Now that it’s summer, you’ve probably been chowing down on a lot of ice cream. But maybe you’ve had your fair share of chocolate or vanilla. Or even if you’ve experimented with more complex flavors (blueberry cheesecake ice cream, anyone?), maybe you want something a little less…sweet. Savory desserts are always a tricky, seemingly oxymoronic proposition, but now you can have it both ways. Whether you like salt, spice, or anything in between, here are some unexpected ways to elevate your ice cream game. Add an extra kick to your next sundae with these unconventional toppings.
Let’s start with a basic topping, one that you probably have sitting in your kitchen cabinets already—pretzels. They’re a great way to add a salty crunch to any sundae. Pretzels work particularly well with salted caramel, chocolate, and/or peanut butter ice cream as they give the sweetness an extra dimension.
Fresh herbs are a summer staple. But beyond the standard salads and sandwiches they’re typically used in, they can also be used with dessert. Basil is especially versatile and pairs best with lemon ice cream, giving it a fragrant, peppery punch that complements citrus particularly well.
Booze up your ice cream with bourbon. The liquor lends a biting edge that’s perfect for a more adult take on malts, milkshakes, and floats. Get this vanilla bourbon milkshake recipe and see for yourself. Or just pour a shot over a sundae and call it a day.
If you can’t get enough of spicy flavors, try adding hot pepper on top of your ice cream. We’re partial to habanero paired with vanilla and pineapple sauce. But if you want something with a little more zing, use chili powder, which is best paired with chocolate.
This one might sound completely strange and unnecessary, but some people swear by it. By coating ice cream with a couple teaspoons of olive oil, preferably that of the extra virgin variety, you get a slick, rich texture. Add a pinch of sea salt and you will never think of vanilla as boring or plain ever again.
Related Video: Ice Cream Topping Insanity
Header image courtesy of the Barbecue Bible.