Tuesday, Jan 30th, 2018 by Dana Cree

Breaking News or Breaking the News Cycle

I’m doing something I never do- I’m writing from a place of anger. And I might even hit publish when I’m done.

Today the Chicago tribune broke the story that I’m starting an ice cream company (woo-hoo!) called Pretty Cool Ice Cream.

Louisa Chu wrote a great and thorough piece that included bits about my book, incredibly kind comments from Paul Kahan, and a bit of information about the flagship storefront opening in Logan Square. She even went to Publican Anker and created video content over scoops of my ice cream. I am grateful for all the work she put into this.

When I considered who I wanted to give the story to, because I am fortunate enough to have the privilege of choosing at this point in my career- for the first time, I considered the gender of the journalist. I also chose someone I have known for years and years, long before I came to Chicago. In 2005 Louisa Chu was cooking in France, and wrote a blog called The Moveable Feast. I was cooking in Seattle and preparing for a long stage at The Fat Duck. She wrote a blog post about what to bring with you on your european stage- and it came just in time for me to collect those items before getting on an airplane. A comment by me led to email exchanges, and before you knew it we had shared secrets about underwear tactics for co-ed changing rooms.

Fast forward to this weekend, we were preparing to make the announcement that I was leaving the publican behind in March to focus on the ice cream company I have been building for over a year. Gratefully, Louisa Chu agreed to cover the story and run it in The Chicago Tribune.

As part of the story, we announced my partnership with Michael Ciapciak- an amazing guy who owns Bang Bang Pie Shop, a complimentary concept to ice cream, no doubt. Michael and I have been talking about how well pie and ice cream go together for years, and when I was ready to turn my own business plan into a reality, the conversations we had been having carried us forward. We agreed to work together, with Michael continuing to focus on his own growing dessert business, and adding his gift for making people happy and experience operating a concpet to my business in any way he could. I feel very fortunate to have a partner to work with, and one who was willing to add their strengths to what I was building. He’s going to make Pretty Cool Ice Cream better than I would have done on my own in so many ways.

So what is there to possibly be angry about- I have a great location, a great concept, a great partner, great support from the restaurant group I am leaving, and great press coverage out of the gate?

My anger arises from the follow up article written by Eater- titled “Bang Bang Pies to Open an Ice Cream shop with Beard-Nominated Chef.” We were always concerned that the media would skew my own shop to be a Bang Bang concept who tapped Dana Cree as a pastry chef, and openly discussed this possibility, checking in with our own egos and being sensitive to each others. Seriously- Michael is a great partner.

But the really really angering part is summed up in this sentence….

“But it looks like owner Michael Ciapciak wants to expand his dessert domination over to ice cream. He wasn’t immediately reached for comment.”

The author of this article read about a partnership between a woman and a man and immediately assumed the man was the lead, and only reached out to the man for comment. An article discussing a woman starting a company that mentions a man as a partner- admittedly only looks like the man is expanding their dessert domination. A man that has been in the dessert business for 5 years vs. a woman who has been in the dessert business for 18 years. A woman who has already started a line of ice cream, written a book about ice cream, devoted their entire career to ice cream, earned awards for their work in dessert, and groomed themselves in the business side of desserts under the tutelage of the successful restaurant group One Off Hospitality for 6 years.

The original Tribune article even says “The Publican pastry chef Dana Cree will open Pretty Cool Ice Cream, her own company….”

But yeah, after reading all this, to the author of the Eater article it looks like the man is expanding their dessert domination.

I am very fortunate- when I shared this with Michael, he totally got it. But even he admitted he didn’t think of it until I mentioned that only the male partner was reached out to for comment. He acknowledged how wrong it is.

You can try to shift the angle, and say that Bang Bang Pie will drive more clicks in a title, or their reputation is stronger than mine. You can tell me that no press is bad press. But you can’t tell me the focus on the man over the woman isn’t real, or that I shouldn’t talk about it.

Fact- I am grateful to have the partnership of person who grew another dessert brand, male or female.

Fact- I am absolutely not ashamed or jealous of sharing a spotlight with Michael, he’s just great and I am proud to be there with him side by side.

Fact- The first follow up to the news that we were partnering was focused on the man as the business lead and the woman as the talent, without even reaching out to her for comment.

Fact- It’s likely the perception of male and female roles in business is so unconsciously engrained in our culture that the author didn’t even realize what they were doing.

In the end, wether Bang Bang’s name comes before Dana Cree’s name in the title of an article, Michael and I are building something we are extremely excited about and the ice cream is gonna be pretty cool. I can’t wait for the city of chicago to get their first taste. And moving forward, that is the part I would like to shift my focus on entirely. And if the media steps up and stops assuming and automatically presenting men as the lead, I can sit down and do just that.

But come on- we can do better. We will do better. I won’t sit quietly around until we do.


Wednesday, Dec 20th, 2017 by Dana Cree

What inappropriate touching actually feels like

If you’re following the food world news, you know Mario Batali has stepped aside from the day to day operations of his empire. Eater recently published the accounts of women who have been abused by him over the years. I’ll cut to the chase, he’s been inappropriately touching female staff members inside and outside his restaurants since he’s been in power as a chef. The article talks about some pretty icky and obvious stuff. Blatant grabbing of butts and boobs. Forcing women to straddle him to leave or enter rooms. Full body hugs from behind without permission.

This kind of stuff leaves absolutely no shadow of a doubt that he was in the wrong.

Reading this made me think about how inappropriate touching has presented itself through out my career, on my body, and the bodies of the female staff members* I’ve worked with.

One of my cooks shared an experience she witnessed, where on multiple occasions a male employee openly slapped her female sous chefs butt, and then escalated to grabbing her from behind while she was bent over to simulate sex. The employee was eventually let go. Eventually. It’s pretty obvious that this kind of touching should never exist in a kitchen. Or anywhere for that matter.

But scenarios like this are only the tip of the iceberg for inappropriate touching. This is an example of the really obvious part of the problem we can see from miles away.

What we experience in restaurants is often so much more subtle. And like an iceberg, the bulk of this kind of touching is lurking below the surface, sinking professional careers, often while they are just getting started. This kind of touching lives in grey areas that make you question your sanity. The kind of touch that isn’t visible to anyone besides the toucher and touchee. But when it happens to us, it makes the littlest hairs on our skin stand on end, gives us goosebumps, and echoes through our bodies every time we see that person.

This kind of touching involves the lingering hand, sliding down our back as they pass by us. Its someone squeezing past you in a crowded space, their chest rubbing you and their crotch pressing into you for just a moment. An unnecessary hand on your hip as you move aside, the fingers tipping forward over your butt just enough to be intentional. A shoulder squeeze that ends in thumbs gently rubbing your neck.

This kind of touching can be quickly argued away as a mistake, a misunderstanding. But those of us being touched know deep down inside us how much intention lives in those brief moments. We always know. And we carry that knowledge around in us as that person continues to work side by side with us. When we come forward, this person often safely claims it was unintentional, a misunderstanding born of hasty kitchen movements.

That is, if we come forward at all. It takes an incredible amount of confidence to stand up and say “I know the difference between someone trying to avoid touching me with their crotch when they pass, and this was not that.” It takes the kind of confidence that often comes with age, and the majority of restaurant employees are under 30.

I’ve helped several of my female employees* negotiate situations like this, and they are all afraid that the other person will deny everything. This fear is so strong that they often deny it themselves throughout the conversation. Maybe they were crazy, maybe they were wrong. Their mind is often split. They know deep down what those actions meant, yet are afraid no one will believe them, and they will just be told “there’s nothing we can do.” They are afraid that the other person will get angry with them and retaliate by being rude and cold, or by gathering support from other employees against them. But the worst thing that can happen is when the person you’ve reported stops providing the kind of daily micro-support we need from each other in the restaurant. Things like washing your pot ahead of the stacks of plates when you need it on the fly. Grabbing something from the walk in when they are headed that way. Running food to your table even if it’s not technically in your section. Even if the victim’s anonymity is guaranteed, we often feel like we won’t be able to ask for these things if we tell the bosses about them. Because we need them so badly, it can seem best to just to avoid that person, get what you need from them, and ignore the shadows their fingers traced across your body.

When a person touches you in an unwanted and inappropriate manner, they are breaking an unwritten contract that says we won’t mistreat each other while we share professional space. When it starts to happen to you, speaking up and reporting this person to the bosses feels as if we are the one breaking the unspoken contract instead, that somewhere in this contract is also a clause that says “don’t get someone else in trouble.” Reporting can seem as much of a restaurant crime as invading someone’s rights to their body. Somehow, the victims often hold up their end of this silent contract even when the other party has broken it with their hands.

The one thing every single person I’ve worked through these grey areas with says, no matter how different their case is, “maybe I misunderstood.” I believe this doubt resides in the difference between what they know their experience is and what they think the group perception of their experience is.

A fear of being considered overly sensitive often overwrites our finely tuned perception of human gesture. But we are sensitive, very sensitive. So sensitive that we can tell a person exactly what we think of their body in a split second with gesture, with a single look, or subtle pressure from our hands. And that person in turn, knows exactly what is happening. We do know the difference between intentional touch and the accidental brush on the same body part. We just don’t know if anyone else will believe it.

I say we, because while I have helped my cooks through situations like this, I too have experienced this kind of touching through out my career. I spent years pretending it wasn’t happening. Avoiding being in the same 2 foot radius as certain people, bracing myself if they came near. It wasn’t constant, but it definitely existed. Eventually as I left my 20’s behind, and grew in power as the pastry chef of larger and larger teams, I wasn’t a target. In fact, I had almost forgotten what it felt like until this fall.

I went to New York to prepare the desserts for a dinner at one of the well regarded culinary destinations within the city. A friendly server lent me an apron because I had forgotten mine. Then later when he saw me taking pictures of the old school desserts hung in basement kitchen, he encouraged me to go to the third floor where there were more. When he followed me and I realized we were alone, that old bracing feeling returned. My body knew before I did, and as I was ushered into a small room I felt that hand slip across my back, trail down to my waist, and linger.

Blocking my way out of the room, I was encouraged by this person to stand in front of a portrait so he could take a picture of me with my phone. I complied, and when I see that picture instead of seeing myself with a culinary icon, all I can see is my own discomfort, the knowledge that I so desperately wanted out of that room as fast as possible. I see the realization in my eyes that as I passed to return downstairs to the kitchen there was a chance that hand would find my back again. It did. This time slipping just a tiny bit further.

I ran down the stairs, helped plate every course for the dinner, shuffling to the other side of the counter if i saw him coming to run plates.

At the end of the meal, after all the thank you’s and goodbyes were being said, I asked for my backpack and coat. When I approached coat check, he was there by the door, pointing into the far corner of the small closet where my backpack had been propped. I entered, and he blocked the exit, telling me how much he wanted to come to Chicago so he could see me again, would I like that too. I pushed out of the closet and exited the building into the rainy night.

The other chefs were all planning a little post dinner gathering before we all went our separate ways back to our hometowns. During the half an hour it took to plan, I stood outside in the rain. I couldn’t bring myself to go back inside, and by the time the cars arrived to take us to the chosen restaurant, I was upset enough that I went straight back to my hotel room and called my boyfriend to tell him what happened. He said I should report it. I didn’t. The entire incident made me shrink inside myself, question my own reality, and then, as time passed, I felt like I lost my right to say anything because I didn’t do it right away.

What did happen? A friendly server welcomed me to his place of work? I misunderstood the passage of a hand that meant nothing? Was his invitation upstairs a common courtesy that all chefs are given when they arrive? Did he tell all the chefs he wanted to come to their hometowns to visit them out of polite interest?

Maybe. But then again, why were the alarms in my body ringing, why did I stand in the rain, and why did I bow out of the celebration everyone so joyously left for? And the thing that really got me was a wondering if any of the men I cooked with that night ever found themselves in a situation like this, or were they able to navigate these kinds of wonderful evenings without fighting doubt about the subtle human interactions they might be misunderstanding?

While I had been in this situation before, it became clear that this time around I had lost my ability to hide in denial. After years of helping validate other women I managed, I just couldn’t pretend like it didn’t happen. I couldn’t pretend like my perception was the problem.

I don’t know why but the idea of this person getting fired was terrifying to me. But if I chase that thought a little deeper, what truly makes me uncomfortable is idea that I would be responsible for getting him fired by telling on him, and that is a burden too heavy for me to carry. And the reality is that it’s not my burden to carry, it’s his. The idea that his hands will find another person’s back also upsets me. All I really want is for this person to stop doing it all together, so any person in that place can go about their culinary business with a clear mind. I’d like this person to realize that by letting me know he perceived me as a potential sexual option for himself, he was erasing my rights to be in that space as a professional. But I’d settle for him simply understanding that he can’t get away with it and restraining himself in the future.

I tell my cooks that the only way any person is going to grow past a set of inappropriate behaviors is if these behaviors are brought to the surface and talked about.  I have certainly had to face my own behavior in the past, something that I often wasn’t capable of doing until someone else showed me what it looked like from their point of view. Without these people, I would never have been given the chance to amend myself and change at the core. I am grateful for these opportunities.

For the right person, reporting inappropriate behavior will be used to reflect upon themselves, change, and grow in a different, more positive direction. But if we don’t speak up, we never give them that opportunity. For others, a report is going to be denied, diminished, and they may never change. They may lose their job. They may be given another chance. It may seem like nothing happened, like they were let off the hook. But hopefully, if they continue to let their hands wander in those grey areas, the next person who makes a report will have your report to validate a pattern of behavior.

While the court of public opinion is currently holding people accountable for past behavior, and for that I am grateful, we don’t want to see everyone we’ve worked with loose their careers. We don’t want a witch hunt rife with accusations to wrestle power away from men and into women’s hands. All we want is to come to work and, well, work. We want to enter our professional spaces knowing we only have to think about cooking, or our guests, not sectioning off part of our mental capacity for protecting ourselves from the kinds of touching that can be dismissed with a simple claim of misunderstanding. This is something male cooks probably don’t realize we do every day, because they will most likely never have to do it. They don’t realize that we can never give 100% of our mental capacity to our jobs if we are constantly forced into using even the smallest percentage of our brains to deflect inappropriate touching and manage the emotional impact during the moments in between. They may never see that they can rocket past us developmentally and professionally when we are bogged down emotionally, or forced to change jobs because of a pair of creeping hands.

I want that kind of freedom for my entire staff, and for yours. This won’t happen until those subtle wandering hands keep to themselves. Does anyone remember the concept we learned in kindergarten called “keep your hands to yourself?” Great, now lets exercise it, and let our staffs know that this fundamental rule hasn’t changed.  And while we’re at it, let’s keep our eyes to ourselves and our comments about other people’s bodies to ourselves too. If we can just keep all of our body parts to ourselves, we could be out of this trouble in no time.

