Can you hear it? It’s that unmistakable sound of summer: the laughter of children with cherry ice-stained fingers and adults trying to keep pace with their melting triple-scoop cones.
Be it dish or cup, cone or stick, frozen treats are a seasonal staple that never gets old—and that members are never too old to enjoy.
As pastry chefs head into the cooler to pick out this year’s selection, they reveal which flavors are still tops, what new creations they’ll introduce this summer, and what they crave when they visit the ice cream truck.
Pastry Chef Lindsay Webb has Girl Scout cookies on the brain, much to the delight of members at Springfield (Va.) Golf & Country Club. In 2011, she concocted a caramel-toasted almond chocolate flake ice cream—or “Faux’Moa” as she calls it—inspired by the classic Samoa cookie.
Before heading up SGCC’s pastry department five years ago, Webb honed her cake-decorating skills as an assistant pastry chef at Chevy Chase (Md.) Country Club from 2006-2015, followed by a stint at a family-owned bakery where she specialized in 3D and fondant-based cakes. Today, her innovations are a perk for players fresh off the green in search of a sugar rush.
“This season, we are featuring a loaded doughnut named after golf vocabulary (fried egg, double bougie, ball marker, etc.) that rotate biweekly,” she notes. An ice cream sandwich doughnut incorporates her Faux’Moa ice cream and threatens to out-stage perennial favorites: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and orange sherbet. Webb also makes gourmet flavors like blackberry fennel, lemon cardamom and French toast for wine dinners and other special events.
In SGCC’s dining room, ice cream soda floats, milkshakes and sundaes atop house-made fudge brownies are staples, with the latter two accounting for $8K+ in annual revenue last year. (The pool canteen pulls in another $6K+ with its eight-item selection of novelty bars.) Rising dairy costs have not deterred the club’s ice cream production. Webb also relies on an onsite beehive and garden to source honey and lavender for syrups and sugars for her seasonal, fine-dining dessert menu.
When indulging in her frozen dessert fantasy, Webb recalls her childhood Mister Softee experience. “When I saw one of their ice cream trucks here in Springfield, I immediately remembered my order, which still pleases me to this day,” she says: “chocolate soft serve on a waffle cone with chocolate sprinkles.”
A Taste of the Tropics
At Norfolk (Va.) Yacht & Country Club, summer arrives in a chilled bowl of fresh flavors straight from the Philippines. It’s where Pastry Chef Jennifer Umstot dishes out her version of the frozen dessert ‘halo-halo,’ made with crushed ice, evaporated milk and ube ice cream, whose signature hue comes from purple yams. “This dessert will transport you to a summer island getaway,” she says of her recipe, which has become an eye-catching addition to the seasonal menu.
Umstot has been sharing her culinary talents with Norfolk Yacht & CC’s members for three years after designing desserts for local bakeries and restaurants. She relishes the luxury of logistics that were not possible in her former locales: a more flexible food cost and profit margin.
While Umstot outsources ice cream production due to the high volume and time constraints, she puts her own spin on presentation and creative pairings. The club typically carries between six and eight ice cream flavors, along with three to five gelato flavors at any given time. Current selections include strawberry, ube and brown butter pecan, along with vanilla, chocolate and coffee. Umstot relies on her main supplier for a French roast coffee with brownie cookie that she uses as part of a trio that includes strawberry shortcake and cookies and cream.
Last summer, Umstot created ice cream sandwiches with chocolate crinkle cookies and chocolate peppermint gelato. Another fan favorite, coffee ice cream cake, was inspired by a club member who attended a cupcake-decorating class. “I always ask what [members] would like to see on the dessert menu,” she says. “Sometimes, I name the desserts after them. They love it!”
Milkshakes are also on the roster, with fun flavors throughout the year. Past selections have included eggnog, Biscoff cookie, and mint chocolate. But when it comes to what Umstot would choose from an ice cream truck, she prefers a classic. “I do love a good strawberry shortcake,” she says.
An Ice Cream Station That Pops
Ice cream connoisseurs at The Polo Club of Boca Raton (Fla.) will relish the latest frozen indulgence created by Executive Pastry Chef Devin Cowan. He has assembled an interactive ice cream pop setup for an upcoming menu where members can elevate vanilla, chocolate or strawberry pops with various chocolate couverture dips. Assorted toppings can be heaped on, but quickly—before the chocolate hardens.
“I try my best to keep both our members engaged and my team learning new things,” says Cowan. Just two years into his role at The Polo Club, he is making his mark at his first private club experience after spending years at high-end resorts and pastry boutiques.
When not staging a showstopping frozen dessert performance, Cowan immerses himself in the world of ice cream with an all-in style. “Although many of my recognitions and awards are in chocolate and patisserie, my heart always gravitates to ice cream,” he says. “Members often ask if I eat all the creations I make; I taste all of them for consistency, but ice cream, I actually eat.”
Top flavors made in-house run the gamut, from Indonesian bourbon vanilla—each batch contains 16 whole vanilla beans—to mint Oreo and apple cobbler. Cowan prides himself on paying close attention to texture and flavors while avoiding compounds and artificial flavorings.
Florida promises a hot and busy summer, and Cowan plans accordingly, keeping a close eye on dairy costs, and seeking out opportunities to work with local farms and creameries. But if May’s ice cream production of 86 gallons is any indication, members can expect an equally active season. Of course, Cowan will still make time for sampling the goods in and out of the kitchen.
“Because I love touches of nostalgia,” he says, “if the local ice cream truck stopped at my pastry shop, I’d have to take a bite out of a Pink Panther pop.” After all, it’s just part of the job.