I could go on and on about how much I love Salt & Straw’s Chocolate Caramel Potato Chip Cupcake. I’ve made it my mission this year to get everyone I possibly can to hear me out and try it. CCPCC is the fine craft of ice cream perfected to such a degree that I hope it comes back every March, or in my dreams, permanently. Another of this months voted back offerings, Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie, is no slouch either, but there’s a sneaky good flavor lingering beneath the glitz and glam that really deserves your attention too. Sweet Corn & Waffle Cones combines a sweet corn ice cream with chocolate covered waffle cones, freckles of salted brown butter, and ribbons of rich vanilla caramel.
The sweet corn ice cream isn’t nearly as odd as it may sound, and actually feels right at home with the way Salt & Straw have the ability to take something normally savory and transform it into something decadent and delicious. The base is rich and creamy, but not entirely smooth, with a little bit of gritty texture that feels a little strange at first but isn’t ultimately off putting. Owner and head ice cream maestro Tyler Malek said of the ice cream “we make a fresh “creamed corn” and cook that into the heavy cream that we’ll use for the ice cream. We strain it out through a fine mesh but purposefully push some of the corn through to get that corn flavor to pop…corn is one of the most difficult flavors to get to shine, so we lean towards more flavor in exchange for that grainier texture.”
The corn flavor definitely comes through, with a bit of vegetable sweetness and undercurrent of butter. The corn meshes well with the lush dairy in a way that feels very organic, and carries a slight complexity that’s actually really good. Think of it in the same vein as when you’re eating a corn-based breakfast cereal that tastes mostly like peanut butter or crunch berries or whatever it’s “supposed” to taste like but it has a little corny finish – it’s like that, but in ice cream…and not crunchy.
For anyone who has had the pleasure to visit a S&S scoop shop you know the waffle cones they’re constantly making are top tier and taste as good as they smell, and I have a feeling they used that same wonderful recipe here. The cone pieces are big and crunchy with a lovely coating of chocolate that sets off the sweetness to wonderfully crave-able heights. A couple of the cone pieces fell victim to getting a bit soggy, but even those pieces had a bit of tasty charm like a cookie dunked a little too long in milk.
The absolute star of the show is the vanilla caramel. S&S whip up some of the most incredible swirls you will ever taste, and this sweet-leaning twist on their staple caramel is truly divine. While S&S’s normal caramel is rich with deep semi-burnt tones, this one has more sugary pop with notes of honey and a beautifully syrupy texture that is undeniably rich yet light. It also helped that they didn’t skimp on the caramel at all – pooling up in trance-enducing ribbons all throughout the pint that has the crafty hand packed seal of approval all over it.
Through and through this flavor is essentially an elevated and incredibly well thought out version of Ben & Jerry’s Americone Dream. As one of B&J’s top selling pints for over ten years, I’m not surprised fans voted this 2013 Salt & Straw iteration back for 2018, and I’m really glad they did, because it surprised me with every complex lip-smacking spoonful of creamy caramely corny perfection.
Found at: Salt & Straw ($11)