In the meantime we can also start trusting ourselves when we experience inappropriate touching, and speak up. Change won’t happen by shrinking inside ourselves, worrying about getting someone fired, and thinking that since we have waited a little while, our chance has past. It’s never too late to report, it’s never too small to talk about. No matter what happened, the feelings you are left with are always real and that warrants a conversation.

On that note, I have to go write an email that I have been avoiding for too long.

*While I have only helped female staff members through situations like this, inappropriate touching is not limited to female victims, people of all genders are vulnerable, and people of all genders have the capability of inappropriately touching people. 


Saturday, Dec 2nd, 2017 by Dana Cree

The Shoulders We Stand On

I’ve long wanted to write a series of posts on this blog dedicated to the shoulders we stand on. Everything I know, I learned from someone else in one way or another, and many of those people who labored to forward the craft of baking, pastry, and desserts, are at risk of slipping from our minds. Once we put our spatulas down, untie our aprons for the last time, and walk out of our kitchens for the last time, the work we have done fades from the collective pastry brain. Heck, even people still doing that pastry thing are relatively unknown to my cooks. I’ve had to explain to a macaron loving sous chef who Pierre Herme was (psst… he’s the living, breathing, and working father to the modern day macaron), and just recently introduced my team to Maida Heater, a woman who’s books on cookies helped shape my love of baking long before professional kitchens.

I want to write this series for all the new pastry cook’s coming up in our world. I want them to see the shoulders we are standing on. Who innovated what a restaurant dessert could be 30 years ago? Who changed the face of bread bakeries in the states? Who wrote the books that home cooks were inspired by? Who simply worked in a restaurant long forgotten, making desserts we no longer think about, but buried a piece of themselves into everything they made? What inspired them? In this sweet relay race with no end and no beginning, I want to know who once carried the torch that we are running with today, and I want to remember what they did while they held it.

It’s a personal fascination of mine, and with the social media accounts of today, there is a photographic record of our own work that can offer this knowledge to the future generations. But I want to know more about those who have helped shape our craft and our industry, and I want to tell you all about them.

Stay tuned, my first piece will be about Maida Heater. In the mean time, I ask you, fellow pastrians young and old, who’s shoulders do you stand on? Who was just killing it when you were in the trenches? Who were/are your chefs talking about? Do tell!


Sunday, Nov 26th, 2017 by Dana Cree

Sugar Cookies Two Ways

first published at, this piece covers the basics of cookies, and gives recipes for both soft sugar cookies, and rolled sugar cookies. With Christmas cookie season upon us, I thought this refresher might assist in your own holiday baking.

Around December, my thoughts turn to all things cookie. I’m not alone. Magazines dedicated to holiday cookies line grocery store checkout lanes, and invites to cookie swaps pour in. But though magazines might overwhelm with endless cookie variations, the truth is that every cookie shares the same core ingredients: flour, sugar, butter, and eggs.

You might add chocolate or nuts, but it’s the varying ratios of these four main ingredients—and how we mix them together—that define our cookies. An understanding of how these ingredients interact is the key to cookie success.

The Fat: Please use real butter

The fat in your cookie will come from one of three main sources: oil, shortening, or butter. Butter is by far the most flavorful of the fats, and the most utilized in cookie making. Don’t make the mistake of substituting it with a butter-flavored margarine or tub-o-spread. These concoctions are often much higher in water, which makes them perfect for spreading on toast, but terrible for baking cookies. For the sake of consistency, all the fat called for here is butter, and unless a recipe seems to hinge on the use of shortening or oil, I suggest you too adopt an all-butter-all-the-time philosophy in your own cookie making.

To understand how butter works in your cookies, imagine heating two tablespoons of butter in a frying pan. One is a cold square cut straight from a stick of butter; the other, a blob of soft butter spooned from a stick at room temperature. The cold pat of butter will melt only at the edges, keeping its shape as the heat from the stove warms it up. The soft blob, however, will melt quickly, and shift shape, drooping and spreading as it liquefies.

This is exactly how the fat in your cookies will behave when baked in the oven. Soft fat will spread, and hard fat will hold its shape. Eventually all fat melts into flat puddles if not for the other ingredients getting in the way, but the underlying structure of the fat will help define how a cookie spreads—or doesn’t—in the oven.

Sugar: Not just a sweet face

Most recipes call for white sugar, the sparking granules of white sucrose we’re all familiar with. Perhaps because of this familiarity, many cooks fiddle with the amount of sugar in recipes, decreasing it for health reasons, or because they want a less sweet treat.

But before you do this, we need to we need to talk about what sugar really does. First and foremost, sugar adds flavor. Beyond the obvious sweetness, it also plays a key role in how other flavors are perceived, heightening some and diminishing the perception of others. But flavor isn’t where sugar’s true power lies.

The most important thing sugar does in your cookie is bind to water. Sugar is hygroscopic, which means it attracts and retains water. And once the water submits to its fate and binds to the sugar, it is no longer available to any of the other ingredients in the cookie—in particular, the protein in the flour. With the correct ratio of sugar, only a portion of the water in the cookie is left to mix with the protein and form strong gluten chains. If you add too much sugar, there will be very little water left to help build the protein structure in your cookie, and it might crackle and fall apart. Remove sugar from your cookie, and there will be excess water and it will activate the gluten, creating stronger protein chains, and tough cookie.

What does sugar look like when it binds to a water molecule? It takes on liquid properties and becomes a clear syrup. You won’t see this when it’s mixed into cookie dough. However when the cookie bakes, the water evaporates and leaves behind sugar crystals on the surface of the cookie. This is what gives a cookie a crispy edge, or, if baked long enough, crispness all the way through.

Flour: The G word

There are countless kind of flours you can make cookies with, but for this piece we’ll discuss the properties of wheat flour. Grocery stores usually carry three types: bread flour, which is high in protein and creates the chew in bread; cake flour, which is low in protein and high in starch, which creates the tender crumb of a soft cake; and all-purpose flour, which is likely what you already have in your cupboards, and has a mid-range protein content appropriate for most baked goods. For most cookies, the protein content in all-purpose flour is correct, and unless specified differently, the recipe was likely tested with all-purpose flour.

The flour is the last ingredient added to a cookie, where it performs its first task: bringing the sludge of sugar, fat, and egg together into a dough. The starches absorb water and glue the fats and sugars together. As the flour sits with the dough, the two proteins in wheat flour, glutenin and gliadin will absorb water and combine forces to form gluten chains, adding a subtle web of proteins for strength.

When baked in the oven, the protein web created by the gluten stretches and traps the expanding air in the cookie. Without it, the air would simply bubble up and out of the cookie like the gasses in your soda, passing through the sugars, fats, and starches leaving us with a flat puck of a cookie. While we don’t expect our cookies to inflate like a loaf of bread, we do need some of that air to stay inside.

But to fully understand wheat flour, we can’t just think of it as webs of gluten. All purpose flour contains 10-12% protein, which means about 90 percent of flour is starch, which make up the bulk of the flour. These small granules also absorb water. When they do, they swell, over twice their size, and when heated about 160, they turn soft and supple, “gelatinizing”. These gelatinized starches  are tender and give a cookie most of its body. Just like the sugar, the water occupied by the starch granules is not available to participate in gluten formation. The flours we buy from commercial sources, rather than local mills, are formulated to have a specific ratio of starch and gluten that favor the muffins, cookies, and other baked goods typically produced in the home.

Some cookies, particularly those that are designed to hold a clean edge when baked, require more flour to help hold all the ingredients in place—both when rolled, and when baked. This puts the cookie at risk of being too tough. Adding a small amount of cornstarch or potato starch helps add bulk to the cookie and keep it in place, while preventing too many gluten chains from making the cookie tough. Use additional starches with caution, as they are quite effective. Too much starch and there will be no water left for gluten formation, causing your cookie to fall apart.

Eggs: The jack-of-all-trades

While eggs are most often added to cookie recipes whole, the whites and yolks can be separated, and added individually to accentuate their unique properties. Egg yolks are mostly made of lipids with a small amount of protein and water. Lipids, are fat and act like it, adding flavor and color to a cookie. The small amount of protein in the yolks will coagulate in the presence of heat, helping hold the cookie together.

The protein in an egg yolk can’t compare to the protein in a egg white. An egg white is primarily made of water and albumen, a long-strand protein that unravels and interlocks in the presence of heat. In a cookie, this protein helps create the structure along with the gluten. But it comes bundled with a lot of water, which can make the dough it sticky and wet if too much is added. Once baked, the additional water turns into steam and becomes trapped by the extra protein, giving the cookie a cake-like texture.

Air: The secret ingredient

Air. It’s not on the ingredient list, and it’s rarely talked about. But air, or lack thereof, in a cookie is the key difference in many cookies. There are three ways to create air in a cookie: mechanically, chemically, and physically.

Mechanically. If you’ve ever had to “cream” the butter and sugar together in a recipe, this is what’s happenng. Each time the beater moves through the mixture, it drags the sharp sugar crystals through the butter, scraping air pockets into the fat. If you watch sugar and butter creaming, you will notice it getting paler in color, and fluffier in texture. In order to allow the sugar crystals to scrape these pockets into the fat, your butter needs to be soft—just below room temperature is best. (If you’re getting super scientific, it should be between 60 and 65 degrees.) If your butter is any softer, the air pockets will collapse under the pressure of the beater as soon as you create them. An added bonus: dough with a high ratio of mechanically added air will also be soft, ready to scoop when cold, and eager to change shape in the oven.

Chemically. We can add air to a cookie by using a leavening agent, specifically baking soda or baking powder. We have all experimented with combining baking soda and vinegar in elementary school, watching it foam up and expand. That’s what is happening inside our cookie. The baking soda releases carbon dioxide when it comes in contact with water and acid. You might not think a sugar cookie is acidic, and you’re not mistaken. But the flour and sugar are acidic enough to activate the baking soda. Baking powder is made of baking soda mixed with an additional acid that doesn’t become soluble until it reaches temperatures above 140 F.. This means that as the cookie bakes and increases in temperature, it gets an additional boost of air right about the time the starches and protiens in the cookie are firming up.

Physically. As the oven temperature increases it turns the water in the butter (18% water by weight) and the eggs into steam. This steam is the powerful engine that inflates both puff pastry and pate de choux, and in a cookie will help inflate the air pockets already created by mechanical leavening.

In Conclusion

To apply this information to easy-to-see (and easier-to-eat) results, see the following recipes for sugar cookies. They share the four core ingredients, but little else. The first is a soft, chewy cookie that spreads from a mound into a round disk, crispy on the exterior, soft and chewy on the interior. The second is a crisp, crunchy rolled sugar cookie cookie that holds its shape in the oven. Both will serve you well under various sprinkles and icings, and will find a happy home at any holiday table.

Soft Sugar Cookies

Rolled Sugar Cookies


by Dana Cree

It’s Not Actually Funny

Food and Wine asked me to write something for a new column they are publishing called Communal Table- in case it passed you by, here it is. This piece follows on the heels of my blog post here, in which I come clean about my own participation in this big tangled mess of laughter and hurt. 

Pastry chef Dana Cree asks what needs to happen for kitchen culture to change—and it starts with shutting down jokes that marginalize, disrespect and demean.

Editor’s note: Last week we launched Communal Table, a forum for amplifying first-person voices in the food industry. Our goal is to work long term with leaders to create more humane and sustainable workplaces. We encourage restaurant and bar workers and owners to write in and share their experiences here: Have ideas about how to make the industry a safer, better, more sustainable place to work? Please share them, too. We’ll edit and post some entries to — Hunter Lewis, Editor-in-Chief, Food & Wine

It’s Not Actually Funny: We Need To Hold Chefs Accountable For Inappropriate Jokes

Over the past few weeks, the media has covered several sexual misconduct scandals, in and out of the restaurant world. Many industry leaders have led us astray, and they are only now facing repercussions for words and actions that we have come to accept as normal. Many people in the restaurant industry (myself included) are waiting to see what happens next. We want to know if the people we have seen behaving similarly in our own kitchens will also be held accountable, or if it will just go back to “normal.”

If we look back at what caused these scandals, we can see the writing was all over the walls. But if we look closer, what does that writing actually say?

It’s a no-brainer that the middle aged, married owner of a restaurant group should not be persuading young female employees to enter a sexual relationship with him. At least it should be. It seems so obvious, but how did it come to this?

Restaurants are well known for housing no-holds-barred, raunchy, dirty jokes. But how many sexually charged jokes must be told before subtle sexual misconduct begins without raising an eyebrow? How bad does the misconduct have to be before we raise an eyebrow, and how many eyebrows have to be raised before we raise our voices? These “jokes” are grooming us to become compliant victims and silent observers from the day we walk into professional kitchens. In this culture, it’s only a matter of time before one of the victims or observers becomes an abuser. And if you think John Besh is a lone wolf, you are sadly mistaken.

Here are questions we have to ask about all the recent subjects of harassment allegations, because the behavior had to start somewhere: Did they witness playful dry-humping their first days as line cooks? How many months before their initiations were they the ones pinned against their stations, being humped by sous chefs? Or were they on the other side of that situation, the sous chef behind another cook, but looking them in the eye and saying, “It’s too big for you, I’d make you bleed, but she can have it,” pointing to a female server. Were they in the kitchen the week the chef individually asked every cook if they liked eating assholes, making sure to point out the people who said they did as he pressed him for an answer? Did they hear the owners joking to each other about which female servers were walking around with “mattresses on their backs”? Did they watch the chef repeatedly drip aioli into a full six pan because it looked like “the little man in the boat?” Were they still there three minutes later when that same chef called the new female line cook over to ask her if she recognized it, while the rest of the male kitchen staff muffled laughter? Did their chefs force them to re-plate the grilled endive with foie gras to look like female genitalia because the dish was going to a table of lesbians? Or were they at the pass when the expeditor lined all the male servers up to take a gander in the kitchen because a female cook shook her butt unknowingly as she shook onion ring dredge out of the fry basket. Were they laughing when she turned around and realized what was happening? Or was it much simpler than this? Was it just a daily volley of derogatory words thrown around in jest?

If you imagine the words we speak take shape, the letters adhering themselves to our restaurant walls, you can see that over time, our jokes have written a novel-sized permission slip to behave inappropriately. We have an opportunity every day to fill our kitchen with different words—what could we fill the empty space with? What other conversations could we start to have if our mouths weren’t full of sexualized jokes?

