April 16, 2012

THE STINGY GOURMET: Nasties Does Birthdays, Too!

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I woke up on the day of my friend’s birthday with no idea for a gift. It’s difficult to find the right gift, and I’d rather not give something that will be tossed aside and never seen again. Naturally, my first reaction to this problem was: FOOD.

Instead of baking a cake or other standard birthday goodies, I ventured into the realm of ice cream. Ice cream is an essential part of my diet, promoting my general happiness and well-being, so I decided this might be the perfect birthday treat. What I ended up with I call: Candy Ice Cream Surprise. Almost too simple and nearly exactly like what its name entails (just bunch of junk food and ice cream mixed together), I managed to have an extremely enjoyable time concocting my dessert.  Just because it’s from Nasties doesn’t mean it can’t involve culinary pursuit!

I shopped around Nasties grabbing far too many snacks, but I eventually ended up with vanilla ice cream, one large peanut butter cookie, Brussels cookies, Twix, KitKats, Peanut M&Ms and for the curveball, Tostito’s tortilla chips. I went back to my dorm and began assembling the birthday gift.

I needed plainness and reliability of classic vanilla to serve as my foundation. I spooned out several heaping scoops of beautiful white, upon which my various toppings would soon find their home. The Twix and Kit Kats could have easily been crushed up in my hands but for the sake of cooking I took out my fancy knife: the super-sharp ceramic blade (the type that looks like plastic but definitely doesn’t feel like it). I chopped up two Twix bars, severing them into ¼ quarter inch slices. Then, I proceeded to do the same with the KitKats, although in slightly larger segments to preserve their wafery crispiness and that airy crunch we love to listen for. I dumped these chocolatey pieces into the bowl, and afterwards poured in about a handful of peanut M&Ms. The M&Ms added necessary color to what would have been a gooey pile of white and brown, which is not the most enticing birthday color combo. So instead, my mushy mixture could profit from the bright food coloring while also gaining the delight that is the peanut. Of all the cookies to choose from at Nasties, Brussels were the clear winner. Yes, there were many appetizing choices, but nothing screams luxury like Pepperidge Farm’s cookie descriptions. I read on the package, “Voyage to the edge of crisp…” and immediately had made my decision. Brussels are the superior Milano, with a lacey, delicate and crispy shell encasing divine chocolate. I took a few Brussels and snapped them into pieces, dropping them in the bowl and shaking off the crumbs from my laboring hands. To finish off: the tortilla chips. I grabbed some chips from the bag and crunched them in my hands, dusting off the pile of decadence and bad-health with this salty snack.

I admit it looked a bit depressing: mushy, gushy and soupy, the vanilla ice cream struggled to fight for the attention that my toppings held.  Nevertheless, once mixed all together and spread over the giant peanut butter cookie, it was quite a tasty combination.  The caramel from the Twix became a bit too chewy from the cold but was definitely an interesting texture to such a creation. As for the tortilla chips, they were the perfect addition. The saltiness worked well with all of the sweet, and I oddly enjoyed the taste of corn tortilla chips in my ice cream. In all, it was an unconventional and very last-minute birthday present, but the end result was definitely a treat.

Original Author: Carolyn Scheinberg