Category: Ice Cream (Page 1 of 2)

Bubbies Mochi Review

The Ube Purple Yam flavor made me a fan

I’m not the biggest fan of mochi, a Japanese pastry made from glutinous rice, so I surprised myself when I added these Bubbies mochi ice cream treats to my cart after I came across them while online shopping at Safeway. I was also surprised at how much I ended up liking them.

The treats consist of flavored ice cream wrapped in a thin layer of mochi. The mochi is chewy and gelatinous, but thin enough that it actually complements the ice cream.

Ube, a purple yam from the Philippines, has a difficult to describe flavor, which to me is utterly forgettable – probably for this very reason. It’s sweet and somewhat fruity, pretty subtle and filled with umami.

The results were for a very enjoyable, not very sweet, treat. It actually made me think it’s something my grandmother would have enjoyed – which only confirms the fact that I’ve gotten old.

The treats come in a wide variety of flavors, though only a couple where available at my local Safeway. I’m totally intrigued about some of the others – blood orange, milk tea and passion fruit sound particularly interested – but I’ll have to wait to find them elsewhere. The package of 6 was $4 on sale at Safeway, but they usually sell for $7.50

San Leandro Bites: KoolFi Ice Cream @ the Cherry Festival

KoolFi Ice Cream is a local favorite, but does it live up to the hype?

Saturday was the Cherry Festival in San Leandro. Now that my children are gone, I don’t feel the need to join the crowds in watching a parade and listening to music, so I happily stayed home. My husband, however, is a huge fan of festivals and local activities, so not only did he go, but he brought me some ice cream from KoolFi Creamery, the Indian ice cream shop that all my friends rave about. KoolFi was having a special cherry flavor for the festival, and though Mike doesn’t like cherries, he had to try it.

This was not our first time trying KoolFi ice cream. My wonderful friend Elektra had gotten me a sampler for my birthday (I think) last year, which I’d much appreciated, even if I hadn’t been a huge fan of any of the flavors – I guess Indian flavors are not my thing.

The ice cream was, as you can expect, somewhat melted by the time Mike got it home, but I don’t think that affected it much. He had the cherry with chocolate flakes and was quite happy with it. I tried it, and frankly the chocolate flavor predominated. It was good. I had the mango lassi flavor, and I enjoyed it as well. I particularly liked the smoothness, even silkiness of the ice cream. I didn’t think, however, that it was so much better than other ice creams as to justify the steep price – I think it was $7 for a rather small scoop. The ice cream is organic, however.

KoolFi Creamery
599 MacArthur Blvd
San Leandro, CA
W - Su 3 PM - 9 PM

Apple Pie Granita – Recipe

This apple pie granita tastes exactly like frozen apple pie, and it’s absolutely delicious. I served it as a palate cleanser for my 2020 Christmas Eve dinner, though it’s probably too sweet for that. It would work just as well as dessert. Everyone enjoyed it nonetheless.

I made it using Martinelli’s apple juice rather than “natural-style apple juice” like the original recipe called for, because that’s what I had at home. If I made it again using regular apple juice, as I did, I’d probably reduce the sugar to 1/4 cup or leave it off altogether.


  • 3 cups apple juice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • a dash of nutmeg
  • a dash of allspice


Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Transfer it to an 8″x8″ glass baking dish. Place in the freezer until the sides start to freeze, about 1 to 2 hours. Using a fork, break and mix and put back in the freezer for another 2 hours. Break again with a fork and transfer to small serving glasses. Keep in the freezer until ready to serve.

Based on Emerile Lagasse’s recipe at Food & Wine magazine.

2020 Christmas Eve Dinner

Marga’s favorite recipesMarga’s Party & Holiday Recipes

Not really ice cream reviews: Gelateria Italiana vs. Tempt

(Note: These companies have closed)

First of all, let me start by saying that I feel like a complete jerk for blogging about ice cream after reading this article about the torturous conditions in which California inmates find themselves, and hearing from a friend of mine who is a prison lawyer, that water was being rationed in California women’s prisons during the heat wave we had last week.

Be that as it may, not blogging about ice cream won’t change any of that, so here it goes.  These are two new, for me, brands of ice-cream-like products that I found at Grocery Outlet, here in San Leandro.