I, for one, would like to find out what will grow in the absence of raunchy kitchen humor. I want to know what I’ll see written on the walls next year, if today, we erase inappropriate words, jokes and gestures from our kitchen vernacular. I want to see how many people of every gender, race, place of origin and sexual orientation will rise to the top when they are no longer marginalized for a laugh or two. And I want to do this, because as we wait with baited breath to see where our leaders take our industry after this upset, changing our vocabulary is something both you and I can do today.

I believe we all know how to do it, too. We don’t take a class in culinary school titled “Kitchen Humor: How to Cross Boundaries and Get Away with It.” We know how to behave appropriately in a group setting, because they started teaching us in kindergarten. We know what not to say, because we restrain ourselves in almost every other space we enter.

Those of us with power should start scrubbing our walls clean, and quite frankly, we have to wash our mouths out with soap, too. While none of us started this culture we have the power to stop it, word by word. It has to start today with the words we don’t say. And we absolutely have to do this so we can help our cooks can rebuild the industry we have debased as they grow and become our leaders.

While the old guard struggles to change their habits, while we wait for them to do their parts to improve our industry, or disappear, I believe lasting change will come when our cooks can stop feeling obligated to laugh with us, when they can validate their early gut reactions to our terrible jokes and introduce their own, safer vocabulary to our kitchens. If anyone is waiting for permission, I’m giving it to you now. I give you permission to say, “That’s not funny,” or “That’s not okay,” and do what you know is right. Walk away from an inappropriate conversation knowing your career has a future in a better industry. I know it’s going to get better, because you and I are going to build it. And we are going to build it in rooms without permission slips on the wall for abuse, written one bad joke at a time


Sunday, Nov 19th, 2017 by Dana Cree

Pumpkin Pie for Me and You

This is my first holiday season since I lost my ability to eat wheat and holiday pies feel very of reach for me this year. That flaky, crispy, buttery crust I have been mastering since my grandmother first handed me a rolling pin? I can make that for you! But not for me.

This year, in order to keep pumpkin pie on my own table, I tried something I’ve never considered; baking pumpkin pie in a graham cracker crust. It’s certainly not an original idea, just one that’s new to me. Graham crackers are easy to make gluten free, especially if you are just grinding them up for crumb crusts. I like to use some buckwheat flour, it’s got that earthy, grainy quality that whole wheat graham flour does, but teff flour is also great.

I don’t know that I had considered baking pumpkin pie in a graham crust before, but I’m sure glad I did. It’s down right tasty, and I think I prefer it to the blind baked pastry shell. A classic flaky pastry or all-butter crust never really benefits from sitting beneath the moist, custardy pumpkin filling, especially if it sits for more than a day. Graham cracker crusts don’t have the same issue. In fact, they seem to improve as they sit under the custardy filling, soaking up a little moisture and flavor.

Over the years I’ve rotated through a variety of pumpkin pie fillings. I wrote about pumpkin cheesecake pie last year, and my current favorite, pumpkin dulce de leche, is sweetened with caramelized milk. I grew up enjoying the classic pumpkin pie gleaned from the back of a can, and my high school best friend Julie Rohner taught me that you can double the eggs and double the vanilla for an extra creamy pie. Once working as a pastry chef, I started cooking my own pumpkins, and learned from Gordon Ramsey’s dessert book to freeze my home made pumpkin puree and thaw it over a basket strainer, and all the extra pumpkin liquid would fall through, leaving a super thick pumpkin puree. The farmers we worked with introduced me to long island cheese wheel pumpkin, which looks like a big cinderella pumpkin and a butternut squash had a baby. I assure you, it is the pumpkiniest pumpkin in town. I’ve toyed around with deep orange Kabocha squash as well, it’s puree is so thick and creamy you can slice through it when it’s cold, with an extra nutty flavor, and pies made from this thick squash are extra velvety.

Every which way I turned pumpkin pie for the guests and friends I’ve cooked for, the one constant was it’s presence on my own table every thanksgiving. Thanks to a buckwheat graham cracker crumb crust, this first year without gluten will be no different. Give it a try! Even if you can eat wheat, you might be a crumb crust convert after this.

Notes on these recipes

The recipe for buckwheat graham cracker is one of the few I’ve found cup-4-cup flour actually translates cup for cup, and I can’t say I’ve tested it with anything of the other gf flour blends out there. I do know this recipe works with the same amount of all-purpose flour as well, so the buckwheat graham cracker recipe provided here can be made with or without wheat flour. I’ve given our bakery ratio for a crumb crust. Because the graham crackers we make are so butter rich, they tend to need less butter to bind them. If you opt for another recipe, or buy your graham crackers, you’ll have to use your pastry intuition and give the crumb mixture a squeeze; if it holds it’s shape, press it into your pie tin. If it crumbles back up, add some more melted butter.

As for the dulce de leche pumpkin pie filling, you’ll notice the only spice I include is cinnamon. It’s a personal preference, if you prefer pumpkin pie spice, add that instead, or throw in a big pinch of ginger and a little pinch of clove. If you can’t find dulce de leche in your grocery store, grab a can of sweetened condensed milk. You can simmer that can in a pot of water for 4 hours, just make sure you replace the water as it evaporates. And if you don’t have 4 hours to spare, just use the sweetened condensed milk instead. Either way, this recipe is a nice, rich improvement on the recipe from the back of the can. 

When I first pulled this pie from the oven, I anxiously observed the filling seemed to separate from the crust a little. I pushed the warm crumbs back into place, and became more anxious when I noticed they were quite crumbly and didn’t seem like they would hold their shape. I put the pie in the fridge overnight, and sliced it in the morning. The butter in the crust firmed up overnight, and the pie sliced like a dream. So if this happens to you too, try what I did, cross your fingers, chill the pie, and in the morning you should have an intact gluten free pie!

Buckwheat Graham Cracker

Graham Cracker Crumb Crust

Dulce De Leche Pumpkin Pie


Thursday, Nov 2nd, 2017 by Dana Cree

A girl in the kitchen

A recent rash of articles has been written about sexual harassment in professional kitchens. Just google it, you’ll find them.

I’ve cycled through a complete spectrum of emotions recently after reading them, in particular because many of the articles involve the restaurant group I work for, and more specifically, the restaurant I work for. I won’t recap the details for you here, I have nothing to say publically about that.

But after 15 years of being quiet about what I’ve seen and experienced, it seems like the wrong choice to let this pass with complete silence.

As a culinary school student, I somehow ended up in a class of one. Just me and Peter Levine, the instructor, who happened to be a chef in the community at some fast paced, upscale casual joints. My classes ended up being me learning for the evening in his kitchen, butchering whole fish, chickens, and learning on the job. It was fantastic.

For one of our classes, Peter took me to the Elliot Bay Book store to see a visiting author speak. he made me wear my chefs whites, telling me “You see this Dana?” pointing to his own white coat, “He’ll see this and know it’s respect. Respect!” After Anthony Bourdain read from his book, I shook his hand, and had him sign the book Peter had bought me. It’s still on my shelf.

I tore through that book as if it were the how-to for kitchen survival. No, not survival, for thriving in a kitchen. When I got to the chapter about women in the kitchen, I took note. Thick skinned, sarcastic, funny, and one step ahead of everyone. That would be me. I vividly remember a description of a female employee who came to work to find her locker plastered with pictures of porn. She didn’t react, she simply replied something like “nice to see the family photos, mom’s looking great these days.”

I decided then and there, this is who I would be. A girl who could take what the guys gave out and shut them down with a single response.

The first time I saw a chef press a sausage to the crotchal region of his apron and pretend to pleasure it, I ducked back around the corner and hid. The next time, I was prepared with “Well I guess I know why I don’t like the way cotechino tastes now.” It brought the room down with laughter. I kept a straight face, but inside was very proud of myself. I had mastered the art of being a girl in the kitchen.

I continued numbing myself for the impact of these raunchy moments. I responded to a group conversation about the frequency of masturbation with concern that if we spend 14 hours at the restaurant at the frequency they brag about, that can only mean somethings happening onsite. When they laughed I thought, “nailed it!” I laughed at all the lude drawings, the pictures people showed me on their phones, the ones they texted me directly, the racist, sexist, mysoginistic, homophobic, and all together inappropriate jokes. I started to carry them with me, repeating things I’d heard, inventing jokes of my own in that ilk. I told tales of the staff that played the game “I’m not gay but my cyborg hand is” while they used their tongs to pinch each others ding dongs. Not to describe an unhealthy work environment, because I thought it was funny. To line cooks, we believed nothing was sacred, we considered ourselves stand up comedians.

I was a cook then, and I wanted nothing more desperately than to just be one of the guys, to fit in. And I did.

I didn’t come here today to talk about what other people have done during my time in the restaurant industry. I came to talk about what I’ve done myself. Because after 17 years in this industry, I could be seen as a female victim of a male environment that allowed unwanted touching, a victim of verbal abuse, a witness to physical abuse, and well, the victim of some bullying, but mixed in with all that, I participated.

I told jokes about my co-workers that would have hurt them had they heard.

I participated in a culture that promoted sexualized, sexist, racist, misogynistic, and homophobic humor.

I laughed at jokes that diminished my own gender.

I witnessed inappropriate photos and didn’t speak up.

I shared inappropriate photos.

I used raunchy debasing words under the guise of humor.

I witnessed inappropriate touching and didn’t speak up.

I passed around gossip about people I worked with.

I had knowledge of people experiencing bullying and didn’t speak up.

To say, “yeah but that’s the culture” isn’t good enough anymore. To say I did it to fit isn’t good enough anymore. To say I read it in a book, again, not good enough anymore. I was just doing what everyone else did, not good enough. I was afraid of repercussions if I said anything, not good enough. I was protecting myself and my job by blending in. All of these excuses would only excuse me from a consequence for my actions. And as far as I can see, no one is punishing me. Which simply leaves me with my actions.

Plain and simple, I was a cook who participated. And because I participated, the culture continued. And because the culture continued, people continued to get hurt. And for that, I am deeply regretful.

When I started to really manage other people, I was working for Sherry Yard at Spago. My early days were spent watching HR videos about sexual harassment. Lightbulbs started to turn on in that part of my brain. I watched a video on how the boss dating a subordinate eroded the entire teams trust and productivity, and it clicked. When I took my next position at One Off Hospitality, I attended mandatory HR trainings quarterly. It all started to sink in. I wasn’t a cook anymore, I was the one responsible for setting the tone around me, not joining in. I was the one responsible for protecting my team, from who? From ourselves. And I did just that, for my small little team, within the walls of my small little pastry department. But what of the restaurant surrounding me? The culture surrounding the restaurant?

At one point long, long ago, my assistant was being bullied by a savory sous chef. I went to the chef de cuisine, and we talked. He said “what do you want me to do, it’s happening on my days off. I don’t see any of it.” I took it as a brush off. A reminder that we just have to suck it up and get through like always. We must abide. I returned to my assistant and watched her cry as I told her we were powerless over this person and to just avoid him as much as possible. It’s one of my greatest regrets that I didn’t fight for her, that I rolled over and told her I couldn’t do anything for her. It was one thing to tolerate that kind of treatment, it was another to allow it to happen to someone who’s professional wellbeing I felt responsible for. In hindsight, I think the chef was truly asking, “what should I do, I don’t know how to deal with this.” And honestly, who of us did? Who do you go to when the HR department is also the chef, the owner, the handyman, and the guy drinking at the bar halfway through the night with one of the young hostesses? If it’s the woman who’s barely spoken to you in two weeks because you fucked something up? What happens when the tell-all books are telling you this is normal?

If there is no HR department, if the person in the position of power is abusing it, we have the media. And they are listening these days, because the public is listening to them. The public expects better of us, and better for us.

My first report to HR came directly after a mandatory HR training covering harassment. They pressed upon us that as managers, if we have knowledge of something and don’t report it, we are liable too. I left that meeting, and sat for an hour as the point drove itself home in my head. It wasn’t just fear of being held liable that made me speak up. It was empowering to know that not only is it something I can do, but it’s something I have to do. It’s my responsibility to hand over my knowledge to my bosses and allow them to do their job. And honestly, the only reason I had this information was because a cook on my team spoke up for his teammates in the first place. And that was very inspiring for me. He believed we deserved better, therefore I did too. It’s contagious.

So where do we go from here. Those who are ready to change the industry, but don’t know where to start?

I believe it starts with the language we use in our kitchens. The jokes we make, the insults we sling, the nasty nicknames people carry around like trophies. We need to start treating the space we occupy with more dignity. This is too important, our craft, our hospitality, our livelihood. It deserves more than raunchy jokes and abusing the people around us.

And it can start with you, the cooks, who come into work each day and fill the kitchen with your ideals, ethics, excitement, laughter, and and most importantly, your words. You can say, “hey that’s not ok. I don’t like that.” But while our cooks are all shifting their young personalities to try to mesh together, emulating those they look up to, it really needs to starts with us, the chefs. The cooks need to hear us saying “Hey that’s not ok to say. Erase that nickname from your vocabulary. We don’t talk about people that way in this restaurant.” Its up to us to kill these verbal weeds as they pop up, so our teams can blossom to their fullest potential as professionals.

My cooks giggle when I tell them “that’s a no-no word” but they don’t use it. Until they do, and  then I say it again. I tell them we are really smart and funny people and certainly can find more creative words to use jokingly than to throw around foul slander. Ever heard the phrase, “why don’t you just go eat a bag of mini-muffins?” Well, you have now, line cooks made it up after such a speach. I make them change the music if something degrading comes on, telling them we only have 8 hours together here, surely we can find something to fill our kitchen with that doesn’t diminish people or describe sex acts. Save it for the bus ride home, we literally have a hundred years of music to choose from.

Most importantly, I truly believe it’s up to us to stop pointing dirty fingers at each other, saying “yeah but I saw them do this.” We all have stories. We are all someone else story too. We need to know that excuses only excuse us from punishment, when you strip that away, you’re simply left with people behaving badly. That bad behavior shouldn’t be allowed to survive in our silence anymore. So lets use our voices when we need to, exposing innapropriate behavior. And like me, many of us also need to use our voice to stand up and say “I participated in this culture, and it’s not right. I want better for us and it starts today.”


Saturday, Oct 7th, 2017 by Dana Cree

A pastry chef without

I’ve been quiet this summer. It’s not you, really. It’s me. I’ve been without words, drained of them. I was promoting my book, and in doing that I traversed the country, talking, and talking, and talking about my book. I thought writing the book would be the hard part, or perhaps the tedious recipe testing process. Or even the completely uncharted territory of the week long photoshoot, 3000 miles away from my kitchen. Maybe seeing my manuscript shredded by a copy editor. Or the weeks mailing pages back and forth to New York, every week a new urgent deadline.

