to the table for coastal colonial settlements, though in some cases, they were seen as a hardship food more than a delicacy.

For one thing, oysters were an easy food source. In the Chesapeake Bay, they were so plentiful in the 17th and 18th centuries that ships had to be careful not to run aground on oyster beds, and one visitor in 1702 wrote that they could be pulled up with only a pair of tongs. Native Americans, too, ate plenty of oysters, occasionally harvesting them and feasting for days.

Early colonists ate so many oysters that the population of the mollusks dwindled to dangerously low levels by the 19th century, according to curriculum prepared by a Gettysburg University history professor. In these years, scarcity turned oysters into a luxury item for the wealthy, a situation that prevailed until the 1880s, when oyster production skyrocketed and prices dropped again [PDF]. If you lived on the coast, though, you were probably still downing the bivalves.

Beginning in the 1840s, canning and railroads brought the mollusks to inland regions. According to 1985's The Celebrated Oysterhouse Cookbook, the middle of the 19th century found America in a “great oyster craze,” where “no evening of pleasure was complete without oysters; no host worthy of the name failed to serve 'the luscious bivalves,' as they were actually called, to his guests.”

At the turn of the century, oysters were still a Thanksgiving standard. They were on Thanksgiving menus everywhere from New York City's Plaza Hotel to train dining cars, in the form of soup, cocktails, and stuffing.

In 1954, the Fish and Wildlife Service tried to promote Thanksgiving oysters to widespread use once again. They sent out a press release [PDF], entitled “Oysters—a Thanksgiving Tradition,” which included the agency’s own recipes for cocktail sauce, oyster bisque, and oyster stuffing.

In the modern era, Thanksgiving oysters have remained most popular in the South. Oyster stuffing is a classic dish in New Orleans, and chefs like Emeril Lagasse have their own signature recipes. If you’re not looking for a celebrity chef’s recipe, perhaps you want to try the Fish and Wildlife Service’s? Check it out below.

Oyster Stuffing

INGREDIENTS

1 pint oysters
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
4 cups day-old bread cubes
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
Dash poultry seasoning
Dash pepper

Drain oysters, saving liquor, and chop. Cook celery and onion in butter until tender. Combine oysters, cooked vegetables, bread cubes, and seasonings, and mix thoroughly. If stuffing seems dry, moisten with oyster liquor. Makes enough for a four-pound chicken.

If you’re using a turkey, the FWS advises that the recipe above provides enough for about every five pounds of bird, so multiply accordingly.

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