As much as I love eating  ice cream, writing about it isn’t really that fun.  Now that this semester is over, I’m going back to posting in my old travel blog.  I really don’t care if I don’t have a narrow enough topic, target it at specific “buyer personas,” or engage with my readers enough.  Yes travel is a broad topic, but I enjoy writing about it.


A blurry shot of J.P. Licks on Newbury St.

Ever since I first stepped foot into J.P. Licks during my freshman orientation at BU, I’ve been addicted.  Whenever I’m shopping on Newbury St. or in Coolidge Corner, I just have to stop for a scoop. From their many homemade ice cream and frozen yogurt flavors to their cow print walls to their “teacup” booth, J.P. Licks is a definitely one of the best places to get ice cream in Boston.

I stopped at the J.P. Licks on Newbury St. tonight for a kiddie size Cow Tracks in a sugar cone.  Cow Tracks is J.P. Licks’ version of Moose Tracks: vanilla based ice cream with chunks of chocolate and tiny peanut butter cups.  For under $3.00,  I had enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.

In addition to unique flavors of hard ice cream like Cherry Garciapparra Ortiz and Kowlau, they also have frozen yogurt, sherberts, sorbet, soft serve, frappes, sundaes, ice cream cake, and coffe drinks.  Since their ice cream is homemade, they always have a few seasonal flavors; this month’s flavors include Candy Cane,  Pumpkin, and Apple Crisp.  They even serve a few rotating flavors of lactose free ice cream for those who can’t eat dairy and ice cream for dogs called Cow Paws!

Their prices can be a little expensive; their cheapest sundae is over $5.00, but their kiddie is big enough, and it’s around $3.00.  So that’s not too bad. It’s no 39 cent cone from McDonald’s, but I think I can splurge every once in a while for some great quality ice cream.

According to their website, J.P. Licks has 8 different locations in the Boston area and has won numerous “Best of Boston” awards.  A 4 star rating on Yelp with many positive reviews also helps boost their image as a Boston favorite.  What’s another great place in Boston to get ice cream?

Cold Stone is another place I frequently stop for ice cream.  Conveniently located in many spots throughout Boston, Cold Stone is always there for me when I need my favorite dessert.  There’s one at the corner of Pleasant St. and Comm. Ave, which is right down the street from me, and another by the movie theaters near Fenway, which is perfect for a before-or-after-movie treat.

I love how Cold Stone is different from most other ice cream places.  Instead of having your ice cream scooped into a dish with toppings drizzled and sprinkled on top, the wonderful people that work at Cold Stone mix the toppings right in with the ice cream on their granite stone.  That way, you get toppings in every bite.  I know some sundae artists at Friendly’s, like myself, are able to “flare” the ice cream just right so that when you put the toppings on, they drip all the way down to the bottom. But unfortunately, some don’t have that skill, and you end up with all the toppings at the top, and boring, plain ice cream at the bottom.

According to Cold Stone’s website, their first store opened in 1988 in Tempe, Arizona.  I don’t think it made it to the Boston area until a few years ago, though.  I remember the first time I had ice cream that’s similar to Cold Stone was at Create a Cone in my hotel in Atlantic City probably 5 or 6 years ago.  I wrote about my love for Create a Cone in my other blog. You should go there to read about it!

My favorite signature creations are Peanut Butter Cup Perfection (chocolate ice cream, peanut butter cups, fudge, and peanut butter sauce) and Cookie Doughn’t You Want Some (french vanilla ice cream, chocolate chips, cookie dough, fudge, and carmel).

You don’t have to choose a signature creation. At Cold Stone, the opportunities are endless.  One of my favorite creations is chocolate ice cream with peanut butter cups, Butterfinger, and fudge.  They have every topping from apple pie filling to birthday cake to gummy bears and snickers.  So many options to choose from!

The only downside, is the price.  Once you start adding mix-ins, a small dish can become over $5.00.  The quality is great, and I’ll pay the $5.00, but I’d like it more if it was a little cheaper.

