In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as national ice cream month, recognizing ice cream as a fun and nutritious food enjoyed by 90 percent of Americans. He urged the people of the United States to celebrate with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.” Every year in honor of the month, Blue Bell Creameries, the third best-selling ice cream in the U.S, introduces a new flavor.
This year’s flavor is Rockslide Brownie – a dark chocolate ice cream with pieces of chocolate brownies, miniature marshmallows, chopped almonds, pecans and walnuts, all surrounded by a rich caramel swirl.
Rockslide Brownie is a combination of several ingredients that have interesting histories. The story of chocolate, of course, begins at least 2,000 years ago with the Aztecs and Mayans, who imbibed chocolate as an unsweetened beverage. It was the Spanish who first added sugar to the drink, but chocolate candy was not developed until the Industrial Revolution.
Caramel, sometimes described simply as “burnt sugar” is actually sugar that has been slowly heated until it turns a light golden to amber color. The combination of chocolate and caramel is not new, although it is especially popular these days with the addition of salt.
The marshmallows in Rockslide Brownie also have an intriguing history. The “marshmallow” plant literally grows in marshes. As far back as the time of the ancient Egyptians, juice extracted from the plant’s roots was thought to soothe a sore throat. In the 1800s, doctors would cook marshmallow juice with egg whites and sugar and whip it into a meringue that, when hardened, would create a candy that a child could suck to ease a sore throat.
In the early 1800s, owners of a small sweet shop in France made the whipped marshmallow sap simply as candy. French manufacturers began to substitute egg whites or gelatin for the marshmallow juice. In 1948, an American named Alex Doumak invented the modern marshmallow by developing an extrusion process: the marshmallow mixture is pushed through tubes and extruded as a soft cylinder which is cut into sections. The sections are then rolled in powdered cornstarch and confectionier’s sugar for the marshmallow we know and love today.
All of these great-tasting ingredients are combined with a variety of nuts to create Rockslide Brownie. Celebrate national ice cream month with a bowl of this irresistible flavor from Blue Bell.