Monday, September 03, 2012

My Butter Pecan Ice Cream Experiment

If you've been following me on Twitter this summer, you'd have seen my tweets about my new-found love for butter pecan flavored ice cream. Now, this might be neither here nor there but this passion for butter pecan changes my personality assessment as found on websites dedicated to ice cream personality tests (Try one at Ice Cream Flavorology). Whereas the vanilla person is supposed to be a risk-taking perfectionist (and not boring, as the common belief about vanilla people purports them to be), the butter pecan lover is a devoted worker and leader type (Here's another personality reading at I'm not sure how different these types really are, since butter pecan is essentially vanilla ice cream with extra butter fat and nuts added, but I suppose those things say a lot more about people than, say, that they like how those things taste. Reason, my friends, can be fun to delve into, or drive a person into the madness of minutia.

I hope everyone in the US has enjoyed their Labor Day weekend. As the official beginning of fall looms ahead, I'd like to dedicate one post to my favorite flavor of Summer 2012, the mighty Butter Pecan, and compare some of the brands I tried over the summer. If there are good brands I missed, come gimme a shout on the Twitter or that Facebook page o' mine. Flavor, like fragrance, is one of my favorite topics, something I'd like to get into more often and in depth; I'd love to hear from you.

Häagen-Dazs Butter Pecan: Häagen-Dazs is a brand that makes real ice cream as opposed to frozen dessert, and it's very popular in New York. I think their best flavor (of the ones I've tried) is Coffee, but I have yet to try their Salted Caramel Truffle. I could do with just Salted Caramel, minus truffle, but of course Chocolate lovers will balk at the blasphemous idea. Chocoholics always pick chocolate over anything else, and are entitled to do so. Anyway, their butter pecan is rich and creamy but also among the less sweet ones, so if you like elegant, natural tastes, you'd probably choose this butter pecan.

Breyers Butter Pecan: I grew up eating Breyers All-Natural Strawberry, so this is among my favorite ice cream brands. This is the butter pecan that got me hooked on the flavor, actually. The one I tried might have been a frozen dessert, but it was delicious, and I'm sure I'll keep buying more. The butter pecan offering by Breyers is pleasantly sweet, with a caramel toffee or butterscotch flavor weaving through, with a bit of a salty kick. The butter flavor might be a bit rich for some people, but I really enjoyed it. If you love Werthers candies, or hey, salted caramels, this butter pecan might be your pick.

Edy's Butter Pecan: If you're a fan of maple syrup and brown sugar, this is your butter pecan. There are several breakfast cereals out there on the market with a similar flavor, like Brown Sugar and Maple Mini-Wheats, so if you're a fan of these types of cereal, you'll like this butter pecan. As for me, I prefer my butter pecan less maple-y and brown sugary, as I find those flavors a bit overpowering. I'm a vanillaholic, so if you think vanilla's boring, go against my taste preference and get this.

Turkey Hill Butter Pecan: I enjoy this butter pecan as much as I do Breyers, although it's less buttery-tasting. It's not as sweet as Breyers and Edy's but it has more sweetness than Häagen-Dazs; it has a nice balance of flavors, and it tastes like classic butter pecan as I remember it from my childhood. This brand makes both real ice cream and frozen desserts, but if I recall correctly, I've tried them both and I thought they tasted great.

America's Choice Butter Pecan: I like this butter pecan, too. It tastes classic and well-balanced as far as sweetness and saltiness levels are concerned. It's got that All-American flavor, like butter pecan should. I think it's similar to Turkey Hill butter pecan, so one of these days, I need to do a taste test between these two side-by-side to see how the brands differ. I believe their price point's about the same. Maybe they are the same...

Baskin-Robbins Butter Pecan: This is probably one of the first butter pecan flavors I ever tasted, so it was a pleasure eating my nostalgic feelings while mentally skipping down memory lane. Alas, my longterm memory is skewed; I find this butter pecan a bit spicy, like almond extract or pistachio (kinda like their green pistachio flavor but not as strong). I'd say if you're a fan of cinnamon, cherry or almond flavor, perhaps any nutty flavor besides pecan, you'd prefer this. The best part? The pecans themselves. I'd buy a single scoop on a sugar cone if any Baskin-Robbins still offered it. My longtime favorite of theirs is Mint Chocolate Chip.

Next time, I'd like to give you my analysis of Ben and Jerry's Butter Pecan, once famous in the headlines for temporarily being renamed "Yes, Pecan!" in honor of Barack Obama ("Yes, We Can!"), but I have yet to find this flavor anywhere.