My favorite quote from their website, “Ice cream for breakfast, a smoothie for lunch, and a sensible cake for dinner? – Who says you can’t eat this amazing ice cream for all three meals?” Love it.  I could easily have ice cream all three meals.

While on the topic of baking, I thought it would be fun to look at some videos about how to make homemade ice cream.  I watched some video of a woman making ice cream using different ingredients in large plastic bags, and shaking them for 10 minutes, but that seemed too difficult.  Then, something a lot quicker.  When you search, “how to make ice cream” on You Tube, the first result is a video about making snow ice cream.

The video was the easiest way to make “ice cream” that i found.  I don’t know if snow ice cream tastes anything like real ice cream, though. I feel like making ice cream out of snow would be kind of weird.  Even if it’s clean snow…it’s still been outside in the elements.  I don’t know.  The woman in the video said that she left a bowl out to collect the clean snow.  I guess that would be your best bet.

The only ingredients you need are 1/2 cup of half and half or whole milk, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla, and 4 cups of clean snow.  You just mix the milk, sugar, and vanilla together, and then pour it over the clean snow, and mix that up.  In the video, the consistency looks pretty crumbly, not creamy, like true ice cream. It would probably be a fun activity for kids, as long as the snow is clean and safe, I guess.  I’ll have to try it this winter to see if it actually works.

Anyone have any recipes for easy homemade ice cream.

All the ingredients

I’m not great at baking.  I rarely attempt anything other than the brownies where you just add eggs and water.  If it’s a friend’s birthday, I’ll make them cake from a box and cover it with frosting from a can.  I’ve never even tried to make a pie or any other dessert from scratch.  This Thanksgiving, though, I was determined to make an edible dessert that wasn’t from a box.

My “boyfriend” and I decided on apple crisp, since we had been thinking about making it since we had gone apple picking earlier in the fall. Also, topping warm apple crisp with cold vanilla ice cream makes it even better.  We used a recipe that my mom has:


6 cups (6-8) apples cored, peeled, and sliced. We used Macintosh.
2 table spoons flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix ingredients together. Place in 2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with crisp topping. Bake at 375 until bubbly, about 45 minutes. (Ours was done after 40 minutes).

Crisp topping:
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar (half light brown, half dark brown) –we only had light brown so that’s all we used. It came out fine.
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup butter, softened

Mix together dry ingredients. Cut in butter until crumbly.

(The recipe book says that this was made by Carol Mercurio so I’ll giver her credit)

The finished apple crisp

We sprinkled a little extra cinnamon on top before we put it in the oven because we love cinnamon!  And of course we topped it with ice cream and whip cream.

When it was done, we pulled it out of the oven, with the apples underneath the crisp topping bubbling, and set it down to cool.  After it cooled for a few minutes, we scooped large portions  into two bowls and topped it with Edy’s Slow Churned French Vanilla ice cream and whip cream.  We chose Edy’s Slow Churned because it’s so creamy and flavorful.  Its container also boasts 1/2 the fat and 1/3 of the calories of regular ice cream.  Each serving only contains 100 calories. You might as well cut back somewhere, when you’re shoveling turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pie down you’re throat.

Warm apple crisp + vanilla ice cream = amazing

Surprisingly, the apple crisp came out great.  The apple filling was sweet and goey, and the topping was crisp and sugary.  The vanilla ice cream and whip cream was the perfect way to top it off.  Sadly, since we ate so much right after it came out of the oven, not much was left on Thanksgiving day.  It doesn’t matter, though, my mom’s pies and other desserts were enough to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.

What should I try to bake next?  Remember, it’s always better if it’s topped with ice cream.

Mocha Lava Cake

While at home for Thanksgiving break, I just had to stop at the place where my addiction began for some fried food and ice cream.  I figured if I’m already eating thousands of calories on Thanksgiving day, whats another thousand or so on the day before Thanksgiving.  Friendly’s has come out with so many new additions to its menu since I stopped working there two years ago.  They added more sundae toppings, ice cream flavors, meals, and more.

