There’s nothing sweeter than ending a hot summer’s day with a few scoops of creamy, cold ice cream. But like anything in life, too much of a good thing can make the magic fade. To keep your ice cream game on point, mix it up with some innovative and interesting toppings. It’s time to think outside the candy box and into the garden box where you’ll find fresh, flavorful options to top off your cool dessert.
So Berry Nice
We put berries on salads and in smoothies, in glazes and even on kebabs. Berries are plentiful in the summer months, so there’s no reason not to cap the day with a few more good-for-you bites by sprinkling a handful on a bowl of our favorite flavor of ice cream.
To get the most out of these fresh flavors, try bringing opposites together. Pair the pure sweetness of strawberries with the rich flavors of coffee ice cream, or combine the tartness of blackberry with a sweet chocolate ice cream. Blueberries offer a beautiful color contrast with vanilla, and raspberries are divine on top of sea salt caramel.
Add a Healthy Note with Compote
Making berry compote is a fast, simple way to bring a touch of elegance to your dessert. Start by bringing orange juice to a boil, and then add several ounces of your berry of choice or mixed berries. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat.
While the berries are bubbling, use a spoon to mix and mash them into smaller pieces. Once the mixture begins to thicken, remove the compote from the heat. Allow the compote to cool a bit, spoon it over your favorite flavor of ice cream, and enjoy each smooth bite. Or mix it into a milkshake for a fruity swirl.
Get Down with Syrup
If you prefer your berries in liquid form, skip the compote and go right for the syrup. And we’re not talking about the unnatural “strawberry” syrup you buy at the store.
To make your own homemade fruit syrups, simply put berries, sugar, and an once or two of water into a pot. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer for about ten minute. Strain the mixture for an extra smooth finish and you have homemade berry syrup ready for dessert!
If your garden is overflowing with herbs, you have the perfect ice cream topping growing outside your window. Using your gardening clippers, select a few leaves of mint, basil, and thyme. Inside, rinse the leaves gently under cold water. With the help of a quality herb mincer, cut the leaves into small pieces.
Then all you have to do is sprinkle your beautiful, bright, fresh herbs over your bowl of ice cream. If your ice cream is a basic flavor, like vanilla or chocolate, the fresh flavors of the herbs will stand out more and offer a totally different twist on this classic treat.
There’s no reason to avoid the taste of the tropics just because you’re eating an icy cold bowl of ice cream. If you like fruits with both sweet and sour notes, consider picking up the nearest pineapple, mango, kiwi, orange, or even lemons and limes.
These fruits can be sliced or diced, sugared, or turned into syrup or compote. You can even mix bits of citrus zest into your scoops for a tangy, tart addition. Any way you make them, they’re sure to add a little extra summer fun to your sweet treat.