Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dreaming of ice cream

About the time that little pints of Ben & Jerry's started showing up in the grocery stores, the half-gallon block of ice cream lost its cache. As most ice cream makers rushed to put their product in tubs, the block nearly went into extinction, relegated to the bottom of the freezer in its store-brand garb. But some brands still use the block, and some store brands actually are quite good as well, using high quality ingredients.

For cooks, the blocks are a boon. When cooking for crowds, the ice cream easily can be sliced and plated, with none of the fatigue involved in digging out 100 scoops. Even at home, squares form the foundation of spectacular desserts, whether atop plain cake and drizzled with a delicious homemade sauce, layered with brownies, or coated with chocolate and sandwiched between graham crackers. And the block has the advantage of storing more easily in the freezer.

To prevent "wax" forming on the surface of the ice cream in the opened carton, be sure to wrap it tightly with wax paper or plastic wrap.

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