My favorite new addition to the menu is the $9.99 create your own meal.  For under $10, you can choose a drink, a meal, and a two-scoop sundae. So much food.  I got my favorite sandwich, a honey BBQ supermelt, and for dessert I chose to upgrade to one of their new lava cake sundaes for $1.59 extra. My friend and I split the Mocha Lava Cake; the other choices include a Peppermint Stick Lava Cake, a Peanut Butter Lava Cake, and a Forbidden Chocolate Lava Cake.  Each comes with different flavors of ice cream and different toppings, but the one thing they have in common is their massive size.

The sundae was HUGE.  It came out in a large salad bowl with a chocolate fudge lava cake, three scoops of Vienna Mocha Chunk ice cream, tons of hot fudge, mounds of whip cream, chocolate chips, and a cherry.  It was delicious.  The combination of the coffee flavored ice cream with all the chocolate fudge was perfect.  I was so full after I finished, I could barely move.  I don’t think I’ll eat another one of those sundaes for a long time.

I’m sure when I”m home for winter break, though, I’ll be able to squeeze in a few of my Friendly’s favorites.  I could always go for a Peanut Butter Cup Friend-Z, a Chocolate Fribble, or a Reeses Pieces Sundae.  I definitely have an ice cream problem.

What’s everyone’s favorite sundae or ice cream flavor at Friendly’s?   I took a picture, but I forgot my camera cord, so I’ll have to wait until I get back to Boston to upload it.

McDonald's ice cream cone (taken from google images)


The home of Big Macs and Quarter Pounders definitely isn’t the first place you think of going for ice cream, but it’s the cheapest.  I’m not a huge fan of McDonald’s.  I probably have it once or twice a year, and that’s usually when stopping at a rest stop where there aren’t any better options.  One day this summer, though, I was driving by one of the many McDonald’s in my hometown, and I saw a sign advertising 39 cent ice cream cones! I just had to stop.

I love soft serve ice cream, especially on a hot summer day, so I went through the drive thru, and got my vanilla soft serve ice cream cone. Vanilla’s the only flavor they have, and they don’t have sugar cones, but I’m not complaining when I can have my favorite dessert for only 39 cents.

Supposedly, McDonald’s soft serve is “reduced fat” and only has 150 calories per cone.  Not bad at all. So as much as you may hate their greasy burgers and fried food, you can’t beat their deals when it comes “healthy”-ish ice cream cones.

I’m not sure if this was just a limited time offer, or if the cones are always 39 cents.  I’ll have to figure it out.  I know that McDonald’s changes their prices based on location, though.  For example, McDonald’s in a big city (like Boston) or at a rest stop or in an airport is always more expensive than just your average suburban store. So, in Boston, I’m assuming their cones are a little more pricey. Probably around $1.00. Still reasonable.

Where else can I get some really cheap ice cream?

One of the many pints I love.

Most of the time when I want ice cream, I go out and buy a single scoop in a cone or a dish, or a sundae.  I try to avoid having ice cream in my freezer at home because I’ll eat it. Constantly.  I broke down the other day, though, and bought a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.  I was really craving ice cream, but it was cold outside and I didn’t want to go far.

I stood in front of the massive freezer at the local convenience  store, contemplating the pro’s and con’s of Cherry Garcia vs. Phish Food vs. Americone Dream.  Did I want chocolatey or carmel goodness, or sweet cherry flavors.  Such hard a hard decision. I even thought about getting frozen yogurt.   Finally, I decided on “Everything but the…” because it’s  packed with so many different toppings, and it’s one of the few flavors I’d never tried before.

The description on the package reads, “A collision of Chocolate & Vanilla ice cream mixed with Heath Bar Crunch, White Chocolate Chunks, Peanut Butter Cups & and Chocolate Covered Almonds.” “Sounds pretty good to me,” I thought.  I paid my $6.00, my addiction getting the best of me once again, and I left the store.