But honestly, the hardest part was promoting the book. It took a lot of time, doled out in hour long increments all over the city of Chicago or on the phone. And it took a lot of travel, spending the hours between my last shift one week and my first shift the next getting somewhere, setting up, and getting home.

But the hardest part was doing all the talking, and turning it on for a crowd. It was as if every word that came out of my mouth pulled with it a tiny piece of me. By mid summer, I was drained in a way I’ve never experienced. It took my by surprise. I’ve worked 60 hour weeks since I can remember, sometimes more, and in some of the most intense kitchens in the world.

But talking, man. That’s a drain!

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for every single ear that bent towards me to hear me speak, and I will do it again in a heartbeat. I just didn’t expect it to be hard. I have a new found respect for anyone putting themselves in front of people over and over again, day after day, talking, sharing, speaking, giving. They make it look so easy.

Now that I’ve said what I’m going to say about the book, my last scheduled event has passed, and I’m not without words anymore, I realize I can’t write here gain without talking about something else I have spent this summer without.

This January I stopped eating anything made with wheat. Even typing this, I don’t want to say the word gluten. It seems like a dirty word. Gluten free. I’ve done as much as I could to withhold wheat when I could in my desserts for those who couldn’t eat it out of respect and understanding.

But how could that person be me?

When I took the position at The Publican, I started spending my 10-12 hour days in our commissary bakery. The pastry team occupies the front quarter of the space, and the back 75 houses a wholesale bread bakery called Publican Quality Bread. By the end of a shift, the floors look like you could ski through them there’s so much flour dusting the surface. And that’s with multiple sweeps a day. We laughed as we did “the bakery slide”, a maneuver that resembles Tom Cruises famous entrance in Risky Business.

But after 6 months, I was starting to go to a dermatologist to help treat rashes that were spreading all over my body. Ewwww…..gross, I know. When the steroid creams didn’t work, we took biopsies. When those proved uninformative, he said I needed to start looking at what was going on inside my body. He said the rashes were clustering in a way that was consistant with Celiac disease.

Uh, excuse me? I’m a pastry chef, I’ve worked with wheat every day for 20 years. This is not possible. I’d know by now.

During the 2 weeks it took to get all the blood tests back, I cut out eating wheat. When they came back negative, I sighed deeply, and inhaled a few cookies and slices of pizza along with it. That week the rashes came on so strong I could barely sleep.

On to an internist, my endocrinologist, and finally a holistic nutritionist, and turns out I’ve developed a severe intolerance due to over exposure. Inhaling wheat 60 hours a week has made it impossible to eat it anymore. And we work with quality flour from local farms. This isn’t an issue of mass produced Round-up ridden gmo wheat filling my lungs with every breath. It’s the good stuff.

This January I voluntarily ate wheat for the last time. At first, I thought I could still taste desserts, that a little wheat wouldn’t hurt. After all, I didn’t have Celiacs disease, and within weeks of cutting out wheat the tide had turned on the external rashes I had been suffering.

Then, after a couple months, tasting desserts started making me sick. Everybody I talk to asks what happens when I eat wheat. It’s 4 pronged, first my stomach blows up like there’s a basket ball inside. Then I get a splitting headache. There is a third thing involving my digestive tract that we don’t need to discuss. And then, I pass out cold and sleep for, like, 36 hours. And the longer I have gone without wheat, the less wheat it takes to trigger this.

The physical symptoms suck, but what happened to my ego took a long time to come to terms with. At first I didn’t want to tell anyone. I thought I’d have my pastry chef card revoked, I’d risk loosing my job, and no one would take me seriously anymore. When I started telling a few close friends in the industry, they all pointed to other bakers and pastry chefs they knew who were also becoming intolerant to wheat. Many are old timers, people well established in the industry.

After each time I accidentally ingested wheat and my body reacted, my ego would start to tell me I was making it all up, I just wanted attention, was jumping on some band wagon, and was not actually reacting to wheat. Which is stupid, but also, very telling of how hard it has been to come to terms with loosing the ability to consume a foundational ingredient of the craft I’ve dedicated my life to. In a way, I’d rather be a crazy, needy, desperate lemming than gluten intolerant.

I crack jokes to make it feel better, “at least it’s not ice cream!” And the chefs and cooks I work with have been so kind and accommodating, helping keep me safe at work, which at first gave me feelings of guilt, but now, great comfort.

A couple of my exposure incidents were because I was too embarrassed to say anything to a server at a restaurant and just ordered the thing i assumed was gluten free. I have been surrounded by a (small) handful of (mean) voices in kitchens that doubt and mock allergies, and I just didn’t want to be that person inspiring resentment from the kitchen. Or on most occasions, I didn’t want anyone to have to go out of their way for me. But really, I didn’t want to not be the person up for anything the chef was proud of.

Luckily I have an incredible and supportive partner who opened a Mexican restaurant a cuisine with a foundation built on corn instead of wheat, and has fed me and reassured me through this whole process.

And if you’re wondering, the answer is yes. It was very hard to adjust at work. I can’t taste anything with wheat in it. I can touch, smell, look, and listen, and gather a great deal of information from my other 4 senses. And I have a careers worth of recipes and experinece I can count on.

But I had to do something else, I had to start making gluten free desserts. We started with the easy things, recipes that were naturally gluten free. Pavlovas, panna cottas, custards, mousses, nuts, brittles, etc….. Then I started testing with every non-wheat based flour I could get my hands on.

I made a lot of pretty terrible things, particularly when chasing a duplication of a wheat based product like bread or crepes.

Wheat is magic. It’s a multitasking ingredient that can do things it takes the work of 4 other ingredients to do, and they often do it poorly.  Nothing creates a strong, flexible web like wheat.

I’ve started to have some successes. After my cook Aja looked at me like she was going to cry when I told her I hadn’t had one of my own cookies in 6 months, I started working on gluten free cookies. And my sous chef Erika has been a testing maniac, making gluten free versions of everything she’s working on, even if it’s just to allow me to taste the dish while we finalize it with a wheat based product.

After making my own flour blends, I’ve come to realize that flours from different companies all behave differently. For example, if I used the rice flour from Bobs Redmill vs. the rice flour from amazon, vs. the rice flour from Anson mills, vs the rice flour from the asian market, I would get different results. This has led me to believe gluten free baking is as much about controlling your supply chain as it is learning the properties of the ingredients themselves.

I have been relying on flour blends from major manufacturers who all have the ability to control their own supply chain in a way I can’t. Cup for Cup has been our go to for now. As for what’s in the future, I’m open to suggestions, and eager to find out.

We have made some pretty spectacular things without wheat. An opera cake that I absolutely love. Cornmeal cobbler biscuits that just shine when baked over peaches. And we have managed a gluten free version of my brown butter chocolate chip cookie that would fool anyone. Our experience with gluten free baking is growing, who knew gluten free baked goods could taste so much more buttery than their wheat based counterparts! And at home I’m learning to live without eating the things that just can’t be done without it.

I’m not going to suck the wheat out of The Publican. That lacy Brussels style waffle on the menu? Wouldn’t change it for the world. But we will steer the three desserts that rotate through our a la carte dessert menu in that direction, choosing components that don’t need wheat when we can, and relying on my sous chef’s palette when we can’t. With plated desserts, it’s not hard to compose around wheat, and I doubt any of our guests will miss it as much as I do.

And like I said, at least it’s not ice cream.


Tuesday, Sep 12th, 2017 by Dana Cree

The Proposal

Part 2 in the series…..

The thought of writing a book proposal was really intimidating for me. I’d been sent a couple of proposals that looked so professional, and so much like their resulting books, I felt lost. At the time, this probably told more about the flimsiness of the ideas I had kicking around. But also, it indicated the simple fact that I didn’t understand how to get from idea to finished product, which paralyzed me.

Without someone guiding me through the steps, I’m not sure I would have found the sequential process that led to my own professional looking proposal that looked something, just a little, like my book. With the assistance of my agent, I took a series of baby steps that each built off the previous little step.

The first step was to write a table of contents. To do so, I opened up ten books about ice cream, and read their table of contents. They were rather similar, so I tried them on for size to see if they felt right.

Chapter 1- basic information

Chapter 2- recipes of ice cream

Chapter 3- other recipes of slightly different ice creams

Chapter 4- a third kind of ice cream just a little different than the rest

Chapter 5- yet more recipes even more slightly different than the rest

Chapter 5- recipes for things that go with ice cream

How people broke these recipes up is fairly telling about them and their approach to ice cream. Some people, actually many people, broke them up by the four seasons that inspire flavors. Others broke them up by emotions. When I thought about what broke up the flavors for me, it was very clear. I thought of my ice creams as Custards, Phillies, Sherbets, and Fro-yo’s. As for the chapter on stuff that went with ice creams? Mine were all add-ins, carefully balanced for frozen textures, all built in service of a highly textured scoop chock full of goodies. Which led to the final chapter, composed scoops.

As for the first chapter, basic information, I knew I wanted there to be nothing basic about it. I wanted to present all the information I use to understand and create ice cream.

I started by calling it “a field guide to ice cream” but we changed it to “the knowledge” as I started casually referring to the three main sections in the book as The Knowledge, The Recipes, and The Scoops.

Now I had a clear table of contents to work with, and from here I started to build the proposal. Here is the original table of contents I proposed. Things were added, and altered. For example, my early idea for the composed scoop section was to organize it by color. (In the end, the organization was entirely dictated by the art we had created for it, for example, landscape vs. portrait orientation, or wether the art spanned two pages or one.)

Section 1- The Knowledge

The five components of ice cream

The process

Stablizers and friends

the machines



Section 2- The recipes

Custard bases

Philadelphia bases

Sherbet bases

Frozen Yogurt bases


Section 3- 

A rainbow of composed scoops-

With a working table of contents, I started to “flesh it out” adding which recipes I wanted in each chapter, and short paragraphs about what the chapters in The Knowledge would contain. I did the easiest work first and created a list of 30 or so composed scoops. From there I filled the base and add-in chapters with the recipes that would be used to create the composed scoops.

Every time I sat down in front of the proposal, I tweaked the chapters, adding flavors, deleting others.

Then, with the table of contents full, I picked a sample recipe and wrote it out the way I saw it looking in the book. Once I felt it was solid, I chose a few others and built them in the same fashion.

I chose a piece of the Knowledge section, and wrote sample text as well.

Now I had the core of my proposal following these tiny steps.

  1. research tables of contents.
  2. Build my own table of contents.
  3. Fill the chapters with content.
  4. Take a single recipe and polish it.
  5. Take 3 more recipes and build them like the first.
  6. Write sample text for informative chapters.

The remainder of the proposal included a bio of myself, press I’ve garnered, and photographs of my ice cream.

I had known early on that I wanted this book to be highly visual, and included Anna Posey, the illustrator I worked with in the proposal too. If I had met the photographer I wanted to work with at that early stage, I would have done the same. Likewise with a co-author if I had not written the book myself. This simply involved their bio, press, and sample illustrations from their portfolio.

The sample text for the proposal was speedy for me, as I wanted to be the writer. If you want a co-author and don’t have one ahead of time, the proposal will indicate this, and the copy editing portion of the proposal will be longer. Do find someone to help with this, while you can leave a lot about the writing to the imagination of the editors you are pitching this book to, you don’t want to leave too much or they might imagine themselves passing.

With all the content for the proposal completed, I sent it to my agent, who helped me clean it up, format it, and sent it to a proofreader. Then before I knew it, I had something similar to the proposals that had intimidated me so much.

I’m going to attach a link to my own proposal, so you can see it. There’s nothing to hide, most of it made it into the book anyways! Hopefully it helps any of you pastry chefs out there with a book idea get one step closer to your goals.

Here is a link to the proposal my agent and I sent out!


by Dana Cree

Sample Proposal for Hello My Name Is Ice Cream


By Dana Cree


Represented by Number one agent

Super Awesome Literary Agency


Book Proposal Table of Contents


How to Use This Book

Overall Look and Feel with Sample Illustrations

Author Bio

Press Clippings and Videos

Illustrator Bio

Table of Contents

Extended Table of Contents

Sample Writing:

The Science

Controlling Water

Ice Cream Stabilizers: Less Scary Than You Think

Sample Headnotes

Sample Recipes


There is hardly a book on ice cream that hasn’t passed through my hands. My bookshelves at home have been sagging with the weight of books filled with scoops and sundaes for as many years as I have been cooking and baking. It goes without saying, I love them all. When I first sat down to write this book, I took to my desk chair with my back turned to the shelves stocked with these frosty tomes. As I placed my fingers on the keyboard, I stopped and turned back around. I looked at each book, and thought about why I carried that book from the bookstore into my home, what it introduced me to, and what I am looking for when I open it today.

I decided it would best serve readers if I wrote the book I wanted to find the first time I started to make ice cream, long before I wandered into the halls of culinary school. As an eager but inexperienced cook I wanted a book that would teach me how the heck ice cream was made in the first place, and was filled with pages that suggested amazing flavors I couldn’t wait to make and devour.

But then I remembered the books I looked for as I grew more experienced. I wanted more than a collection of recipes. I wanted a book that taught me why my ice creams were or weren’t working when I started to get creative and tweak the recipes, or more so, why they worked at all. I wanted to understand the science behind the ice cream.

As I recalled the last few years, as my understanding of ice cream grew deeper, I thought of the books I now wanted. Books that would allow me to be the mastermind, providing the creative voice for the flavors. I wanted a book to give me the tools to invent my own flavors that would rival what I saw in scoop shops and the grocery store.

It became clear, I would write a book that could be all of those things for you, gently guiding you through some of your first scoops, informing you of the how’s and whys, and finally acting as a tool if you want to dive in head first and invent flavors of your own.


This book, if you only scratch the surface, will provide you with many, many recipes you can make for any occasion. Otherwise you can make use of all three sections of this book in your ice cream adventures.

The opening section of this book is called “The Knowledge.” I’m going to be honest, I almost always skip through these sections, flipping past pictures of pots and machines, diving right into the recipes, back tracking when I come across parts of the recipes I have questions about.  Therefore, this section is written as a field guide, providing reference information on the ice cream makers commonly available, small appliances that make quick work of the recipes, and sharing a list of tools I find indispensable. The ingredient section will describe the core ingredients used in ice cream making, and demystify some of the less common ingredients. Most importantly, this section will describe the importance of working with a ratio when making ice cream, why I favor metric measurements, and why I so adamantly encourage the use of a digital scale in the home kitchen. Those wishing to dive deeper into the whys and how’s of the science behind ice cream should find all they desire in this section as well, with a lesson on the 5 structural components of ice cream.

