Sunday, January 16, 2005

Improving on chocolate cake mix

My secret Santa at work got me the book 101 Things to Do With a Cake Mix and its sequel. Today, my wife and I tried one of the recipes, dubbed "Death by Chocolate." It didn't live up to its name. My friend commented that it was more of a flesh wound. It was, however, pretty darn good for a cake that was cheap and easy to make and used few ingredients.

I look forward to trying some of the books' other recipes, many of which are variations on a couple of themes, such as pouring gelatin or glaze into holes in a standard cake, or adding creative ingredients to the mix.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Graeter's Ice Cream

Here in Boston, we have a lot of great ice cream shops, so it's rare that I'm impressed by an out-of-town creamery. Graeter's, based in Cincinnati, is an exception. The ice cream itself is quite good, but it's the chocolate chips that really make for a special treat. I've always disliked mint chocolate chip and other chip flavors due to the waxy, stick-in-your-teeth consistency of the chips. Greater's, though, manages to keep the chips (technically, they're chunks, not chips) creamy and fudgy. So, instead of picking them out of your teeth, they just melt in your mouth.

Peanut butter chip is pretty good, toffee chip (with pieces of Heath bar) is sweet and yummy, and I'm looking forward to trying the mint chip. I'm also looking forward to trying one of their non-chip flavors, amaretto crunch, which contains "fresh baked macaroon cookies and crunchy butter toffee pieces."

Another great thing about Graeter's is that, when visiting Cincinnati, you can get pints packed to go in a styrofoam cooler with dry ice. Well worth the cost of $30 for 6 pints if you live out of state but want your smooth-and-creamy chip fix.