Today’s cookies are the cherry pecan icebox cookies from Taste of Home‘s Best Loved Cookies and Bars. These have been a family favorite for years, and I’ve written about them before.
National Ice Cream Month is nearly over, so I’m featuring spumoni. I have a memory of the best spumoni at Villabate Bakery in Brooklyn (before it became Villabate Alba). Where better to try spumoni than at L&B Spumoni Gardens in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. L&B is a pizzeria that sells spumoni and ices as well. It’s still owned by the same family as the original owner. There are outdoor tables outside, and you can walk up to the window and either order pizza or spumoni/ices. On my visit, I got both. I saw a lot of people with plastic cups of the signature spumoni with its distinctive green, brown and yellow color representing pistachio, chocolate and vanilla. So I got one too while my friend got plain vanilla. While it was a smooth treat, I prefer my spumoni with pink cherry in it. Also, I prefer the lemon ice at L&B to the spumoni.
The second spumoni I sampled was at the recent Giglio Festival in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, from an Uncle Louie G’s stand. It had the same vanilla, chocolate and pistachio in yellow, brown and green. However, it was smoother than L&B and had more flavor. I really enjoyed this one.
Mahlab, a spice made from the ground kernels inside cherry pits, was unknown to me until I recently had an American Spoon milk caramel that listed it as an ingredient. A fan of dulce de leche, I saw American Spoon’s version at Chelsea Market Baskets in Chelsea Market. It listed mahlab as an ingredient. Since I love Midwestern cherries, I thought I’d love this. And, indeed, I do. It has a spicy, bitter taste with a floral hint. I’ve been eating it on yogurt and ice cream.
I saw a cooking show today with a recipe for crepes with cajeta, and this milk caramel would be great for that too.
I since learned that mahlab is used in Greek and Middle Eastern baking, and it comes from St. Lucie cherries. Now I’d like to experiment with it myself. First, I have to find it. Know where to get it in NYC?
Yes, ice cream is a popular topic on my blog because I love it! I love iced treats in all forms–ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt…(am I the only one who remembers ice milk?). Recently, I went to one of my favorite ice cream shops in the city, Sundaes and Cones, in the East Village, with a hankering for my favorite flavor there–corn. I got that along with ginger and Thai tea. What a delight! One was better than the other, but my favorite is still corn!
In addition to old favorites, I love giving new places a try. While in Little Italy for San Gennaro, I stepped into Mo Gelato, a new gelateria. Of course, gelato is better for you than ice cream, so I was being healthy when I got a double scoop (in a cup, mind you). Cherry and mascarpone flavors. Both were out of this world. The mascarpone was so creamy, but the cherry was the showstopper. Also creamy, it just had the perfect cherry flavor and a tiny bit of a crunch. L’arte del Gelato finally has some competition.