Feel free to start this book on any page that strikes your fancy, and use it backwards or forwards. Above all, this book is my way to share with you my life long love of eating ice cream, and the things my career as a pastry chef has taught me about making it. My biggest hope is that these pages fuel your passion for ice cream!

The section titled “The Recipes” will walk you through the basics, such as a lovely vanilla custard, a deep chocolate, or perhaps a nice strawberry buttermilk sherbet. You’ll learn how to infuse your ice creams with herbs, teas, and spices, and how to use different flavored sugars. I’ll show you the difference between ice creams made with eggs and without.  I will teach you why sherbet is the best way to add fruit to ice cream, and how to turn your favorite yogurt into a killer fro-yo.

This section will also include chapters for some really stellar add-ins. You’ll be able to create a deeply chocolate cookie crumb for a perfect cookies and cream, ribbons of thick caramel, and more unique items like pretzel toffee or butterscotch crumble that will add another dimension to your ice creams. You’ll find a recipe for chocolate chunks that melt in your mouth inside a scoop of ice cream, avoiding the unfortunate fate most chocolate chunks suffer: becoming hard to chew and waxy at frozen temperatures. Many of these recipes can double as ice cream toppings, scattered across any ice cream you like, and would make for a top-notch sundae bar at your next gathering when you show off your new ice cream skills!

In the section titled “The Scoops” you’ll find my favorite flavors: twists on classics I grew up on and unique flavors that draw from my experience in both the savory and sweet side of restaurant kitchens around the world.  These scoops will all use two or more of the recipes you’ll find in the recipe section. Not only will this section teach you how to make my favorite flavors, but it should stand as an example on how to make your own unique flavors from the recipes I provide. I like to think of these recipes as Legos. Much like a Lego kit, you can follow the instructions and recreate what is pictured, or you can design something of your own.

For example, Ricky’s Coffee Pretzel Toffee begins with the recipe for cold press coffee ice cream and packs it with shattered pieces of pretzel toffee and chocolate chunks. Maybe you would rather to run a ribbon of caramel through the coffee ice cream, and add chunks of cookie dough. Or maybe you’re really wild and want to add caramel and cookie dough to bourbon-brown sugar ice cream! The sky is the limit.

You’ll also learn how to create swirl flavors by following the instructions for cheesecake Neapolitan, blood orange creamsicle, or rainbow sherbet. Once you master this technique you’ll be able to pair any two or three flavors together you like! Bourbon brown sugar next to peach sherbet? Why not! Roasted chestnut next to raspberry? If you insist.


I’ve always been drawn to Anna Posey’s illustrations. They are playful without being childish, whimsical but never silly, and never limited to one medium. These are words I would use to describe my own style when it comes to ice cream, and a marriage of our similar style will bring a powerful visual aspect to the written essays and recipes included in this book.

I envision her broad range of illustrative style showing what a photographic image of a scoop of ice cream can’t. We will use watercolor washes over pen and ink sketches of the ingredients included, and playful suggestions of the emotions evoked by ice cream. For example, a photograph of root beer ice cream would visually be a brown scoop. Anna’s use of illustration mixed with photography could place that brown scoop on a piece of paper over an illustrated ice cream cone, with the ingredients that comprise the complex flavor scattered around, their names drawn next to them; cinnamon, clove, ginger, lemon, orange, mint, brown sugar, vanilla, and sassafras.

Anna will also illustrate the pages containing the science behind ice cream to help with understanding, breaking up the heady text with lighthearted visual cues.

Because Anna also works as a pastry chef as well as an illustrator, she brings a deep understanding of the material in the book, which will increase her ability to visually represent it, making an incredible contribution to the visual appeal of this book.

Anna’s sample illustrations and food styling can be seen here:


A Seattle native, Dana Cree began her culinary journey in 2000, studying at The Art Institute of Seattle. Cree worked in the savory side of the kitchen for three years at Seattle’s Lampreia, before heeding her pastry calling. After a lengthy stage at The Fat Duck, in Bray, England, in early 2005, Cree returned to Seattle and assumed the role of pastry chef at Eva. There she honed her flavor-focused and detail-oriented style.

Cree spent several highly influential weeks staging with Alex Stupak at WD-50 in New York. Upon returning to Seattle, she took the helm at Veil. It was there that she explored modernist technique in a fine-dining setting, putting to use lessons learned at WD-50 and The Fat Duck.

When Veil closed in 2008, Cree joined the opening team at Poppy. There she continued to refine and focus her concepts, crafting exciting and accessible plates, fit for the high-volume setting. Her work at Poppy earned her recognition from StarChefs, who presented her with a Rising Star award in 2009.

Cree left Seattle in 2010, and after a stage at Noma in Copenhagen, she returned to the States to work at Alinea in Chicago. There she learned to push the boundaries of possibility. Later that year Cree found herself back in Denmark, as the pastry chef at Kadeau restaurant, on the island of Bornholm. There she immersed herself in Baltic products and a New Nordic minimalist style.

When Kadeau closed for the harsh Scandinavian winter, Cree returned to the States, positioning herself under the tutelage of Sherry Yard at Spago Beverly Hills. There she revisited classic techniques and learned to foster strong relationships with area farmers.

Cree returned to Chicago in 2012, where she now draws on her broad range of experiences as the pastry chef at Blackbird and avec. Nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef by the James Beard Foundation in 2014 and 2015, and honored with the Jean Banchet Pastry Chef of the Year award in 2014, her thoughtful, nuanced, and resoundingly delicious desserts perfectly culminate the divergent dining experiences of both restaurants.

In the summer of 2015 Cree resigned from her position at Blackbird to expand her thoughtful and nostalgic line of ice cream, called Hello My Name Is Ice Cream under her new role as Partner and Culinary Director for 1871 Dairy.

For insights into Dana Cree’s culinary exploits, visit, a Saveur Best Food Blog Finalist of 2014 and


Food and Wine Magazine….The Year Of The Pastry Chef

Tribune Dining Award 2015

Pastry Chef of the Year- Jean Banchet- 2014

Saveur Best Food Blog Finalist- 2014:

Tasting Table Best Pastry Chef 2013

Saveur 20th anniversary Birthday Cake

Dana Cree Takes Ice Cream to the Next Level- Brooklyn Magazine

Dana Cree Is A Magical Human Being- The Stranger- 2011

Hello My Name Is Ice Cream- Zagat

Lottie + Doof


Seattle PI

Upper Stories


The Science of Perfection…. Warring

Making Frozen Yogurt on WGN

Ellement Collective Steamed Pumpkin Cake

Anthony Bourdain No Reservations, Pacific Northwest

Minute 33


Anna Posey currently lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband, David Posey. Anna has a BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in Fine Arts. She is currently working as the Pastry Chef for the Publican and Publican Quality Meats, in Chicago. As a chef in a ‘farm-to-table’ based restaurant group, she feels lucky to be surrounded by such beautiful foods, flowers and wildlife on a daily basis. She hopes to bring the repetitive beauty and playfulness of nature into her works.


Hello, My Name Is Ice Cream


Section 1: The Knowledge: A Field Guide to Ice Cream

Chapter 1              The Equipment

Chapter 2              The Ingredients

Chapter 3              The Science

Section 2: The Recipes: Formulas for Making Ice Cream

Chapter 4              Ice Cream

Chapter 5              Custards

Chapter 6              Sherbets and Frozen Yogurt

Chapter 7              Add-Ins

Section 3: The Scoops: Composing Ice Creams

Chapter 8              A Colorful Spectrum of Composed Scoops





Blue and Purple




Section 1: The Knowledge: A Field Guide to Ice Cream

Ice Cream is one of life’s simplest pleasures, a treat for the youngest of children, and a delight for every generation above. Making ice cream should also be simple, provided you play by the rules. Were this a cartoon, a 10-foot scroll of rules would unravel, tumbling across the floor. Yes, there are a lot of rules to ice cream, and the more of them you follow, the higher quality your ice cream will be. If you think about it, ice cream is a liquid (sugar doesn’t freeze) a solid (ice crystals) and a gas (air whipped in) at the same time. Getting all three states of matter to exist next to each other isn’t easy, and you can exercise vast amounts of knowledge in pursuit of perfecting the nuances of this texture.

I spent the first 3 years of my restaurant career making ice cream in home ice cream makers, by following simple recipes I found in cookbooks without any understanding of why ingredients did what they did. I simply followed the recipe and learned there are a few unbreakable rules about ice cream, a few that really need to be followed, and some that just make your life easier. I gathered a roster of equipment that is essential to making a nice ice cream, and learned that a bag of ice purchased from the store is a home ice cream makers BFF.

About 6 years into my career, I took a job at an uber-modern molecular restaurant called Veil. Veil had a different ice cream machine than the home models I’d been using or the professional batch freezers found in pastry departments with nice budgets, and all my tried and true recipes began to fail. This machine, the Pacojet, chewed up my ice cream bases, literally, and spit out grainy, icy, un-creamy messes. When I started asking around about my failures I couldn’t see that I was opening up the biggest can of worms I’d encounter in my career. Since then, I’ve been absorbing information about ice cream ravenously, and will leave a large amount of that knowledge here in these pages, for the most curious of ice cream makers.

Above and beyond, these are guidelines. These rules are simply best case scenarios, great suggestions for getting you from a pint of milk to a superior pint of ice cream with success. Just as you can dive into the deep end of this creamy pool as I have, you can also splash around in the shallow end and have equally as good a time. I don’t want these rules to frighten anyone away from trying their hand at ice cream. Above all, ice cream is a simple and delicious pleasure, and I’ve yet to see any homemade ice cream left behind to melt.

Chapter 1: The Equipment

The Machines

  • Why you need a kitchen scale
  • Different ice cream machines
  • Blenders, food processors, and juicers

The Essentials

  • A bag of ice! (your best friend when making ice cream)
  • Heavy-bottomed pots
  • Metal or glass work bowls
  • Fine-mesh strainers
  • A whisk and a spatula
  • A microplane

Chapter 2: The Ingredients

Core Ingredients

Stabilizers (Less Scary Than You Think)

Adding Flavors

  • Infusions, herbs, spices, teas, bananas
  • Fruits
  • Chocolates
  • Additional sugars

Chapter 3: The Science

Five Components of Ice Creams

  • Sugar, fat, air, ice, other solids

* Putting the ice in ice cream—or not

                                    * Sugar: just a big softie

                                    * Fat: friend not foe

                                    * The air in there

                                    * Solid matter


  • Structural necessity of the ratio
  • Staying true: how to adjust ingredients within a ratio

Energy Transfer: heating things up and cooling things down

  • The ice bath
  • Curing your base overnight
  • Churning time
  • Hard freezing

Section 2: The Recipes: Formulas for Making Ice Cream

The pages following in this section contain the working soul of this book. Here I’ll introduce you to the four styles of base: ice cream, custard, sherbets, and frozen yogurt. Each of these types of base can stand alone, and be served as-is, any way you like.

In culinary school, I was taught the classic French technique, to thicken your ice cream base with egg yolks, giving it a rich custardy quality and a velvety mouth feel. You’re likely to be most familiar with this style if you’ve had Haggen Daaz, which knocked American’s socks off in the 80’s when they released their richer, denser line of ice creams into grocery stores.

Ice Cream shops around America favor an eggless technique. This is sometimes referred to as Philadelphia style, or American style to differentiate it from it’s custardy French cousin. American style ice creams are rich in butterfat rather then egg yolk, and are lighter texturally, as the cream whips just like whipped cream when churned.

Sherbets are no stranger to the ice cream eating masses, most often consumed as a rainbow of flavors. However, one of the most common questions I’m asked is to explain what makes a sherbet a sherbet. Standardized definitions are informed by percentages of sugar, milk content, and PH levels, but nothing that provided me with an explanation I could give to friends. This forced me to distinguish what I considered a sherbet by creating a family of them. Halfway between a rich American style ice cream and a sorbet, the sherbet recipes I’ve created contain a whopping 25 percent fruit, and are finished with bright buttermilk. I’ve come to believe these sherbets are the best way to include fruit in an ice cream, and they always turn the most vivid colors.

Frozen yogurts are my favorite ice creams to make at home. I love the bright acidity of frozen yogurt, which balances the sugar necessary in ice cream brilliantly. Frozen yogurts require the least amount of time and energy to transform liquid dairy into frozen ice cream. Instead, I put my efforts into finding the most delicious yogurt I can get my hands on.

Through the years of making ice creams, I began to let the flavor dictate the style of ice cream I would make. Lemon custard is rich and subtle, lemon ice cream is bright and creamy, lemon sherbet is lean and bracing, and lemon frozen yogurt is tart and supple. However, other flavors don’t play as well with every style. I have found deeper, rounder flavors like spices, teas, liquor, caramels, honey, and nuts work best in custards. Other cleaner flavors shine in the egg-free American bases, like matcha, crème fraîche, fresh garden herbs, and citrus. I’ve also adopted an American Style base for my chocolate ice creams, allowing the flavor of the chocolate to define the nuances of the scoop and provide all the richness. Sherbets were made for fruits, and all our fruits find themselves tucked in these buttermilk bases. Frozen yogurts belong to themselves, and are brilliant with the bright fruits of summer, the tart citrus of winter, and sweeter elements like candied fruits, jams, and sweet syrups like honey and maple.

I have also included a section of recipes for add-ins. You’ll find these recipes are all formulated to be the correct texture at frozen temperatures, which might make them seem a little funny when you are making them. I’ve worked hard to make sure these are perfect in ice cream and don’t break a tooth, or become soggy from the moisture. Many of these recipes can also be used as toppings for ice creams of your own making, or pints you’ve purchased. Most importantly, they are used to make the Scoops outlined in section 3.

