The Food & Wine Fiasco.

It is in situations like this where I just remind myself, this is why I have goals.

One day I will have an unlimited grocery budget and a test kitchen. One day. One day. One day. 

Fiascos are bound to happen, but this one came at a particularly inappropriate time, and after a particularly pricy Whole Foods bill.

Thanks, Food & Wine, or maybe it’s not all your fault.

My June issue arrived this past Saturday. Naturally, I give it some time to breathe on the kitchen counter, and Sunday morning, as I dove into my mock Mother’s Day Brunch (whole grain waffle with organic peanut butter and strawberries) I started turning the pages. 

I must admit I really was not searching for something to make to bring along with me to Mother’s Day dinner that evening. I wanted to bring a dessert, but if I wasn’t inspired by something, I wasn’t going to stress. I ordered a gorgeous Strawberries and Cream cake from Whole Foods: best back up plan ever, so if all else fails, fresh strawberries and perfectly sweetened cream by the plateful would still be a home run.

But on page 80, there was a beautiful picture and a recipe that I knew my family would love. 

Food & Wine Magazine’s: Ice Cream Bon Bons 

… I had 3 hours to put something together, so cakes were out, cookies are more an “any occasion” rather than “special occasion” item, but ice cream bon bons …. and some that weren’t from the famed family favorite, Trader Joes? A winner… Or so I thought.

Over 15 dollars of chocolate, 10 dollars of ice cream, 5 dollars of cookies, and breaking open an extra special bag of gorgeous sea salt from Cyprus later …. I was left with nothing.

The recipe, as noted, came from Penny Ice Creamery in Santa Cruz. Call me cynical but I think Food & Wine readers have fallen victim to a recipe that does not follow the “whole truth and nothing but the truth so help the food Gods” vow. Yes world, many many recipes we read are missing either a secret ingredient or a secret step…. and THAT is learned the hard way.


I followed the directions exactly. Okay, so I created my own combination of dark and white chocolate but even so, portions, timing, steps, all as noted in the directions and ingredient list. 

For ice cream I used one of the most delicious options in the Whole Food’s frozen section, Talenti Gelato. I was hoping to do half of the Bon Bons with this indulgent option, and the other half with Skinny Cow ice cream, to give a guiltless go to. I kept the ice cream frozen until the absolute last second, and used a glass of ice water in between ice cream scoops. 

Still I was left with melty, misshapen MESSES. 

After a lot of Google searches, cookbook quests, and calls to the experts in my life … I figured out the missing step. An extra FREEZE.

In order to prevent the melting, and the poorly shaped balls… use your ice cream scoop to form the perfect sized Bon Bons and freeze each one twice.

Once: As soon as they are scooped, before their dive into the chocolate

Again: After you cover them in chocolate, dip them in the cookie crumbles, and salt them with sea salt. 

Problem solved.

So, before you embark on this recipe, because it truly is delicious and enticing, take my advice and alter the directions. Penny Ice Creamery may or may not have kept their secret step to themselves, maybe I just simply don’t have Bon Bon skills like they do, but I am pretty sure the double freeze is the best way to ensure picture perfect Ice Cream bites.


3 thoughts on “The Food & Wine Fiasco.

  1. Hi Aly,

    Zach Davis from The Penny Ice Creamery here. Thanks for trying the recipe in Food & Wine attributed to us.

    One of the things I love about food is it’s ephemeral nature. Both the ingredients and the end results are subject to a myriad of influences, from heat and humidity, to placement and time. Try as we might, no two finished plates are ever exactly the same.

    Another aspect of food I love is the way recipes are like narrative stories. They are told and retold, and with each telling there is the possibility for evolution. Sometimes the narrator chooses to hold something back. Sometimes a healthy dose of embellishment is added. Always there is the chance that things might not wrap up quite the way the original author intended.

    We told a recipe to one person at Food & Wine, and they told it to you. Perhaps there were other tellings in between; I’m not sure we’ll ever know. The thing about a good storyteller, and a good cook, is that they know when something valuable is missing. Seems like you could be both. We endorse the double freeze. We also use rubber flexi-molds for shaping 🙂

    Best to you on your culinary adventures, and if you’re ever in Santa Cruz be sure to stop in and say hello!

    Yours in ice cream,


    • Zach –

      What an amazing treat to have you respond so eloquently to my post. I appreciate your kind words and feel as if you put all my thoughts down on paper in just your 3 simple paragraphs. Recipes ARE stories, and that is why I am so passionate about sharing stories that people can feel proud to pass on and on. I posted my fiasco for that reason…. I didn’t feel as if F&W published something that was shareable as it was…

      I didn’t want anyone to have to have the same frustrating experience as I did, and I am SO happy to hear that you approve of the double freezing. I am going to repost my post with your comment, and my hope is that Penny Ice Creamery’s Bon Bons can become family favorites just as I anticipate (properly made ones) will become family favorites in my household.

      Looking for a place to adventure to this summer – if I come your way, I would be incredibly excited to stop by and meet you.

      Once again, it is so wonderful to hear from you, and thank you for the tip 🙂

      All my Best,


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