The vision for our December menu is to harness the magic of the holidays with satiating, nostalgic, straight-forward flavors. We asked ourselves which treats were most emblematic of the holidays and settled on candy canes, pecan pie, gingerbread cookies, and eggnog. These are four flavors in our lineup that have stood the test of time, albeit with continuous improvements and innovations from our R&D team.
The only original recipe from 2011 that's still on the menu. For Peppermint Cocoa, we start with the ubiquitous candy-striped peppermint stick, a 17th-century warming candy steeped in symbolism and made by the billions around this time of year. We get the most exquisite pure peppermint oil (not extract) pressed by our friends at Seely Mint in Columbia County, Oregon. Then we generously dust our rich peppermint cocoa with candy flakes. A perfect mix of melty and crunchy.
Our Apple Brandy & Pecan Pie is another oldie but goodie—one we revisit every year. Our test kitchen played around with the filling until we achieved that preposterously gooey, dense pecan pie you’ve seen thudded ceremoniously onto holiday tables everywhere. The trick is to get it luscious and sticky but manageable enough for our spinners to work with when building buckets of ice cream—and then to keep it that way once frozen. We’re incredibly fond of the current iteration, where the crustless filling is slow-cooked and kept at a pourable consistency. Bringing the eggs and sugars exactly to 220 degrees keeps it thick and supple, while a cornstarch slurry prevents it from bleeding into the ice cream.
Everyone loves decorating a gingerbread man, or woman, come December. Fan-favorite Gingerbread Cookie Dough came straight from Grandma Malek’s molasses cookie recipe—and we don’t mess with Grandma, full-stop. The rendition with her cookie pieces, cookie butter, and a rummy “royal icing” ice cream has been a fixture of our menu since 2016.
Slightly preceding 2016, in Medieval times, spices were special-occasion ingredients and dairy was enjoyed mostly in colder months when its viability was less precarious. Hence the birth of posset—the precursor to nog—a hot drink of sweetened and spiced milk curdled with ale and served in wooden mugs called noggins (noggins → nog). Each year we love to test out nog versions: Fennel Five-Spiced, Caramelized Grapefruit, Spiked Lingonberry, Cinnamon…. The last couple years we’ve experimented with vegan nogs, imparting the anticipated creaminess and sumptuousness using coconut cream and almond butter. This year we’re thrilled to bring the spice via our friend Sam Khaute at Portland Mercado’s Diaspora. Part coffee/chai company and part social enterprise, their mission is to empower immigrants starting a new life in Portland with job and language training. We’re spiking the current nog with their incredibly potent, perfumey chai tea.
Happy Holidays to one and all!