I’m a big fan of sweets, especially sweets involving ice-cream or anything like it. When I went to New York a few years ago, my one request was to visit Serendipity 3 and try the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. Growing up, many of our family celebrations involved making homemade ice-cream. Our grandma even bought Stacie and me a set of fancy ice-cream dishes, because if you’re going to eat ice-cream, you need to do it right. I even love its counterparts- gelato, frozen yogurt, custard… Many of my memories revolve around enjoying a sweet treat.
I recently received a copy of The Soda Fountain by Gia Giasullo and Peter Freeman, the co-founders of Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain, an old-timey ice-cream counter. The Soda Fountain is a cute book, full of great-looking recipes. The first 50 pages of the book cover the history of American soda fountains, and more tidbits are scattered throughout the remaining pages. From there, the cleverly-named recipes are divided into sections: Getting Started (tools to buy), Syrups and Sodas (Vanilla Cream Syrup, Blueberry Syrup, Hibiscus Syrup), Floats (Choco-Cola, Princess Float, Purple Cow), Egg Creams (Maple Egg Cream, Orange Egg Cream), Sundaes (The Almond Joyful, Cookie Monster, The Elvis), Milkshakes (The Rocket Shake, Pecan Pie Bar Shake), Toppings (Pie Crust Crumble, Caramel Sauce, Candied Bacon Bits), and Baked Goods (Brownies, Vanilla Wafers, Pumpkin Pie). Each chapter includes useful tips and plenty of pictures to entice you.
I started off with a few of the simpler recipes (mostly recipes for which I had ingredients on hand). Hot Fudge was the first recipe I tried, and it was a great one to start with.
Makes 4 cups
1 cup (8 ounces) water
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut in 16 pieces
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) cane sugar
1/2 cup (6 ounces) honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Put the 1 cup water and cocoa powder in a saucepan and whisk to combine. Add the chocolate and cook over low heat, whisking often, until the chocolate has melted. Take care during this step as the mixture has a tendency to scorch if it comes to a boil, imparting a slightly burned taste to the final product. As soon as the chocolate has melted, add the butter, 3 or 4 pieces at a time, whisking the fudge for 10 to 15 seconds after each addition. Whisk in the sugar and honey and bring to a slow boil over low heat. Cook 15 minutes, or to desired consistency, whisking occasionally. (Bear in mind that the hot fudge will be much “fudgier” once it’s cooled.) Whisk in the vanilla and salt.
Store the topping in glass jars or in covered plastic containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
The hot fudge tasted great and was pretty simple to make. It was just slightly gritty like most homemade fudge sauces and had a nice sweet-but-not-too-sweet flavor. The only problem I had with the recipe (and this applies to most of the recipes in the book) was that it’s not really scaled down for home use. For example, this recipe makes 4 cups of fudge, but you only need 1/4 cup for each of the Classic Black-and-White Shakes that I made next. An average jar of fudge that you would buy at the grocery store is about 12 oz. I halved the recipe and it still made enough to fill a 1-pint container. Unless you’re having a party, you’ll be eating fudge for weeks!
I used the fudge to make the Classic Black-and-White Shake. You pour the fudge in three stripes down the glass and then add a vanilla milkshake (recipe in the book, but basically vanilla ice-cream and milk). Simple but tasty, with a fun look.
I also tried the Brooklyn Egg Cream (a chocolate egg cream- a combination of milk, seltzer, and chocolate sauce). It was pretty tasty but I actually prefer vanilla egg creams which is surprising given my love for chocolate. I think vanilla egg creams are just a little sweeter. The secret to a perfect egg cream is the froth on the top, but mine mostly disappeared in the time it took me to clean up the mess my seltzer made when it exploded everywhere (oops).
The Soda Fountain is a fun book full of great recipes and I like the historical aspect as well. I just wish the recipes were scaled down more so you end up with easier-to-use quantities. The recipes I tried were delicious and easy to follow and I can’t wait to try more.
4 out of 5
I received a copy of The Soda Fountain from Blogging For Books in exchange for my review.