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Novelty Ice Cream Week: How to Beat Mister Softee at His Own Soft-Serve Game
New Yorkers can debate all they want about who makes the city's best ice cream, but we all know the answer is really Mister Softee.
Mister Softee (and his knockoff siblings Master Softee and Captain Softee) does not truck in dalliances like chorizo-uni ice cream served in kale-chip cones. Mister Softee doesn't trade in trends of any kind. He's above fashion. And before you even think about how much you want an ice cream cone, he's right there on the corner waiting for your craving to catch up with you.
Lest you go off on a rant about how Mister Softee's how-is-this-not-melting soft serve isn't "real" ice cream, consider this article about the company in the New York Times:
It passes the legal definition of ice cream, which cannot be said of soft serve from Dairy Queen and McDonald's, which sell "ice milk." Mister Softee ingredients include milk, cream, cane sugar, corn syrup, nonfat milk, whey, mono- and diglycerides, cellulose gum, as well as natural and artificial flavorings.
That's right—Mister Softee is totally real ice cream, and its ingredients are pretty straightforward: milk, cream, sugar, and some stabilizers that are quite common in the ice cream industry.
And here's the thing—with a little fiddling, you can make your very own Mister Softee ice cream at home. The key is a not-too-fatty milk-and-cream base fortified with cornstarch and a little gelatin, for an ice cream that'll hold its form when soft and on the verge of melting, just like the real Mister Softee. And with this home recipe you can freeze and thaw your soft serve again and again with no loss in quality.
But that recipe is old news. Today we're talking about the second essential part of the Mister Softee formula—the chocolate dip. And we have that covered, too.
So now it's time to put them together.
To start, churn up a fresh batch of your Mister Softee ice cream. The base will wobble and shimmy a little like jello.
Churn the ice cream until it's light, fluffy, and a spoon spread across it leaves a stable swoop. Then transfer it to a container and let it chill for an hour in the freezer.
Only a wafer cone will do for a proper Mister Softee scoop. (For bonus points, line the bottom of the cone with chocolate dip a la the King Cone.)
As for the Mister Softee swirl, that's hard to get without some pretty specialized equipment. Instead I prefer to mound the ice cream on top of the cone with a wide spoon, slowly sculpting it into a swirl-like tower.
As soon as your scoop is done, dip it into your waiting chocolate dip in one fast motion.
Rotate it above the dip so excess can drip away.
And let the dip harden completely before biting in. It'll go from glossy to fudgy-looking to completely matte.
Then take a big bite.
Watch out, Mister Softee. We're coming for you.