Gelateria Italiana

I tried both their Hazelnut & Chocolate and Pistachio flavors.  The Hazelnut & chocolate one was divine.  It tasted exactly like you would expect it to taste, but it was lighter that your regular gelato.  The Pistachio was pretty good as well, but less exciting because, after all, pistachio ice cream gets boring after a whole.

The ice cream comes all the way from Italy and I would fully recommend it but for its ingredients.  The first two ingredients are what you’d expect: milk and sugar (I guess no cream in gelato), but we then encounter “glucose syrup” – which is basically like corn syrup, but not necessarily from corn – and then “refined vegetable oil”.  Say what?  What is oil doing in my ice cream? I’ve made ice cream many times and gelato a few, but never, never have I heard of using oil.  I might have thought the oil was for cooking the hazelnuts, but it comes before “roasted hazelnut paste” as an ingredient, which means there is more of it than hazelnuts.

The gelato came in a 30 oz tub (so not quite a quart) and cost about $3 at GO.


What tempted me to try Tempt Coffee Biscotti “frozen dessert” ($2 for a pint at GO) was that it’s main ingredient: hemp milk.  Sure, I knew there would be nothing “naughty” in the ice cream, but I like the idea of supporting the hemp industry.  Alas, the “ice cream” was very disappointing.  The texture is nice enough, quite creamy, but the ice cream’s flavor is very mild and somewhat off putting.  According to my daughter, the after taste is better than the taste, however.  Tempt could probably improve this flavor, at least, by using more coffee so the coffee flavor is stronger, but they should also forgo the soggy, flavorless, gluten-free biscotti.

Tempt uses mostly organic ingredients, chief among them rice, but it also includes oil in its formula.  In all, it’s probably not a terrible choice for vegans, but others will probably want to avoid it.


Three Twins Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Review – Yummm!

(Note: This company has closed)

3twinsChocolatePeanutButterI found this gem of an ice cream at our local San Leandro Grocery Outlet for $2.  It was the first time I came across a three twins product, but I’m one of those people who absolutely loves peanut butter and chocolate (as I write this, I’m plotting to make my husband go and get me the ingredients for a peanut butter shake), so I had to try it.  I’m glad I did.

Unlike most ice creams of this type, this wasn’t chocolate ice cream with swirls of peanut butter or vice versa. Instead both the peanut butter and the cocoa powder are mixed together into a combined flavor.  I think I still prefer the traditional type, but this is quite good too, albeit more peanut butter would be better.  Then again, nothing stops you from adding your own.

My oldest daughter pronounced it the “best ice cream ever”, and while my youngest wasn’t as enthusiastic, this is a girl with a limited like for sweets.

Three Twins seems to be this century’s answer to Ben & Jerry’s.  The company is based in the North Bay and makes organic ice cream from locally sourced milk and cream.  They have four stores and they seem to mostly sell through Whole Foods (which would explain why I never heard of them).  In addition to regular flavors, they have some interesting sounding ones such as cardamon, lemon cookie and sea salted caramel.  They sell ice cream through their website for $10 a pint, so the $2 Grocery Outlet price is particularly tempting.

Maple Nut Ice Cream – Recipe

I wanted to make ice cream to go with the purported buche de Noel my friend Lola was bringing for Xmas Eve dinner. I wanted something creamy, refreshing, with a light flavor that would go well with the cake regardless of its flavors. I wanted it to be simple, and doable with whatever I had at home. My original plan had been to make this salted caramel ice cream, but I decided at the last moment that it was too complicated, and as I searched for other recipes the idea of making maple ice cream came to mind. I had loved it as a child, when my grandmother used to make it from the tiny bottles of maple extract she’d gotten during her last trip to the United States, before my birth, and for that reason it still holds a warm place in my hand. Plus, it’s very simple to make and I had maple syrup at home.
The following is the recipe I made, from the Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book. It’s a great recipe, the results gave me a smooth, tasty ice cream which I loved (though not as much as granny’s).
Maple Nut Ice Cream
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Put eggs in a large bowl and whisk them until light and fluffy. Whisk in the sugar, a little at the time, until completely mixed in. Whisk in the cream and milk. Pour into the ice cream machine and process according to the instructions.
Two minutes before the ice cream is done add the maple syrup and then the walnuts. Finish processing, pour into a freezer safe container and freeze overnight.
Christmas Eve 2010 menu
Marga’s Best Recipes

