Thursday, February 26, 2009

Toasted Coconut Sesame Brittle Ice Cream

As a male, I've never understood the whole "curled up on the couch with a pint of Häagen-Dazs" method to cheering oneself up. If you haven't noticed by reading through these expositions on gustatory experimentation, I haven't much of a sweet tooth, in fact I can be quite sensitive to sugar, and I am prone to freak outs about nutrition. Ergo, ice cream and other desserts are not at all comfort food for me, quite the opposite. This means I can walk down the ice cream aisle with nary a fear of temptation... well, except when it comes to the coffee varieties but I've been burned too many times to fall for that again.

cocunut sesame ice cream

But a few weeks ago I was grocery shopping and found myself in a mighty struggle against the gods of girth. Breezing past the frozen sweets my eyes briefly scanned the word sesame, forcing a double take and a halt for further investigation. Toasted coconut and sesame brittle ice cream? Upon first seeing this tub of [very expensive] frozen dairy dessert amongst a small collection of other [very expensive] exotic varieties in the Häagen-Dazs Reserve Series, I was immediately enthralled. Sesame seeds have long been an ingredient in deserts throughout Asian and Middle Eastern cultures but as far as us Western folk are concerned, they're what gets sprinkled on top of hamburger buns or, if you're looking to be adventurous, fried chicken at Chinese restaurants. That's it, end of story.

cocunut sesame ice cream

Being slightly unfamiliar with the ways of the sesame, I was very eager to try this odd indulgence but slightly afraid of the horrors detailed in the nutritional information. Sugars and fats galore with 300 whopping calories per serving but in the end my curiosity won out over my health concerns and I purchased the tub of [very expensive] ice cream.

Häagen-Dazs says that their inspiration for the Toasted Coconut Sesame Brittle flavor is drawn from "the lush islands of Thailand, where coconut trees line white beaches and the local markets are filled with exotic Asian spices like ginger and sesame." However, due to the hot climate and lack of beach-side refrigeration, the Thai people were prevented from coming up with the brilliant idea of mixing this all together in a tub of ice cream.

Looking at commodity prices, sesame seeds are far less expensive than I had imagined. I mean, you never really see them for sale in Western supermarkets except in the aforementioned form of a hamburger bum adornment so I figured they were a luxury of sorts. At approximately $2.50 per pound for the consumer, it's cheaper than many other seeds and grains. But what I did have prior knowledge of was their great nutritional profile, particularly when unhulled. While incredibly high in fat, the fats are primarily of the monounsaturated variety which has been shown to lower LDL [bad] cholesterol levels. Sesame seeds are also high in copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, and iron and have significant amounts of zinc, vitamin B1, and vitamin E.

Not only are they super nutritious, sesame seeds are also super delicious. There's a lot of flavor packed into these tiny little seeds. However, I have no idea what one would compare said flavor to.

cocunut sesame ice cream

But anyway, onto the ice cream itself; this stuff is simply too good. The sesame brittle is reminiscent of the tiny, meatless artifacts found within a helping of fresh, good quality sesame chicken but with a hint of ginger to spice it up. The toasted coconut pieces themselves would have made a great singular ingredient in this creamy confection but the sesame brittle gives a welcome kick of exoticism, transforming a dessert into a delicacy.

As with any food of this kind, a few bites are enough to satisfy me, too much sweetness can put me off for a while, but I found myself visiting the tub more frequently than usual throughout the week so that by the time I got around to taking pictures it was almost all gone. Had I waited any longer, would have been forced to purchase another tub and that would have put me in a very, very bad situation. I don't want to buy new pants. Like a woman in the midst of a personal tragedy, I think I'll have to avoid the ice cream aisle from now on... I don't know if my will is strong enough to resist further temptation.

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