Yep, We Seriously Want You to Add Bacon to Your Vanilla Ice Cream

Plus 17 more inventive toppings you have to try.

Making ice cream from scratch is hard, so I often opt instead to garnish vanilla Häagen-Dazs with something fun, like candied bacon — easy to make by brushing on maple syrup and brown sugar as it bakes. Delicious! Or, I let the ice cream soften a bit, mix in something like broken-up Butterfingers or cookies — or anything yum — and refreeze. Vanilla doesn't have to be vanilla.

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Caramelized Bacon

  • 2/3 cup grade A or B maple syrup (not the fake stuff) 
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 pounds beef or turkey bacon

Preheat the oven to 325oF. In a small heavy saucepan mix together the syrup, mustard, and sugar and heat slowly on low heat, stirring often. Cook until syrup thickens, about 10 minutes. Set aside. Fry bacon in a large pan on medium-high heat using a “bacon weight” to keep the bacon really flat as it cooks. When the bacon is cooked to your liking, drain the bacon on a paper towel. Lay the flattened bacon on a jelly roll pan and brush the glaze on both sides. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. 

Not into bacon? Try more of my favorite vanilla ice cream toppings:

  1. Candied bacon (shown)
  2. St-Germain liqueur, plus berries and chopped basil
  3. Dehydrated or fresh fruit
  4. Caramel popcorn
  5. Olive oil and lemon zest
  6. Cotton candy and edible gold flakes (buy on Amazon)
  7. Candied ginger or orange, grapefruit, or lemon peel
  8. Toasted coconut flakes
  9. Brown rice cereal, dipped in melted chocolate and cooled
  10. Whipped cream mixed with malted milk
  11. Hot fudge with crumbled candy canes (any time of year!)
  12. Crushed malt balls and toffee—dangerously good
  13. Chocolate-covered espresso beans
  14. Any flavor of Compartés chocolate bars, broken up
  15. Salty pretzel pieces
  16. Lillet rosé dessert wine
  17. Crumbled shortbread
  18. Crushed Oreos. I love them.

This story originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of House Beautiful.

Veggies Are the Secret Ingredient Your Cocktail Is Missing

This recipe looks healthy, but tastes divine.

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I love serving a specialty sneeky, even when a neighbor is just stopping by. It makes it seem like you went the extra mile! This arugula cocktail is green, so it looks healthy, but it's soooo delicious.

Arugula Sneeky

Serves 2

  • 4 ounces gin, vodka or tequila
  • 1 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ounces fresh cucumber juice
  • 1 ounces herb simple syrup, plus more to taste (recipe below)
  • ¼ cup fresh arugula leaves

Fill a shaker halfway with ice. Add all ingredients and shake-shake-shake, then strain into two glasses over ice. Garnish with slices of cucumber and rosemary sprigs.

Herb Simple Syrup

  • ½ cup each of fresh rosemary, mint and basil leaves
  • ¾ cup agave syrup
  • ¾ cup boiling water

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stir, cover and let stand for an hour. Strain syrup into a glass container and store in the refrigerator. It's also great drizzled on top of fruit, or for sweetening iced tea or lemonade.

This story originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of House Beautiful.