My wallet has been feeling significantly lighter this week… which I can confidently blame on the Whole Foods that’s opened up just four blocks from my apartment. A few weeks ago, Alana and I went to the opening of Whole Foods DTLA. It’s been 10 years in the making, and I’m so friggin’ excited about it!!! The only grocery store in downtown was Ralph’s, and if I wanted to go to Whole Foods, I’d have to drive up to Pasadena. We’d make a long list of all the ingredients we might need and bring back bags and bags of groceries to last us at least a few weeks before we had to make another trip. Now that there’s a Whole Foods that’s quite literally down the street, I don’t have to worry about running out of ingredients or forgetting one on my list. I can always take 15 minutes to run back and grab whatever I need. And I’ve learned that there’s also Instacart, which is pretty much a life saver when you’re on a tight schedule.
This weekend, I was able to get most of my work done ahead of time and felt like inviting some friends over for some ball park style ice cream sammies! I can never say no to ice cream. No matter how cold it gets (and whoa it was 54° this morning!!!), I won’t say no to a cone. For some reason, ice cream feels even more appropriate to me during the winter months. And oh yes, Winter is sure coming to California.
I turned to Whole Foods for all my ice cream party needs. I already had maraschino cherries, almonds, marshmallows, and sprinkles on hand, which I’m sure you can find at any grocery store. I also purchased the hamburger basket and gingham liners off Amazon, which isn’t super essential but totally fun! All the ingredients are listed below, and also a little bit of an ice cream taste-off!!
Maraschino Cherries – If you have a friend like me, who could finish off a little bowl of maraschino cherries alone, then make sure you put out enough for everyone else.
Marshmallows – No one was too crazy about these. I’m going to need to find another way to use up the rest of the hundred mini marshmallows I still have, but hey how awesome do marshmallows sound toasted now that it’s chilly outside!
Sprinkles – I kind of always have sprinkles in my kitchen. They’re just so much fun and addicting to buy. I want all the colors! I recently purchased a bottle of some gorgeous pastel sprinkles from Sweetapolita’s Etsy shop. They’re so pretty I keep wanting to save them instead of use them! You guys should definitely check them out!
Chopped Almonds – I usually have raw almonds on hand, which made this really easy. I toasted a handful an hour or two before everyone arrived and roughly chopped them.
Waffle Cookies & Brownies – My favorite part about Whole Foods is their pick and choose cookie section! I always struggle to find something to do with any leftover ingredients that I don’t use on a regular basis. I was originally planning on buying Oreos but didn’t want to be stuck with a whole box of them afterwards. At Whole Foods, I was able to pick up just two brownies and three waffle cookies, which I then cut into pieces for easy sprinkling on ice cream.
Martha’s Killer Chocolate Sauce – The chocolate sauce was great, though this specific brand was a little inconvenient. I had to warm the sauce in the microwave to loosen it, which was very time sensitive because you want to wait long enough for the sauce not to be hot and melt the ice cream but not too cool where it thickens again. If you have a lot of guests to worry about, I would definitely recommend buying a squeeze bottle of traditional Hershey’s syrup instead.
365 Whipped Cream – Like chocolate sauce, you can’t leave out whipped cream–and especially the kind from the can. Use the kind from the can. You also ate whipped cream from the can as a kid too??? That wasn’t just me trying to reenact kids on TV??
Ice Cream Taste-Off!
Three Twins Ice Cream // Chocolate – The chocolate was barely touched, which was surprising because I thought everyone loves chocolate ice cream??? It also melted extremely quickly when sitting outside of the freezer.
McConnell’s // Mint Chip – This was almost gone by the end of the night and easily the most popular flavor. It also held up well on the counter and scoop after scoop.
Peddler’s Creamery // Local Lavender – Peddler’s was my faveeeee. It could have been the lavender flavor, which is one of my all time favorites, but this ice cream was a sure winner in my book. I also love the fact that it’s made locally and right in Downtown too! But most interesting of all, is the reason for their namesake. Every container is churned by bike!
Honeymoon // Vanilla – If I’m being honest, no one should have to spend $11 on a pint of ice cream. Though admittedly, the mason car it comes in is totally savable and would make a great reusable jar for homemade ice creams. This one was Roy’s favorite.
So we’ve got all the toppings, serve ware, and our favorite ice creams picked out, but what else do we need? Well, we need DONUTS! Yes, donuts! Truthfully, frying anything scares the bejesus out of me. I’d made donuts once before, and oh boy you should’ve seen me, decked out in a long sleeve t-shirt, oven mitts on both hands and a dish towel draped backwards around my neck. But things were much better this time! I used a smaller pot, and the minimum amount of shortening possible. There’s also only 10 donuts so you don’t have to worry about frying several at a time to get through the batch. These donuts are also shaped a bit unconventionally. They’re kind of like long johns but wider, providing a solid base for anyone daring enough to eat their ice cream sammy hot dog style! I made the dough and fried the donuts the day of the party, then kept them warm inside the oven, preheated to the lowest temperature. I took them out just before serving, which left them still a bit toasty but not warm enough to melt the ice cream.
I set up a small station in the kitchen so everyone could make their own sandwiches. We started with the donuts, cut them like a hot dog bun, added ice cream, and went as crazy and/or reserved as possible with the toppings. This was one of my first times hosting a food related fiesta, and though it was a little bit of prep work, I loved seeing everyone excited and taking selfies with their desserts (I’m looking at you, Amy). Three cheers for friends, food, and winter weather!
Adapted from imstillworkin @ Youtube. Recipe makes about 10 donuts.
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 1/4 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
shortening for frying the doughnuts
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add 1 cup of the warm water. Reserve the 1/4 cup and add in the yeast and sugar. Mix well and set aside.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the water in the stand mixer. Mix for a few seconds with the paddle attachment until the mixture is very slightly combined. Change out the paddle attachment for a dough hook. Knead the dough until it begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, add a tablespoon or two of flour. The dough will be fairly sticky.
3. Transfer the dough to a well floured bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for about an hour.
4. Once the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a well floured surface. Punch the dough down lightly and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Use your hands and a rolling pin to roll out the dough to a 9 x 15 inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle into 10 pieces, each 4.5 x 3 inches. Transfer to a well floured baking tray. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 30 minutes until they have doubled in size.
5. When the donuts are just about ready to be fried, heat a saucepan with about 2-3 inches of shortening. When the shortening reaches 350°, begin frying the donuts. Do not over crowd the fryer or the temperature of the shortening will get too cold to cook the donut all the way through. Make sure to stay between 350°-360°. Fry each donut for about a minute on each side. You can check for doneness by tapping the donut. If it sounds a little hollow, the donuts should be done. Transfer the fried donuts to a drying rack lined with paper towels underneath to catch any excess oil. The donuts will keep for 1-2 days on the counter but are best frozen is you plan to keep them fresh for longer.
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