Chapter 4: Ice Cream

  • Blank-Slate Ice Cream Base

Recipes: Garden Mint, Lemon Crème Fraîche, Cream Cheese, Goat Cheese, Coffee Mascarpone, Basil, Date, Danish Licorice, Parmesan, Earl Grey, Hong Kong Milk Tea, Sweet Potato, Cheddar, Blue Cheese

Chapter 5: Custards

Recipes: Cheesecake, Tahitian Vanilla, Roasted Chestnut, Cardamom, Cold Press Coffee, Parsnip, Sweet Corn, Jasmine, Burnt Honey, Pyrat Rum, Fig Leaf, Bourbon Brown Sugar, Toasted Hay, Pumpkin Sage, Banana

Chapter 6: Sherbets and Frozen Yogurt

  • Blank-Slate Ratio Sherbet/Frozen Yogurt
  • Guidelines on Puréeing Fruits

Recipes: Nectarine, Raspberry, Black Raspberry, Pineapple, Orange, Apricot Rooibos, Avocado, Bubblegum, Mango Lassi frozen yogurt, Hibiscus frozen yogurt

Chapter 7: Add-Ins

  • Ribbons, Ripples, and Compotes

Recipes: Vanilla Bean Caramel, Butterscotch, Milk Jam, Sorghum Syrup, Plum Caramel, Passion Fruit Caramel, Strawberry Ripple, Black Raspberry Ripple, Pink Peppercorn Caramel, Cranberry Compote, Lemon Curd, Stewed Blueberries, Macadamia Butter, Smoked Almond Butter, Rhubarb Compote, Strawberry/Tomato Compote, Caped Gooseberry Jam, Raspberry Jam

Recipes: Cider Poached Figs, Guava Leather, Chocolate Crêpes, Vanilla Bean Marshmallows, Rose Marshmallows, Soft Almond Meringue, Candied Citrus, Coriander Poached Quince, Vanilla Poached Pears, Candied Kumquats, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Brownies, Thai-Spiced Carrot Cake, Basil Poached Pineapple, Gooey Butter Cake, Marzipan Cake

  • Crispy, Crunchy, Chunky Bits

Recipes: Melt-in-Your-Mouth Chocolate Chunks (white, milk, dark, sesame), Chocolate Cookie Chunks, Pretzel Toffee, Buttercrunch Toffee, Brown Sugar Candied peanuts, Hazelnut Streusel, King Peanut Crunch, Buttered Pecans, Caramelized Rice Crispies, Pecan Cracker Jack, Cinnamon-Coated Black Walnuts, Candied Cashews, Walnut Brittle

Section 3: The Scoops: Composing Ice Creams

If I tried to count the number of ice cream flavors I’ve made in my long tenure as a pastry chef, I doubt I’d find it possible. Because I use ice cream as a component in desserts, the flavors I’ve created span a veritable continent, and can be as simple as sour cream, lemon, or brown sugar, or as wild as roasted parmesan, black truffle, or burnt honey.  Most of the flavors I’ve created fall somewhere in between, and add an elegant touch to desserts. When I started creating ice creams to be packed in pints, or served in scoops over cones, the flavors I’d created for desserts didn’t have the same appeal. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll lick a scoop of caramelized lemon verbena ice cream off a cone tomorrow. But cinnamon basil custard just didn’t seem to stand on it’s own without the blueberry and blackberry pie it was designed to sit atop.

Pint pioneers Ben and Jerry have made their reputation on filling their ice creams with everything under the sun, and I decided instead of putting ice cream on desserts I could put the desserts in the ice cream. I packed cinnamon basil ice cream with black and blue compote and chunks of flaky sugar-coated pie pastry. And that caramelized lemon verbena received the snickerdoodles and plum caramel ribbon that once sat alongside the scoop on a plated dessert.

This section contains ice creams  composed as thoughtfully as a dessert, sweet phrases containing enough textural variety and bold flavor to stand alone. Some are inspired by flavors I grew up eating, and some are based on desserts I’ve created along the way. Many are inspired by the people around me who are constantly pressed with the question, “what kind of ice cream should I make today?”

Each scoop will include a headnote with the story behind the flavor, a little glimpse into why and how I put the flavors together, and who inspired me along the way. The recipes combined to create these scoops are all cataloged in the recipe section, and can be made in one day, or over the course of a few days, as your time allows.

You’ll find the ice creams in this section organized by color. It’s a quirk of my own brain, to see flavors as colors. I’ve used this as a tool to help me conceptualize and combine flavors for years, and I found no other logical way to present this motley crew of ice creams to you.


Cheddar Berry: Beecher’s Flagsheep cheddar ice cream with strawberry-tomato compote

Sofia: aged goat cheese ice cream with coriander poached quince and pistachios

That’s My Jam: parsnip ice cream with cranberry compote and milk jam

Strawberry Bubblemallow: bubblegum ice cream with vanilla bean marshmallows and strawberry ripple

Spring Sours: hibiscus frozen yogurt with rhubarb compote and soft almond meringue

Pink Pink Rose: beet sherbet with guava leather, rose marshmallows, and pink peppercorn caramel

Apricot Red Tea Chunk: apricot rooibos ice cream with milk chocolate and butter toffee


Orange Blooms: marigold ice cream with candied kumquat and passion fruit caramel

After Midnight: pumpkin sage ice cream with toasted coconut and toffee peanuts

Toffee Nectarine: nectarine sherbet with hazelnut toffee and rose milk jam

Elementary Swirl: vanilla bean custard ice cream and blood orange sherbet swirled together

Rainbow Sherbet: raspberry, pineapple, and orange sherbets swirled together

The Rainy Season: basil custard ice cream with anise poached pineapple and Thai-spiced carrot cake

Malted Sweet Potato: sweet potato ice cream with candied cashews and brewers malt


Lemony Lemon Crème Fraîche: lemon crème fraîche ice cream with candied lemon and a ribbon of lemon curd

Banana in Black: banana ice cream with black raspberry ripple and burnt vanilla meringues

Pyrat’s Booty: Pyrat rum ice cream with golden chunks of walnut brittle

Sassy Lassi: mango lassi frozen yogurt with smoked almond butter and candied kumquats

Sweet Corn Gooseberry: corn ice cream with butterscotch and caped gooseberry jam


Alligator Pear: avocado ice cream with macadamia butter, candied grapefruit, and milk chocolate chunk

Caroline’s Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough: garden mint ice cream with chocolate chips and chunks of cookie dough

Janet’s Tea: jasmine green tea custard ice cream with orange marmalade and macadamia nuts


Blue River: blue cheese ice cream with balsamic cherry compote and hazelnut streusel

Black Raspberry Chocolate Chunk a black raspberry sherbet with chunks of semisweet chocolate inside

Parmesan Black Raspberry Chunk: roasted Parmesan custard ice cream with black raspberry ripple and basil-white chocolate chunk

Bornholm Blueberry: hay custard ice cream with stewed blueberries and a honey ribbon

Heart of Plum: cardamom custard ice cream with marzipan cake and plum caramel


Hot Date: date and urfa biber ice cream with caramelized rice crispies and bittersweet chocolate chunks

Crêpes and Coffee: coffee mascarpone ice cream with chocolate crêpes, candied hazelnuts, and chocolate fudge ripple

Southern Hospitality: bourbon custard ice cream with pecan cracker jack and sorghum syrup

Tea and Cookies: Hong Kong milk tea ice cream with crushed shortbread and candied lemon

Svaneke Swirl: Danish licorice ice cream with raspberry ripple and chunks of dark chocolate

Turtle Brownie Cheesecake: cheesecake ice cream with buttered pecans, caramel ribbon, and chunks of brownie

Mont Blanc: roasted chestnut custard ice cream with vanilla poached pears and melted milk chocolate

Coffee Pretzel Toffee: cold-press coffee ice cream with chunks of pretzel toffee and chocolate chunks

Parlez-vous Francais? brie ice cream with kombucha poached pears and a burnt-honey ribbon


Autumn Orchard: fig-leaf custard ice cream with cinnamon-coated black walnuts and apple cider poached figs

King Peanut: vanilla bean ice cream with crispy chunks of peanut buttery nuggets and a ribbon of vanilla bean caramel

Cookies Cookies and Cream: vanilla ice cream with crushed chocolate butter cookies and chocolate cookie dough

Gooey Butter Cake: cream cheese ice cream with chunks of the gooiest butter cake ever

Turkish Tiramisu: mascarpone ice cream with coffee poached dates and sambuca chocolate ripple


The Science: Controlling Water

Years ago I had the privilege of staging in the pastry kitchen at WD-50 while it was under the care of Alex Stupak. It was his visual style that drew me into his kitchen, gorgeous twirls of gravity-defying chocolate pudding next to dollops of avocado purée, frozen capsules of orange sorbet containing a magically unfrozen vanilla cream center, popcorn powders that dashed across red-hearted strawberries and taro ice cream nestled between nuggets of deep-fried butterscotch. I soon learned that it was thoughtfulness and piercing curiosity that pulled seemingly impossible desserts from the tangle of Stupak’s imagination. Once conceived, it was his diligent research and gifted intelligence that allowed him to bring these impossible desserts to fruition. While I wouldn’t call him a man of few words, he didn’t mince them, and some of the snippets he shared with me have become cornerstones of my own creative process.

“You know, it’s really just about controlling water,” he said, looking over my shoulder and through the window that peeked from the subterranean pastry department into the prep kitchen like a captain’s room. He walked back to what he was doing and quite possibly forgot the moment ever existed. Lucky for me, it burned into my brain, the reality of it so immense, yet the truth so simple. I’ve heard it said that food is just water with impurities, and every action we take in cooking, on some level, is to control the water inside our food.

Making ice cream is a perfect application of controlling water. Milk is almost entirely made from water, and when frozen, water becomes ice. We need ice to make ice cream, but too much, or too large, and the namesake element of this frozen cream becomes unpleasantly obvious. With a few extra steps, you can spare your ice cream this unfortunate fate.

Spinning a very cold ice cream base:  We can control the size of the ice crystal by making sure the water is as close to an ice crystal as possible, taking it straight from a long night in the fridge and putting it immediately in the ice cream machine. This forms ice crystals that are small seeds, which will mature into small ice crystals.

Using stabilizers to help control the water: An entire section is devoted to this subject. Let me just say, stabilizers are your friends when it comes to controlling water.

Reducing the amount of water: You can reduce the amount of water by increasing the amount of non-water based ingredients. The less water there is in the ice cream, the less ice you can create. Ingredients like chocolates, fruit purees, nut butters, egg yolks, and butterfat commonly replace watery milk in recipes, but also define the flavor. Ice cream makers often employ non-fat milk powder to help increase the amount of non-water based ingredients without altering the flavor.

Ice Cream Stabilizers: Less Scary Than You Think

I’ve heard a lot of public disapproval of stabilizer use in ice cream. However, it’s usually in the form of ice cream shops congratulating themselves on their lack of stabilizers, billing them as invisible villains from corporations, placed in your ice cream to give it more than its fair share of time in the freezer, masking cheap ingredients and slowly poisoning your body. The general sentiment seems to be that no stabilizers = good, and stabilizers = cheating. You know what I think about that? More power to them! Fight the good fight, people. But in all honesty, that’s not what stabilizers are. Yes, they can be, and are abused by large-scale manufacturers. In limited amounts, however, stablizers are simply innocuous food-safe substances that are in fact invisible heroes of ice cream’s texture. Can you make ice cream without them? Sure. Will you improve the texture your ice cream by employing stablizers? Absolutely.

I myself use stabilizers. I like the texture they give my ice creams, and I’m going to show you why, demystifying what they are and shining a bright light on the proud job that they do for our ice creams. However, if the following information does not sway you toward believing in their textural benefit, then you have my word, I’ll never speak of it to you again, and you and I can spend the rest of this book making ice cream together without them. Although by the end of this section, you might realize that you’ve been using some of these stabilizers all along.

First, before we meet the hardworking crew of ice cream stabilizers, I want to talk about what they do.

First and foremost, ice cream stabilizers emulsify your ice cream base. That means they mix the un-mixables. The functional components in ice cream are pretty cliquey. Water and oil really don’t care for each other, and getting them together takes a really convincing mediator. The sugars love water and will grab onto a molecule or two of it, but will drag it down, as sugar’s higher molecular weight is affected by gravity. When warmed, the little blobs of butter fat really like to slip around until they find more little fat blobs, becoming larger blobs of fat, then floating together to the top, congratulating themselves on their elevated status.

An emulsifier is a powerful agent, which I envision as a patient peacekeeper with two outstretched hands. One of these hands is hydrophilic and loves to hold the hand of water. The other is lipophilic and will gladly hold on to the fat. This keeps the water and fat from running away from each other, and with a strong enough grip that they can’t pool together into bigger bodies. And the sugar that is holding tight to a water molecule will be held in suspension when the emulsifier attaches to the same water molecule.

Thanks to emulsifiers, the components in ice cream can live in harmony and form what is called a matrix. At times, before a stabilizer is added, I can see components in ice cream separating with my naked eye, but usually, after whisking the ingredients together, it looks perfectly smooth. This is a deceptive, temporary state. Eventually, the forces of nature will move the fats back up top with the other fats and the waters back to the waters, and the sugars to the bottom of the bowl. It’s not something you will likely notice until the ice cream has been churned. Then, you will feel little granules of butter on your tongue that eventually will coat your mouth, a flaw I call “flabby”. Once the ice cream spends a night in your freezer, you might not notice the granules of butter because the water that was still allowed to pool together will have formed large enough ice crystals that all you’ll feel are crunchy flakes of ice.

By forming an emulsion, your ice cream has more stability—i.e., it has been stabilized. By a stabilizer. A friendly, hand-holding, peace keeping stabilizer. At their most basic, ice creams will only contain an emulsifying agent, and for home use, this is the most important reason to bring a stabilizer into your kitchen.

Stabilizers also improve texture by reducing the size of ice crystals in your ice cream by absorbing water. They come from a family called hydrocolloids, a name that buzzed through molecular gastronomy when the trend was peaking. It simply means that it gels water. You’ve used hydrocolloids if you’ve ever thickened something with cornstarch or flour—defined by their ability to absorb water and form a gel when heat is applied. Think Jell-O pudding. Gelatin is also a hydrocolloid, evident by every cube of wiggly Jell-O ever made. In fact, gelatin itself was used in early ice cream production; however, it lost favor when more affordable plant-based hydrocolloids became available.

Why is absorbing water important to the texture of ice cream? The answer is one we will be coming back to over and over . . . ice. When a hydrocolloid absorbs water, it holds it hostage.  Not really hostage, as hostages can be released. This water becomes permanently involved with the hydrocolloid. This water can freeze, but it will only ever be able to form a small ice crystal. Small ice crystals make for a smooth, creamy consistency when eaten. When ice cream fluctuates in temperature and ice begins to melt, water’s desire to be together is rekindled and it pools. When it refreezes, these now slightly larger groups of water molecules grow into larger ice crystals. Imagine a pint of ice cream that goes from the freezer of the grocery store to your car, then to your freezer, to your table, back to your freezer, and back to your table again. The water in this pint of ice cream will have partially melted, frozen, melted, frozen, etc., until the final few moments you have with this dessert will be more ice than cream.

