Friday, June 12, 2009

Cold Stone Creamery Jell-O Chocolate Pudding Ice Cream

If there are two things I love in life, they are Cold Stone Creamery ice cream and Jell-O pudding.

Well, it's as if the fine people at Cold Stone read my mind and made my own little food fantasies come true! Cold Stone and Jell-O pudding in one cup?! That phrase is almost as dear to my flinty little heart as "New Barry Manilow Album!"

Cold Stone offers two Jell-O pudding flavors: Butterscotch and Chocolate. Maybe it was just lazy of me, but I went with the chocolate (although I did have a taste spoon of the Butterscotch, and I will get a real portion and review it soon).

I decided to get the signature creation that was made for this flavor: it's called "Chocolate-y Goodness," and it is made with peanut butter, caramel and fudge.

The problem with most fantasies is that if they do come true, they tend to let you down...kinda the way most new Manilow albums turn out to be covers rather than new material. (Barry, I swear, if your next album is "Songs of the 90s," I will do something horrible enough to make the tabloids.) And sadly, this isn't an exception.

Just for a moment, let's forget the mix-ins and focus only on the ice cream itself. I loved the flavor. It does taste exactly like frozen chocolate Jell-O pudding. There is a very strong dairy flavor, and it's sweet. It's everything you would want a Jell-O ice cream to be. Good so far, right?


But, Gigi -- I hear you say -- if it tastes so good, then what is the problem?

The problem, my friends, is the texture. Of all the things I will go to my grave believing, high on the list will be the firm conviction that ice cream should NOT be chewy. And by chewy, I mean should not have the texture and consistency of an especially sticky booger. Laying in wait, hidden in the chocolaty depths, is something evil and unholy that causes the ice cream to have this bizarre, almost gelatinous texture. No real pudding, not even Jell-O brand, contains gelatin. So, unless Cold Stone altered the recipe and added gelatin, I can't begin to explain what could possibly account for the chewy, lumpy, snotty texture.

The Cold Stoner who made my pint for me told me he'd heard that if you let the ice cream warm to room temperature, it will become more like actual Jell-O pudding. Being the little amateur Alton Brown that I am, I could not resist performing that experiment in the name of pure science...and I can tell you he was right! If you do allow the ice cream to come to room temp, it does in fact seem more like pudding, and the texture evens out a bit. Of course, by that point, why would you go through the trouble when you could buy or make pudding a lot easier and cheaper than seeking out and buying the Cold Stone version? Kinda defeats the purpose.

I do want to say that the mix-ins in the Chocolate-Y Goodness were in fact pretty good with this flavor. Admittedly, I may be biased because I have recently fallen in love with "fresh" peanut butter in ice cream. But all three toppings, simple as they were, tasted pretty darn good. It's just not good enough to make up for that hideous garden slug texture.

This is another of those items that was initially hard to rate, because the flavor was just so good, despite the shortcomings otherwise. But in the end, it's impossible to ignore that nauseating mucus-like consistency, and that is what ultimately killed any chance for a decent rating.

Edited to add that Marvo reviewed both flavors and seemed to like them much more then I did- and he took the Alton Brown angle to a much cooler extreme!

Cold Stone Creamery

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