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Ice cream toppings gone wild: Try rose petals and hibiscus

Katie Quinn / TODAY.com

Ice cream sandwiches at David Burke Kitchen in New York City.

When it’s hot outside, ice cream is constantly on my mind.  I’ll eat it in any form.  At the beginning of the summer I gravitate to a scoop (or two) on a sugar cone, but as the season continues, I branch out: fro-yo, vegan, Dippin’ Dots, à la mode, the list goes on.  By late August, I feel as if I’ve exhausted my options. But, as with any good summer fling, I am hesitant to let my love affair with ice cream fizzle out.  

The search for new ways to enjoy my favorite summertime food led me to David Burke Kitchen, the farm-to-table fine dining establishment of restaurant mogul David Burke. Typically, I wouldn’t go running to an upscale eatery to get my ice cream kicks (I’d rather devour it in jeans and a T-shirt since, in my consumption of said creamy goodness, I frequently make a mess). However, I’d heard about David Burke Kitchen’s dessert selection, which Adam Platt of New York Magazine called “entertaining.” With ice cream flavors like raspberry-beet, popcorn and pink-peppercorn-spiced, I was intrigued.

Katie Quinn / TODAY.com

Chef David Burke making ice cream sandwiches at David Burke Kitchen in New York City.

These funky flavors aren’t just left to their own delicious devices; they are incorporated into ice cream sandwiches with chocolate and vanilla shortbread and partially plunged into a rich, dark chocolate sauce, then dipped into one of a selection of toppings. Being chilled, this layer of chocolate and toppings adheres to the sandwich -- a thin layer of luxury and crunch before biting into the “meat” of the sandwich.

Katie Quinn / TODAY.com

Ice cream sandwich toppings at David Burke Kitchen in New York City.

Move aside, sprinkles: These garnishes are innovative and gourmet and had me dying to try each one. They included chopped hazelnuts with fennel, crunchy pearls (mini malt balls), candied rose petals and hibiscus, meringue and dried strawberries, chopped pecans with honey, chocolate-covered coffee beans, rosemary pistachios and Cheerios dipped in milk chocolate.

These accoutrements are not for the ice cream purists among us. But they are inventive and fun, and they cured my ice cream fatigue. Though I went to satisfy my ice cream itch, it was the toppings made the experience; they enhanced my appreciation for the ice cream inside the sandwich when I finally reached that layer of creamy delight.

Katie Quinn / TODAY.com

Ice cream sandwiches at David Burke Kitchen, featuring dried strawberry and meringue toppings.

As I tried the candied rose petals with hibiscus, then munched on the chocolate-covered Cheerios, I was hit with a (seemingly obvious) realization: favorite-food fatigue can be cured by the simple solution of toppings!  Think about it: The same is true for pizza, hot dogs, oatmeal, waffles, yogurt, salad and burgers.  It’s a way to change the texture and flavor without sacrificing what you essentially love about it; the core remains unchanged.  

What's your favorite topping?  Do toppings help cure your food fatigue?

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