Monday, July 29, 2013

High Road Peanut Butter Brittle (An Ice Cream Review)

I’m a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to peanut butter and ice cream, because while I love both peanut butter and ice cream and could probably live entirely off of either one if I needed to, I’m not a lover of peanut butter ice cream. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always delicious. But for me, ice cream should be super sweet and sugary, and that’s just not something that peanut butter should be.

BUT, I do the occasional peanut butter ice cream and I usually end up enjoying it immensely. Plus I love caramel in my ice cream. So was I going to resist when I saw High Road Peanut Butter Brittle at Whole Foods?

NO!!! And let me tell you why, in High Road’s words: “First, we blended all-natural peanut butter with our sweet cream ice cream mix. Then, after spinning the ice cream, we fold in handfuls of our own handmade peanut brittle, and finish by folding in an incredible peanut butter caramel.”

Yeah. Three of my favorite things: peanut butter, caramel, and sweet cream. Oh, and I like peanut brittle, too. In fact I had Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Brittle a long time ago and liking it. The addition of peanut butter here just sounds heavenly.

I do believe I see a streak of peanut butter-caramel swirl there, plus the base is tinted an appetizing tan color. And those dots are peanut brittle lurking just under the surface. Let me say, first off, this is one funky base. It’s primarily sweet cream, but the peanut butter is there too...just not very strong. I think this is the first time that peanut butter has taken a backseat to anything, because peanut butter is...well, it’s a pretty strong flavor. (That’s why it goes with everything!) So the pure sweetness of this on first bite really threw me for a loop.

Once you start hitting some swirl, the peanut butter gets stronger. But again, it’s not the obvious star player. Sometimes the swirl comes off as sticky and mostly caramel, but then there will be a chunk that’s almost like a classic peanut butter swirl. It has its moments, but (in my pint at least) it wasn’t nearly as thick and decadent as the swirls found in Haagen-Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s. I would have liked to see a lot more of it, because it really was delightful.

Then there’s the final component: the peanut brittle. I remember the peanut brittle in B&J’s version having a ton of sugary, peanutty flavor. But here...I don’t know. Maybe it’s been too long since I ate peanut brittle, but this wasn’t what I was expecting. Maybe larger pieces? More sweetness? More peanut? More crunch? These are basically individual candies peanuts. Which is a shame because what I love about peanut brittle is the stuff around the peanuts. I’m not actually a huge fan of peanuts themselves (back to being a hypocrite, I guess).

Now don’t think I didn’t enjoy this ice cream...because I most definitely did! Once again High Road impressed me with the quality of the base. While not as dense as some premium ice cream, it is super creamy (especially after sitting out a bit). And, while both French Toast and Vanilla Fleur de Sel were both soft and spoonable straight out of the freezer, this one is firmer and slower to melt. Those extra calories have to go somewhere, I guess.

So. It’s good. It really is. But it could be better. I would have liked a stronger peanut butter infusion, and a little less sweet cream. (I know, right, who wants less sweetness?) It’s just a bit of a shock to have such a funky base. But it certainly kept me interested, and adequately peanut-butter-fueled, so I’d say go ahead and try it. It’s a cool new twist on peanut butter (and peanut brittle).
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