Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cool Moon Ice Cream Happy Hour=Chocolate Cherry Almond Chip Brownie Sundae Supper

We never met a happy hour we didn't like at TableTalkPortland, so when I saw the happy hour sign in Cool Moon Ice Cream's window today while strolling through the Pearl counting Stokke strollers and Patagonia vests (why, you ask? for poops and giggles, that's why, nosy, it's just what I DO), my finely honed reflexes naturally caused me to do a double take. An ice cream happy hour? I like ice cream. I really like happy hour. I'd surely have to investigate further.

Turns out that every day, from 4 to 6 pm, Cool Moon offers a selection of roughly a dozen different flavors in prepacked pints for $4. I had exactly $4 in my wallet, one pint's worth, so it was a tough choice, but mercifully the ice cream girl let me try all 12 flavors so I didn't have any lingering regrets about the pint that got away. Actually I only tasted five, but I really think she would have happily let me try all 12. It was so easy--I'd point and she'd almost instantaneously whip out yet another one those little white spoons bearing a fat dollop of creamy citrusy Lemon Fig or zesty sweet Ginger or tangy, mildly nutty Citrus Pistachio. I didn't feel guilty for eating sample after sample, either. As you probably noticed on the sign above, Cool Moon Ice Cream is made right on the premises with seasonal, all-natural Oregon ingredients, by Oregon native and ice cream afficionado supreme Eva Bernhard & crew. 

It took a while, but finally I chose the Cherry Almond Chip and my new pint and I hurried home to make supper...and dessert of course. What to do with my steal of a happy hour ice cream pint? I rifled through the larder, pulling out a half-eaten bag of chocolate chips and a Pearl Bakery Chocolate Espresso Walnut Brownie I'd bought for lunch but failed to finish. (Self control? I have it in pints, I mean, spades.) I had a little whipping cream in the fridge...a plan for dessert was forming. I would make: Chocolate Cherry Almond Chip Brownie Sundaes! Who needed supper anyway? I was heading straight for dessert. 

First, I heated a half cup of cream in a small saucepan on medium heat until the pool of cream was rimmed with tiny bubbles. 

I turned the heat off and gently shook the remnants of the bag of chocolate chips in, probably 4 oz or so. Yes, they were Ghiradelli chocolate chips. While I'm very finicky about my straight-out-of-the-wrapper eating chocolate, I find that Ghiradelli's 60 percent Cacao Bittersweet Chips do a fantabulous job in tons of different recipes, from ganache to flourless chocolate cake, and they are far less expensive per ounce than my eating chocolate, particularly if they are on sale at Freddy Meyers. Be sure to stock up when they are. I try to have at least 10 bags in my pantry at all times, in case at a moment's notice I need to make Chocolate Pots for 50, or sandbag my apartment. 

I let the hot cream and chocolate mingle for a while, then stirred them gently with a whisk to blend them into a simple chocolate sauce, or ganache. Some people avoid using a whisk because you ideally don't want to introduce too much air into your ganache, but whatever. 

I cut a square of Chocolate Espresso Walnut Brownie, and placed a scoop of my Cool Moon Cherry Almond Chip ice cream on top. Since this dessert was in miniature, for the sake of me not putting on an extra layer of winter blubber and also because I'd already, of course, eaten half the brownie at lunch along with my salami, fontina, and artichoke heart sandwich, I used a truffle scoop to collect and deliver the brownie's Cherry Almond Chip toupe. 

I poured the warm ganache into my new plastic squeeze bottle, which I had to buy at Zupans because somebody, probably Michelle, stole my other ones. I inscribed the burgeoning brownie sundae with a scribble of ganache that probably means something in some obscure jungle language, something like, "Seriously, who spends $1200 on a stroller anyway, you dingus?! Besides Charlotte in the Sex & the City movie, of course. That's justifiable--it's Charlotte."

Beautiful. The sweet creamy cherry ice cream studded with bits of chocolate and crunchy almonds lightened the thick hearty brownie and complemented its deep coffee notes, and as for the ganache, well, what in the world isn't improved by a liberal dose of cryptic chocolate sauce hieroglyphics? 

I say, you simply must get yourself down to Cool Moon Ice Cream in the Pearl tomorrow between 4 and 6 pm and get your own $4 pint of local homemade ice cream to make a sundae with. I know that you, like me, were probably planning to spend that $4 on a glass of happy hour champagne at the M Bar on NW 21st ($3 per glass of bubbly between 6 and 8 pm EVERY DAY, + $1 or more tip so the long-dark-haired bartender girl doesn't put a hoodoo hex on you because maybe, just maybe, once upon a time, long, long ago, at the end of a very taxing evening of pub crawling, you took your bubbly to go...in her glass), but I promise, you won't regret it.


1 comment:

  1. Love the food, but love the plate even more!