Knudsen’s Ice Creamery – Castro Valley – Update

I originally tried (and reviewed) Knudsen’s Ice Creamery in 2004, soon after they opened. We went several times after that, but for some reason we hadn’t been back in a couple of years. We finally went yesterday (9/5/09) and, as usual, we had a great time.
Knudsen’s had not changed much since our last visit, it looks pretty much the same, but the food and service had improved, while the ice cream had gone downhill. Mike and I shared the sliders ($10), four little sandwiches, each with a different filling: grilled chicken (bland), angus burger (quite nice), bbq pork (very nice) and pot-roast (ok, also somewhat bland). It came with a small portion of fries (standard) and fried onion shavings (ok). The girls had the chicken nuggets ($3 – 5 per portion) and they enjoyed it. In Mika, my 7yo’s words, “they are better than McDonald’s chicken nuggets” (note, we don’t take her to McDonald’ s, but family members do from time to time).
I was disappointed by the ice cream, however. It’s now made in-house rather than by Fentons. I thought that the flavors were very mild. The maple nut we had was pretty good, but the peanut butter cup ice cream tasted as a malted chocolate ice cream, there was barely any peanut butter in it. Mika’s mocha almond fudge, in particular, had an off taste that I disliked. She was happy with it; her only complaint was that it wasn’t as creamy as the ones I make (but I usually follow Ben and Jerry’s recipes).
The hot fudge and caramel sauces, on the other hand, were quite good.
In all, we had a very pleasant meal at Knudsen’s, but I’m not super eager to return.
Knudsen’s Ice Creamery
3323 Castro Valley Blvd
Castro Valley, CA
(510) 582-2775

2004 review

2006 update

Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream – Recipe

Last night I made Reeses peanut butter cup ice cream, from the Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book, which is great. The ice cream tasted just like Ben & Jerry’s, only better. It’s very rich, perfectly frozen (i.e. neither too soft or too hard, and not in the least icy) and in the words of my 7yo, Mika, “the best ice cream you’ve ever made”.

So here is the recipe. I used an egg beater to whisk everything, easier than a whisk and it gave it the right consistency. I used slightly less than the 3/4 cup of sugar, regular whipping cream, 1% milk and organic salted smooth peanut butter.

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • 8 Reeses peanut butter cups, chopped into largish bites

Whisk the eggs until light and frothy. Add the sugar slowly, whisking constantly to incorporate. Add the whipping cream and milk and whisk until smooth. Pour 1 cup of the mixture into a separate bowl and add the peanut butter to that bowl. Mix well and pour peanut butter mixture into the cream mixture. Whisk in until fully incorporated.
Freeze mixture in your ice cream maker as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Two minutes before the ice cream is due to be done add the peanut butter cup pieces.
Pour into a tupperware or similar container and freeze until hard (it should take about 5-6 hours).

Ben & Jerry’s Organic Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream – Review

Ben and Jerry’s line of organic ice cream flavors (introduced in 2003), has not been doing very well. I haven’t really seen them in supermarkets, and this week they made an appearance at my neighborhood’s Grocery Outlet – for $1.50 each! I tried their organic vanilla and organic strawberry and they were both fine, not spectacular. These are not flavors I usually get, so I can’t say how they compare to the originals.

It’s another matter with Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream, which is one of my favorite B&J’s flavors. Alas, I’ll have to continue eating the regular version (usually $3 on sale at Safeway), as the organic version just doesn’t do it. The problem starts with the flavor of the ice cream, the chocolate is just not deep enough, it lacks that almost bitter richness of the original. In a blind test, I would not guess it was Ben & Jerry’s. The lack of flavor continues in the brownie – which is also dry (how do they manage to make a brownie that is sitting in ice cream dry?) and non-chewy. Not a brownie you’d pay to eat. In other words – there is a reason why this ice cream is being sold at Grocery Outlet.

Strawberry Ice cream

Yesterday I made some strawberry ice cream from the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream book, and it was amazingly delicious. I’m not really a fan of strawberry ice cream, but this one was out of this world. I’m sure part of the reason was that I used fresh strawberries bought that same day at the farmers’ market. Definitely use fresh strawberries if you can.
Strawberry Ice Cream

  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled & sliced
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk
    In a small bowl, mix the strawberries with the sugar and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
    Mash the strawberries to a puree and set aside.
    In a medium-size bowl whisk the eggs until light and fluffy. Whisk in the sugar, a little at the time, until fully blended. Add the cream and milk and whisk to blend.
    Stir the strawberries into the cream.
    Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.
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