Saturday, June 15, 2013

2nd Street Creamery Tons of Brownies (An Ice Cream Review)

My first day in Durham--well, night really, since I got there around 5:30--I knew I had to go scout the ice cream selections. I’d been planning this shopping trip for a while.

Of course I bought some (other) necessities, too. But the ice cream was the fun part. At least until I got home and then had a really tough decision to make about which one to eat first! Oh, what a terrible position to be in, having too much ice cream.... After much agonizing, though, I settled on 2nd Street Creamery’s Tons of Brownies.

Since I’m used to the wacky, bright colors of Ben & Jerry’s, these unassuming pints are easy to overlook as boring. Except I’d heard of them before and had them on my list to try. Anyway, Tons of Brownies is described as “Vanilla Ice Cream with Chewy Chocolate Chip Brownies and Fudge Sauce.” It’s nice to see a company do brownies in vanilla ice cream instead of chocolate like Ben & Jerry’s, Edy’s, etc.

Check out that fudge swirl, it looks nice and thick...and the brownies are speckled along the surface, even before scooping. And after...

When they say “tons,” they mean TONS!! The brownies themselves aren’t nearly as big as Ben & Jerry’s in Chocolate Fudge Brownie, but they take up even more volume in this pint. I was getting at least three in every spoonful, and they were soft enough not to impede my spoon as I scooped through them. They are dense, chewy, fudgy, and just plain delicious--the height of brownie goodness. Sometimes they seem to have a little crunchiness, like the overbaked edges of a pan, but thankfully those pieces were in the minority. No overdone brownies in this household!

We need to talk about the fudge swirl, though. Upon first tasting the ice cream, I was a little put off by its strong bitter flavor. I think my eyes probably bugged out, and I definitely hesitated a little. I was expecting super rich and sweet. Chocolate is sweet, right? Wrong. Even Hershey’s Lite chocolate syrup is better than this stuff. It’s almost liquid and infuses itself with everything else in the pint, whether you want it to or not. Which would be fine if it actually tasted like fudge, but it doesn’t. Luckily, the brownies do mitigate I aimed for the brownies, of course.

The vanilla base is very easy to scoop, but still extra-dense. Between the brownies and the swirl, I can’t really tell you what it tasted like. It could have been completely unflavored and I still wouldn’t have noticed. I think if they toned down the fudge a little bit, this pint would really kick some butt.

So, my first experience with 2nd Street wasn’t a total success, but I wouldn’t call it a failure, either. By the end of my bowl, I was starting to enjoy it more. Maybe it’s just getting over that initial shock of bitterness, or maybe I decided that I wanted brownies badly enough to overlook it. It’s obviously good ice cream, but it does have some room for improvement. I’m a little nervous now about the pint of Truck Stop Fudge sitting in my freezer, but that’s the beauty of trying new things--you never know what to expect!
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