I usually suggest pairing baked goods with vanilla ice cream. Vanilla ice cream goes well with just about any dessert. Just as vanilla extract can really emphasize the flavors in recipe, so can vanilla ice cream. But even though vanilla goes well with so many things, that doesn’t mean that other ice cream flavors don’t work in its place. In fact, switching to coffee ice cream, butter pecan ice cream or even chocolate ice cream can really add a new dimension and richness to a dessert by introducing a new flavor.
In a recent issue, Cook’s Country magazine tasted a number of chocolate ice creams to see which brand came out on top, and whether the premium brands were really worth the money. Tasters looked for deep chocolate flavor in a creamy, smooth base. The winner was Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Ice Cream, a premium ice cream that has very little overrun (less air incorporated into the ice cream for a denser, richer texture) and a very chocolaty flavor. Edy’s/Dryer’s Rich & Creamy Chocolate Ice Cream, Friendly’s Rich & Creamy Classic and Wells Blue Bunny were also recommended.
Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Ice Cream (which is my favorite) came in just behind all these brands, since tasters didn’t feel it was chocolaty enough. For me, I love its texture, balanced flavor and the fact that this ultra-premium brand was the only one in the taste test without any emusifiers of any kind. In fact, the Haagen-Dazs ingredient list reads as: cream, skim milk, sugar, egg yolks, cocoa processed with alkali (a.k.a Dutch Processed Cocoa powder).
I’m going to have to remember to suggest chocolate ice cream as a pairing for cobblers and cakes a little more often!