When water molecules enter into an eternal bond with a hydrocolloid, they will remain separated from other water through this freeze-thaw cycle. This may not matter much to you if you plan on eating your ice cream immediately after being made. But by keeping the water separate in its’ liquid phase, it can travel through these freeze thaw cycles without becoming part of a larger ice crystal.

You may think that putting your ice cream in your home freezer will spare you the rollercoaster store-bought pints suffer through. However, home freezers do not stay particularly cold as far as freezers go. Throughout the time your ice cream spends in the freezer it will suffer through multiple openings and closings as members of your household fish around for ice cubes or frozen pizzas. The way many home freezers are made, with a front facing door, allows all the cold air to spill out when they are opened. And the most tempting place to store your ice cream, in those neat little shelves on the door itself fluctuate the most in temperature. A home freezer is constantly fluctuating in temperature, and so will the ice cream you’ve freshly spun and tucked away, making the addition of a hydrocolloid in homemade ice creams quite helpful.

While the hydrocolloids go to work on the water, another agent in stabilizers will start to do some work on the fat. Mono and diglycerides will begin to alter the fat molecule, stripping and destabilizing the little globules over an eight-hour period, which sort of makes the fat sticky. This sticky fat wants to stick to other fat, which we don’t want, and tiny bubbles of air, which we do want. By curing your ice cream overnight and allowing these mono and diglycerides to go to work, the fat is readily available to stick to air bubbles the moment you start churning your ice cream. A bubble of air becomes trapped in the ice cream when enough little sticky fat globules completely surround it. This same magic trick happens when you drag a whisk through cold cream repeatedly, thus whipping it into whipped cream. You need to whip your ice cream in the same manner, otherwise it would be a popsicle. Without air, ice cream is just a frozen brick.

Now, there are many other things that can be done with stabilizers that have to do with the viscosity of your mix, the dryness of the base, and ionic charges, but that stuff applies to commercial production and is beyond the scope of what I have done in restaurants, let alone what you and I are going to accomplish in your home kitchen.

Whew. That’s a lot to think about, so I’ll sum it up. A stabilizer holds your base together and controls water activity, leading to a smoother, longer-lasting texture, and helps it whip efficiently.

Most stabilizers are bundled packages, with a little of this and a little of that, designed to do a lot of things for you without you having to think about it. However, it’s a lot like the bundles my cable company keeps trying to sell me. I want the important stuff, and one specialty item, but I can only get them along with other things I don’t necessarily want or need. You can find these bundled stabilizers for sale on the Internet, and if you want the stabilizer experience but don’t want to really worry about what’s going on, then I recommend buying one. I myself have used blends in my career for exactly that reason. For home use, however, you can choose one or two individual stabilizers that will affect your ice cream in all the right ways.

Without further adieu, I give you the cast and crew of ice cream stabilizers.

Egg Yolks

I consider egg yolks to be the girl next door. You’ve known them all your life, you’ve played together, grown up together. In fact, you’ve probably got some in your refrigerator right now. What you don’t know is that their potent ice cream-stabilizing qualities have been right in front of you the whole time. They contain the hand-holding emulsifiers and the mono and diglycerides that help with whipping. These can be the exclusive stabilizer in your ice cream, should you so desire. They do nothing for the freeze-thaw cycle or the size of the ice crystals, however, which is why you’ll find recipes in this book that contain both egg yolks and additional stabilizers. And they impart a custardy, eggy flavor to ice creams, so I like to limit their use to flavors that work well with the richness of a custard.


Cornstarch increases viscosity, reduces iciness, and is the most familiar hydrocolloid in the family of ice cream stabilizers, one many of you have used yourself. It is made by fermenting corn and then separating the starchy endosperm before the starch is washed free and dehydrated. When introduced to a water-based liquid, each starch granule swells with water before it gelatinizes at boiling temperatures into what I imagine to be a room filled with beach balls. The more beach balls of cornstarch are introduced, the harder it is for the fast-moving water to move around. In ice cream, this means that the fat and sugar have a hard time moving to the top and bottom of your mix, turning the ice cream base into a traffic jam, keeping everyone mixed together. Because water is absorbed, never to return as large ice crystals, cornstarch makes for a smooth ice cream. However, the starch itself begins to break down over time, and because it only confuses everyone into staying in place and doesn’t actually bind them, its emulsifying properties weaken over time and fats, sugars, and waters drift apart.

Guar Gum

Guar gum is about 10 times as powerful as cornstarch. It has long, coiled chains that not only absorb water, but then cross-link, trapping more free water in a web. In low concentrations, these webs don’t completely connect into a solid gel, rather they function similarly to cornstarch, bunching together and causing a traffic jam that keeps the fats and sugars in place.

Xanthan Gum


Locust Bean Gum

Polysorbate 80

Mono and diglycerides


Cookies Cookies and Cream: vanilla ice cream with crushed chocolate butter cookies and chocolate cookie dough

This ice cream is almost just an excuse to give you this chocolate cookie dough recipe. It came through my hands in 2005, tucked inside the pages of Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé, hiding behind more glamorous cakes and confections. However, the author, Dorie Greenspan, knew what treasure was buried inside, and she dubbed them “world peace cookies,” believing their flavor so powerful it could silence any skirmish. When I started working on the cookie for the cookies-and-cream ice cream, I adapted the recipe, crumbled the dough over a sheet pan, and baked these little nuggets until crispy. The recipe, a cookies-and-cream-style ice cream with dual cookie textures, makes enough for you to fill your ice cream with crispy cookie and chunks of dough, and still have extra to snack on while your ice cream is freezing.

Elementary Swirl: vanilla bean custard ice cream and blood orange sherbet swirled together

As a child, I would eat just about any ice cream I could get my hands on. Even vanilla, my ice cream nemesis, always got the better of me, and I ate it begrudgingly, knowing that not having ice cream was always worse than suffering through my least favorite flavors. While vanilla was never my choice, my eyes always lit up at the sight of the little plastic cups filled with orange sherbet swirled with vanilla ice cream. Something magical happens to each flavor when they are combined, and this was one of the first flavors I sought to replicate as a grown-up ice cream maker. I no longer want the wooden spoon provided with each cup, chewed beyond recognition, a childish attempt at pulling every last drop of flavor from the experience. Instead, I now help myself to a grown-up size portion and eat to my heart’s delight.

Turtle Brownie Cheesecake: cheesecake ice cream with buttered pecans, caramel ribbon, and chunks of brownie

As a young baker, I became accustomed to a never-ending supply of brownie edges. Pave Bakery, a small bakery in the town I grew up in, hired me as a cashier in high school, and in my downtime I would trim the bar cookies and brownies and cut them in neat 4-inch squares. The edges, crispy and abundant and of no risk to my youthful metabolism, were a daily source of nutrition for me. Nowadays, I need a more reasonable use for those brownie edges, and I have created numerous ice cream flavors to house these chewy bites. Tucking them into cheesecake ice cream is a perennial favorite, and this version, dressed up like a turtle candy, is an absolute crowd-pleaser. You can use the entire brownie for this recipe, or trim the edges and save the brownies themselves for sundaes.

Gooey Butter Cake: cream cheese ice cream with chunks of the gooiest butter cake ever             When Perry Hendrix signed on as chef of Blackbird, he dubbed his style “modern Midwestern.” No sooner were those words out of his mouth than I was uttering the words “gooey butter cake.” It was autumn at the time, and we flavored our gooey butter cake with bourbon to be served with holiday pie components like spiced pumpkin and caramel pecans. You could certainly stick chunks of this gooey butter cake in a pumpkin ice cream next to caramel and pecans. However, we have found we like this cake best in a tart cream cheese ice cream. The two textures are amazing together, as the cake never freezes completely solid, its gooeyness accentuated.

Lemony Lemon Crème Fraîche: lemon crème fraîche ice cream with candied lemon and a ribbon of lemon curd

My aunt Mary has been an iconic figure throughout my whole life. My mother’s older sister, she was often the hero of family legend. Many of their exploits took place in Trenton, being the Jersey girls they were, and when my aunt relocated to California, my mom eventually followed behind. California, land of citrus, fostered a deep love of lemon in my aunt. The lemonier, the better, and I’ve made a habit of sharing the lemoniest of recipes with her when I come across them. I made this one with her in my heart, scenting a crème fraîche ice cream with lemon zest and flooding it with a healthy dose of fresh lemon juice. Chunks of candied lemon are scattered in the ice cream, and a thick ribbon of buttery lemon curd swims throughout. For the leagues of lemon lovers out there, and Aunt Mary, this one is for you.

Caroline’s Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough: garden mint ice cream with chocolate chips and chunks of cookie dough

Many gifted cooks and interns have passed through the kitchens I helmed, each coming with different goals and experiences. Caroline, a young lady from Massachusetts, first came to spend 6 weeks with my team at Blackbird while waiting for the seasonal restaurant she worked at on the Cape to reopen. Fast forward a year, and fresh off a stage at OddFellows Ice Cream in Brooklyn, she came back to visit us. I told her she could exercise her newfound ice cream knowledge and make a flavor for us. Her excitement got the better of her and she couldn’t decide! I asked her what her favorite flavors were and she exclaimed, “Chef! I don’t know! Mint chocolate chip…cookie dough!” I simply replied, “Yes,” and Caroline’s Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream was born, a double whammy of American classics made with a heaping pile of fresh mint, large chunks of melt-in-your-mouth chocolate, and gobs of chocolate chip cookie dough.

Tea and Cookies: Hong Kong milk tea ice cream with crushed shortbread and candied lemon

Our tea ice cream was inspired by my former sous chef Janet Tong. She described the milk teas of her native Hong Kong, deep like espresso and silky smooth, enriched with evaporated milk, an elegant cousin to the Thai iced tea we know and love. We chose the Regal English Breakfast tea from Chicago’s Rare Tea Cellars, and include a healthy dose of evaporated milk to create this silky black tea ice cream. Once the ice cream is churned, delicate vanilla shortbread is crushed and scattered over the ice cream in tandem with candied lemon.

Ricky’s Coffee Pretzel Toffee: cold-press coffee ice cream with chunks of pretzel toffee and chocolate chunks

Our cold-press coffee ice cream gets an upgrade with the addition of chunks of twisted pretzels covered in butter toffee and dark chocolate. The idea came from Blackbird’s owner, Ricky, who was quite pleased with his creative prowess when the flavor came to fruition! We are certain you too will be quite pleased with this flavor, particularly if you favor salty-sweet treats.

Svaneke Swirl: Danish licorice ice cream with raspberry ripple and chunks of dark chocolate

When I worked at Kadeau on the Danish island of Bornholm, I would treat myself weekly to scoops of ice cream made on the island at Svaneke Is. Svaneke the shop is named for the seaside town it is tucked away in, which in turn is named for the swans that populate the town. I would wait my turn patiently, scanning the menu for any new flavors and listening to the kids chatter in Danish. My favorite combination was raspberry ice cream with a second scoop of licorice, which was often studded with pieces of the chocolate-covered licorice made by Jon Bulow a few doors down. I would carry my cone a few blocks to the shore, relishing the brash flavor of Danish licorice tamed by local dairy, all the while watching the brave Baltic swans bobbing up and down on the brisk sea.

Pyrat’s Booty: Pyrat rum ice cream with golden chunks of walnut brittle

The dessert menu at Poppy restaurant was split into two sections. The first half contained five desserts, and the second contained six composed ice creams. There were many enticing factors swaying my decision to join the opening team of the restaurant—the lack of white plates, the wonderful owners, Jerry and Stevie, and the bright, clean, Scandinavian design of the dining room. However, nothing made me happier than the section of the menu dedicated to ice creams. They are scooped in fist-sized orbs into glasses and topped with complimentary creams, sauces, meringues, fruits, or nuts. I served herbed apple cider sorbet under ribbons of caramel and pine nut Cracker Jack, and coconut ice cream with candied kumquats, lime meringues, and passion fruit sauce. Jerry Traunfeld, the chef, was always supportive of my offerings, but he would occasionally tell me to make something like a rum ice cream, with something like walnut brittle in it. I would return to him with results similar to rum ice cream, and things alike in style to a walnut brittle before it finally hit me: I should make a rum ice cream with walnut brittle. I pulled the Pyrat rum from the bar and scented a custard ice cream with it before studding it with golden chunks of walnut brittle. Dubbed Pyrat’s Booty, this ice cream is a true treasure, one that will surely never be left buried in your freezer.

Strawberry Bubblemallow: bubblegum ice cream with vanilla bean marshmallows and strawberry ripple

Bubblegum is considered a fantasy flavor by professional flavorists, which means it doesn’t exist anywhere in reality. Captain obvious, I know, but as it stands to reason that we can’t make something from nothing, all fantasy flavors are built from pieces of other flavors we know and love. After a conversation about bubblegum with Chris Young, who at the time was in Seattle writing the Modernist Cuisine series, I learned that the backbone of bubblegum flavor was isoamyl acetate, a flavor molecule found in overripe fruits, particularly banana. In addition, orange, lemon, and vanilla were used to round out the flavor of the pink gum. When I thought of bubblegum as orange, lemon, banana, and vanilla, it became very easy to pair flavors with it, and nothing works better than strawberries. We use our strawberry sherbet flavored with our own formula for bubblegum made from the familiar flavors of orange, lemon, banana, and vanilla. A ripple of bright red strawberry runs through the bubblegum ice cream, winding between big pieces of vanilla bean marshmallows.


1 custard base

1 frozen yogurt base

1 sherbet base

1 ice cream base

1 ribbon

1 crunch

1 scoop recipe using the custard base, ribbon, and crunch

Vanilla Custard-Style Ice Cream       

Yield: 1 quart

Cream (20%)               200 g / 1 cup

Milk (50%)                  500 g / 2 cups

Glucose syrup (5%)     50 g / 5 tablespoons

Sugar (15%)                150 g / 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons

Vanilla bean                1 each, or 2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Yolks (10%)                 125 g / about 6 small or 5 large yolks

If you want to stabilize your ice cream, you have options!

