Friday, August 7, 2015

Did I Invent the Frappuccino?

In 1986, I was without a music gig (long story) and I went to work as a barista and waiter at a really nice dessert place in Seattle called Pacific Desserts, right next to Seattle Center.  Among their many truly-wonderful treats, they made a rich chocolate ice cream with Guittard chocolate, and they served Starbucks coffee.  Starbucks back then wasn't what it is now.  They mainly sold only to restaurants in the Seattle area, and the only two Starbucks stores in the whole world were in Pike Place Market and the University District.  They were obsessed with quality, the coffee was outstanding, and if you used Starbucks coffee in your restaurant, you could expect secret Starbucks agents to come once in awhile and order an espresso drink.  They were always very friendly, but they would get a coffee, critique your work (complements, too), and they had really good advice!

I had a great manager who cared that we made top-of-the-line espresso drinks, and he encouraged experimentation.  My masterpiece was the "Buzz Bomb."

I mixed a doppio ristretto shot of espresso (so a double, but I only use the first 1.2 ounces or so of the espresso) and 1.5 oz. of half-and-half together and chilled them in the freezer for 20 minutes.  We had an milkshake maker and I took a hulking scoop of the Guittard chocolate ice cream, put it in a frozen stainless steel shake cup, poured the chilled espresso mix over it and zipped it into a tiny milkshake.  They were SO GOOD, and you could sorta feel the air rushing around your eyeballs after you enjoyed one.

Anyway, one day the Starbucks guy came in, and I said that he had to try a Buzz Bomb.  He was skeptical but once he had a sip, his eyebrows raised and he looked me right in the eye, nodding, "This is very good, very good..."  True story.

I imagine any strong chocolate ice cream could work for this, but I use Tillamook Mudslide which is a very rich chocolate with pieces of dark chocolate (semi-sweet, I think).  The pieces get pulverized and the flavor is very close to the Pacific Desserts chocolate ice cream.  Because we don't have a commercial shake maker we put a stainless steel pitcher in the freezer and do the job with an immersion blender.  Put your glasses in the freezer, and be sure you chill the espresso/half-and-half mixture for 20 minutes.  If you use a regular blender, be sure to put the glass/blade part in the freezer first.  Making two at once seems to work better than one at a time, and then I use three little scoops of ice cream.   

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