I got home,  started digging into the frozen heaven, and within minutes I was hooked.  There were just so many flavors in every bite.  The only downside was that the peanut butter cups are huge, frozen, and hard to bite into. Ben & Jerry’s should crush them up a little more before putting them into the ice cream so they’re not so hard to eat, when you’re shoveling scoop after scoop into your mouth.

About halfway through the pint, I decided to turn it over and look at the nutrition facts.  I gasped and  thought, “Oh my god, I’ve already eaten over 600 calories and almost 40 grams of fat.”  I slowly removed my spoon and grudgingly placed my pint into the freezer.  Why does something so good have to be so bad for you?

Next time I get Ben & Jerry’s I’ll have to stick to going to one of their “scoop shops.”  The closest ones to me are in the Prudential Center or on Newbury Street.  There, I’ll be able to do a little better with portion control.

The downside of ice cream is that it’s extremely high in calories and fat.  For example, one four ounce scoop of plain vanilla ice cream from Baskin Robbins has 260 calories and 25% of your daily value of fat.  That’s just a scoop of plain vanilla.  Imagine how many calories are in a large sundae with fudge brownie ice cream, peanut butter sauce, hot fudge, and whip cream.  Probably thousands.  Basically, ice cream everyday almost certainly leads to weight gain.  I discovered this the hard way back when I worked at Friendly’s, as well as when I first came to BU and found out that the dining halls have soft serve machines in them.  Unlimited, free soft serve ice cream is not a good thing for someone who’s trying to overcome an ice cream addiction.

That said, as often as possible, I try to stick to frozen yogurt. I know frozen yogurt isn’t the healthiest stuff out there, but it is slightly better than ice cream.  When you eat it often enough, those saved calories add up.

While my favorite types of regular ice cream are “hard,” I really enjoy soft serve frozen yogurt.  If you get to mix toppings, such as fruit or candy in with it, even better.  My favorite place for soft serve frozen yogurt in Boston is Angora Cafe, located at 1024 Comm. Ave. (right down the street from me).  They have great salads and sandwiches, but I usually go there for their frozen yogurt.

Their frozen yogurt is plain vanilla soft serve, but they have tons of mix ins: anything from peanut butter cups to raspberries, from mango to cheesecake.  They even have strange mix ins like Grape Nuts and gingersnaps.  Whatever mix in you want, they’re sure to have it.  My favorite combinations are peanut butter cups and Butterfingers or raspberries and strawberries.  They use a special machine to mix everything together so you get every flavor in each bite.

Another plus: Angora delivers their frozen yogurt.  I used to love that when I lived in Kenmore Square. Where else do they have great frozen yogurt in Boston?

P.S. I went the other day, but forgot my camera. So unfortunately I don’t have pictures.


The freezer at Napoli

I’ve always been an ice cream and frozen yogurt fan, but I hadn’t really gotten into gelato until recently. My “boyfriend” lives in the North End, surrounded by countless delicious, family-owned Italian restaurants, pastry stores, and gelato shops, so I’ve tried a few different types of gelato recently.

According to Wikipedia, gelato is the Italian version of ice cream.  It is made with many of the same ingredients, but contains less air than regular ice cream, making it more dense and faster melting.  Although gelato is more creamy than traditional ice cream, it surprisingly contains less fat. That’s always a plus, since ice cream is definitely not a diet friendly snack.


ice cream sign

Last week, I went to Napoli Pastry on Salem Street in the North End.  Their large ice cream cone sign caught my eye, and I was drawn inside, where I found a large freezer filled with many different flavors of gelato.  Flavors include traditional ones such as strawberry, hazelnut, and vanilla, as well as candy bar favorites: Milky Way, Snickers, and Reeses Peanut Butter Cup.  As a chocolate fan, I chose Milky Way.  It was perfect.  Chocolate. Carmel. Creamy heaven.


I loved every bite, and for only $2.50 for a small scoop, I got a great deal, too!

What other gelato places in the North End should I try?

September 2017
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