(*chef’s choice)

15 g / 4 tsp     cornstarch, mixed with 30 g / 2 tbsp of cold milk and whisked into the dairy once it comes to a boil; cook for 30 seconds until thick before proceeding

*50 g / 4 tbsp cream cheese, softened and added to the pot with the dairy

1 g / 1/4 tsp    guar or xanthan gum, blended into the finished base after chilling in the ice bath

1 g / 1/4 tsp    commercial stabilizer mix, mixed evenly with the sugar before adding it to the pot

  1. Place the cream, milk, glucose, and sugar in a medium pot. With a small knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise and use the tip of your knife to scrape the small black seeds from the pod. Add both the pod and the seeds to the pot. (If using vanilla extract, wait to add it to the cooled ice cream base.) Place the pot on a stovetop burner over medium-high heat. Cook, whisking occasionally to help dissolve the sugar and to discourage the milk from scorching.
  2. Cook until the dairy mixture comes to a full, rolling boil, then remove the pot from the heat and discard the vanilla pod.
  3. Place the yolks into a medium bowl and whisk them until they break apart and are smooth and even. Add about 1/2 cup of the hot dairy mixture to the egg yolks, whisking quickly to blend the two before the hot milk cooks the egg yolks. Add the tempered egg yolks back into the pot of hot milk and immediately whisk together until even. Place the pot over medium-low heat and cook until the custard thickens, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot with a rubber spatula to avoid curdling.
  4. When you notice the custard start to thicken, or the temperature reaches 180 on a digital thermometer, remove the pot from the heat and immediately transfer the custard base into a shallow metal or glass bowl. Nest the bowl of warm custard base into a larger bowl filled with a lot of ice and a little water and stir the custard occasionally until it cools down. (If using vanilla extract, whisk it in now.)
  5. When the custard base is cool to the touch or a digital thermometer reads 50 degrees or below, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the bits of egg yolk membrane that remain intact and any other particles that may be present. (This step can be skipped, but straining will ensure that you have the smoothest ice cream possible.)
  6. Transfer the custard base to the refrigerator to cure for 6 hours, or preferably overnight. (You can skip this step and immediately churn your cooled custard, but the texture will be much improved if you cure your custard base.)
  7. When you are ready to spin your custard, place it into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The custard-style ice cream is finished churning when it thickens into the texture of soft-serve ice cream or whipped cream. This typically takes 30 minutes.
  8. To freeze your custard-style ice cream in the American hard-pack style, immediately transfer your finished ice cream to a container with an airtight lid and store it in your freezer until it hardens completely. Depending on your freezer, this can take between 4 and 8 hours. If you prefer not to wait, feel free to enjoy your custard-style ice cream as soon as you wish; the texture will be similar to soft-serve.

Lemon Frozen Yogurt

Yield: 1 quart

Sugar (25%)                250 g / 1 cup

Glucose or corn syrup (05%)  50 g / 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon

Cream (12.5%)                        125 g / 1/2 cup

Lemon zest                 10 g / zest of 2 lemons

Greek yogurt (45%)    450 g / 2 cups

Lemon juice (12.5%)   125 g / ½ cup

If you want to stabilize your ice cream, you have options!

(*chef’s choice)

10 g / 1 tbsp   cornstarch, mixed with 30 g / 2 tbsp of cold milk and whisked into the dairy once it comes to a boil; cook for 30 seconds until thick before proceeding

50 g / 4 tbsp   cream cheese, softened and added to the pot with the dairy

*1 g/ 1/4 tsp   xanthan or guar gum, blended with the lemon juice for 1 minute

1 g / 1/4 tsp    commercial stabilizer mix, dry mixed with the sugar before adding it to the pot

  1. Place the sugar, glucose or corn syrup, cream, and lemon zest in a small pot. Place the pot on a stovetop burner over medium-high heat. Cook, whisking occasionally to help dissolve the sugar and to discourage the cream from scorching.
  2. When the cream comes to a full, rolling boil, remove the pot from the heat and immediately transfer the cream mixture into a shallow metal or glass bowl. Nest the bowl of the warm cream mixture into a larger bowl filled with a lot of ice and a little water and stir occasionally until it cools down.
  3. When the cream is cooled, add the yogurt and lemon juice to the bowl of cream and whisk until smooth and even. Strain the frozen yogurt base through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the flecks of lemon zest and any other particles that may be present. (This step can be skipped, but straining will ensure that you have the smoothest frozen yogurt possible.)
  4. Transfer the frozen yogurt base to the refrigerator to cure for 6 hours, or preferably overnight. (You can skip this step and immediately churn your cooled frozen yogurt, but the texture will be much improved if you cure your frozen yogurt base.)
  5. When you are ready to churn your frozen yogurt, place it into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The frozen yogurt is finished churning when it thickens into the texture of soft-serve ice cream or whipped cream. This typically takes 30 minutes.
  6. To freeze your frozen yogurt in the American hard-pack style, immediately transfer your finished frozen yogurt to a container with an airtight lid and store it in your freezer until it hardens completely. Depending on your freezer, this can take between 4 and 8 hours. If you prefer not to wait, feel free to enjoy your frozen yogurt as soon as you wish; the texture will be similar to soft-serve.

Raspberry Sherbet                                         

Yield: 1 quart

Raspberry purée (22%) 220 g / 1 cup

Buttermilk (11%)        110 g / 1/2 cup

Citric acid                    3 g / 1/2 teaspoon

Sugar (18%)                180 g / 2/3 cup

Glucose syrup (11%)   110 g / 1/2 cup

Milk (27%)                  270 g / 1 1/4 cups

Cream (11%)               110 g / 1/2 cup

If you want to stabilize your ice cream, you have options!

(*chef’s choice)

*25 g / 3 tbsp cornstarch, mixed with 30 g / 2 tbsp of cold milk and whisked into the dairy once it comes to a boil; cook for 30 seconds until thick before proceeding

50 g / 4 tbsp   cream cheese, softened and added to the pot with the dairy

1 g / 1/4 tsp    xanthan or guar gum, blended into the sherbet base when cooled

3 g / 1/2 tsp    commercial stabilizer, mixed evenly with the sugar before adding it to the pot

  1. Place the raspberry purée, buttermilk, and citric acid in a bowl and whisk together until evenly combined. Set the bowl aside in the refrigerator.
  2. Place the sugar, glucose syrup, milk, and cream in a medium pot. Place the pot on a stovetop burner over medium-high heat. Cook, whisking occasionally to help dissolve the sugar and to discourage the dairy from scorching. When the dairy comes to a boil, set a timer for 1 minute and cook, stirring gently with a spatula, until the 60 seconds are up.
  3. Remove the pot from the stovetop and pour the hot dairy into a shallow metal or glass bowl. Nest the bowl of the warm dairy mixture into a larger bowl filled with a lot of ice and a little water and stir occasionally until the dairy is cool to the touch. Remove the raspberry-buttermilk mixture from the refrigerator and add it to the cooled dairy. Make sure that your dairy is entirely cool, as any residual heat when mixing with the acidic berry purée will curdle your ice cream.
  4. Strain the sherbet base through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the flecks of lemon zest and any other particles that may be present. (This step can be skipped, but straining will ensure that you have the smoothest sherbet possible.)
  5. Transfer the sherbet base to the refrigerator to cure for 6 hours, or preferably overnight. (You can skip this step and immediately churn your cooled sherbet, but the texture will be much improved if you cure your sherbet base.)
  6. When you are ready to churn your sherbet, place it into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The sherbet is finished churning when it thickens into the texture of soft-serve ice cream or whipped cream. This typically takes 30 minutes.
  7. To freeze your sherbet in the American hard-pack style, immediately transfer your finished sherbet to a container with an airtight lid and store it in your freezer until it hardens completely. Depending on your freezer, this can take between 4 and 8 hours. If you prefer not to wait, feel free to enjoy your sherbet as soon as you wish; the texture will be similar to soft-serve.

Garden Mint Ice Cream                                 

Yield: 1 quart

Nonfat milk powder (3%)       30 g / 1/4 cup

Sugar (15%)                            150 g / 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons

Cream (30%)                           300 g / 1 1/4 cups

Milk (48%)                              480 g / 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons

Glucose (5%)                          50 g / 3 tablespoons

Fresh mint, leaves and stems            100 g / 1 big handful

Peppermint oil                        5 g / 1 teaspoon

If you want to stabilize your ice cream, you have options!

(*chef’s choice)

15 g / 4 tbsp   cornstarch, mixed with 30 g / 2 tbsp of cold milk and whisked into the dairy once it comes to a boil; cook for 30 seconds until thick before proceeding.

50 g / 4 tbsp   cream cheese, softened and added to the pot with the dairy

1 g / 1/4 tsp    xanthan or guar gum, blended into the ice cream base when cooled

*3 g / 1/2 tsp  commercial stabilizer, mixed evenly with the sugar before adding it to the pot

  1. Place the milk powder and sugar in the bottom of a medium pot and whisk together until evenly combined. Add the cream, milk, and glucose to the pot and put the pot on a stovetop burner over medium-high heat. Cook, whisking occasionally to help dissolve the sugar and to discourage the dairy from scorching. When the dairy comes to a full, rolling boil, remove the pot from the heat, add the fresh mint, and use a spoon to dunk it under the surface of the dairy. Cover the pot and steep the mint and dairy together for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the mint from the dairy and discard. Pour the hot ice cream base into a shallow metal or glass bowl. Nest the bowl of the warm ice cream base into a larger bowl filled with a lot of ice and a little water, and stir occasionally until the dairy is cool to the touch. When the ice cream base is cool, add the peppermint oil and stir until evenly combined.
  2. Strain the ice cream base through a fine-mesh sieve to remove remaining bits of mint and any other particles that may be present. (This step can be skipped, but straining will ensure that you have the smoothest ice cream possible.)
  3. Transfer the ice cream base to the refrigerator to cure for 6 hours, or preferably overnight. (You can skip this step and immediately churn your cooled ice cream base, but the texture will be much improved if you cure your ice cream base.)
  4. When you are ready to churn your ice cream base, place it into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The ice cream is finished churning when it thickens into the texture of soft-serve ice cream or whipped cream. This typically takes 30 minutes.
  5. To freeze your ice cream in the American hard-pack style, immediately transfer your finished ice cream to a container with an airtight lid and store it in your freezer until it hardens completely. Depending on your freezer, this can take between 4 and 8 hours. If you prefer not to wait, feel free to enjoy your ice cream as soon as you wish; the texture will be similar to soft-serve.

Caramel Ribbon                                            

Yield: 1 cup

Glucose syrup             40 g / 4 tbsp

Cream                         100 g / 1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon

Salt                              2 g / 1/2 teaspoon

Vanilla bean                1/2 each, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sugar                           100 g / 1/2 cup minus 1 teaspoon

Water                          40 g / 1/4 cup

Butter                          15 g / 1 tablespoon

  1. Place the glucose syrup, cream, and salt in a medium pot. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and use the tip of your knife to scrape the seeds free of the pod, placing both the pod and the seeds into the pot of cream. (If using vanilla extract, wait to add it to the caramel until after all the hot cream has been added.)
  2. Place the pot on a stovetop burner set to medium-high heat and cook, stirring to dissolve the glucose syrup and salt, until the dairy begins to simmer. Remove the warm cream from the heat and set aside in a warm place.
  3. Place the sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir just until the sugar and water are incorporated, then brush the sides of the pot with a moist pastry brush or a rolled paper towel to wash any sugar crystals back into the solution.
  4. Continue cooking, washing any stray crystals back into the boiling syrup as necessary, until the sugar begins to color. When you notice the sugar begin to turn amber, stir once or twice to encourage even cooking. Continue cooking until the sugar caramelizes, taking on a medium amber color, similar to honey. Be warned, the color of the pot can make the caramel appear darker than it is, so to test the color, dip a small piece of white paper into the caramel.
  5. When the sugar has reached the desired honey color, immediately remove the pot from the heat and add the butter. Stir to combine. This will immediately stop the caramel from cooking any further.
  6. Begin carefully adding the warm vanilla cream, bit by bit, stirring between additions and avoiding the sputtering cream as it is introduced to the hot caramel. (If you are using vanilla extract, add it after all the cream has been added.)
  7. When all the cream has been added, strain the caramel through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding the vanilla pod. (This step can be skipped, and you can simply remove the vanilla pod with a spoon, but straining will ensure that you have the smoothest caramel possible.) Transfer to a container to cool in the refrigerator. The caramel will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks, or in the freezer for 6 months.

King Peanut Crunch                                                   

Yield: 2 cups

Peanut butter                          180 g / 3/4 cup

Milk chocolate, chopped         60 g / 1/3 cup

Coconut oil                              25 g / 2 tablespoons

Cocoa nibs                               40 g / 1/4 cup

Feuilletine                               80 g / 1 1/2 cups

Sea salt                                   5 g / 1 teaspoon

  1. Place the peanut butter, milk chocolate, and coconut oil in a metal bowl and set aside. To make a double boiler, use a pot three-quarters the width of your bowl, fill the pot with 2 inches of water, and place it over medium heat until it starts to simmer. When the water begins to simmer, reduce the heat to low and place your bowl of peanut butter and chocolate over the top. Melt the chocolate and peanut butter together over this double boiler, stirring until smooth and even.
  2. When completely melted, remove the bowl from the double boiler and set it on a dry towel. Add the cocoa nibs, feuilletine, and sea salt and stir until evenly coated.
  3. Line a flat sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper and scatter the peanut crunch mixture over it. Place the pan in your refrigerator or freezer, leaving it there until the crunch completely hardens.
  4. When the peanut crunch is firm and solid, remove the pan from the freezer, gather up the crunchy bits, and transfer them to a container with an airtight lid and place in the freezer. The peanut crunch will keep in the freezer for 1 month.

King Peanut Ice Cream                                                                      

Yield: 1 1/2 quarts

1 batch Vanilla Custard-Style Ice Cream base

1/2 batch Caramel Ribbon

1 batch King Peanut Crunch

  1. To prepare for layering this ice cream, place a 1 1/2-quart container in the freezer. Make sure the caramel ribbon is cold in the refrigerator and that the peanut crunch is in the freezer. You’ll want them to be cold when you add them to the soft ice cream, otherwise they will melt the newly formed ice crystals.
  2. Churn the vanilla ice cream base in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. When the ice cream has finished churning, take the chilled container, caramel, and crunch and place them on the counter.
  4. Drizzle a little caramel on the bottom of the container and sprinkle over a little of the crunch. Place one-third of the ice cream in the container, spread until flat, and drizzle a few spoonfuls of the caramel over the ice cream before scattering about 1/2 cup of the peanut crunch over it. Continue layering the ice cream with the caramel and the crunch until it has all been added to the container.
  5. Plunge a spoon up and down through the layers two or three times. This helps distribute the textures throughout the ice cream enough so that they aren’t separate layers. But be careful! If you stir too much, you risk destroying the delicate structure of air you’ve just whipped in. A couple two-three dunks of the spoon will do.
  6. To freeze your ice cream in the American hard-pack style, immediately transfer your finished ice cream to a container with an airtight lid and store it in your freezer until it hardens completely. Depending on your freezer, this can take between 4 and 8 hours. This step is necessary to transform all the participating textures into a solid scoop of ice cream instead of a slippery, gooey mess.