One of the best things about planning a wedding is taking off random days in the middle of the week for super important “vendor meetings.”
…Which, in reality, pretty much means half an hour of actual meeting time, followed by an entire day’s worth of ice cream hopping and other incidences of tomfoolery.
On Wednesday, my soon-to-be husband and I were able to do just that – and I can’t begin to tell you how nice it was to actually be outside in the middle of the day, away from the gray walls of our cubicles! I felt just like a kid skipping school.
Future hubs and I are getting married in a barn located in the lovely little town of Louisville, OH, which is super duper close to Canton – an awesome city that we don’t get to visit all that often. Canton is home to all sorts of amazing things; a booming local arts scene, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, emerging foodie culture, and of course, this guy:
This, my friends, is The Bittner.
A Canton staple, The Bittner comes to us from Taggarts, a wonderful old-fashioned ice cream parlor and food joint that makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time the moment you walk through the door.
For lunch we went to Taggarts and ate giant, cheese-covered hot dogs, crispy fries and onion rings that tasted like they were fried in heaven with the grease from an angel’s wings, and then for dessert, the sweet and salty Bittner.
What is a Bittner, you may ask? Well let me tell you – what isn’t a Bittner is the more appropriate question.
The Bittner is deceitfully simple: vanilla ice cream, swirled with chocolate sauce, topped with the saltiest of salty pecans. Thicker than a milkshake, but softer than a scoop of ice cream, the Bittner is an infamous Canton treat. Invented in the 1930’s and named after a delivery boy, this is what a real Bittner looks like:
I’ve been wanting to try this celebrated ice cream treat for years, and finally got the chance to understand the hype. This thing is incredible. As you’re eating, the pecans disperse throughout the ice cream, and you get mouthful after mouthful of sweet and savory. It was a dream come true!
After a middle of the day nap to recover from our full-body food exhaustion, we headed to Willoughby, Ohio to meet up with our wedding caterer, Pranzo Forno, to take a peak at their new store-front venture, Pizzaly. I hate to even use the term “catering” with these folks, because I feel like the word alone conjures up visuals of the worst wedding food you’ve ever had (you know what I’m talking about). Pranzo, however, is not your typical catering company; these folks hand-craft wood fired pizza that is out of this world! A random sample:
(Please ignore on-the-fly, low quality iPhone quality pic).
When the business portion of the evening was over, we ordered a pizza to take home (of course). While we were waiting, we moseyed over to a lovely little ice cream shop next door for a palette-cleansing appetizer before dinner.
Foster’s, as it is so humbly named, is another old school northeastern Ohio ice cream parlor that makes me happy to be alive. Bright and happy décor, simple delicious flavors, and service with a smile – the recipe for a perfect ice cream date.
We got Superman:
(Really, when was the last time you had that??)
And chocolate peanut butter:
(Look at those chunks of PB goodness!)
Sure, all of those trendy one-scoop artisan ice cream shops are great, but nothing beats enjoying an old fashioned cake cone in a gravel parking lot while the sun sets on the horizon. It was pure perfection!
Needless to say, we had a beautiful Ohio day full of fabulous Ohio food. (Thursday morning back at work was a different story, but I’ll keep that negativity to myself 🙂 )
In honor of our adult version of Senior Skip Day, I attempted to recreate The Bittner at home. But I’d like to disclaim today’s post by saying that the original Bittner is undoubtedly the best, and my homemade attempt does not do it justice. But if you’re far from Canton, this will at least give you a sneak preview until you can someday taste the real thing.
Happy scooping 🙂
Copycat Bittner Recipe
Yield: 1 Sundae Glass Full
You will need:
2 big scoops vanilla ice cream
2 tablespoons chocolate sauce
A bunch of sea salt
1/3 cup pecans (raw)
1 tablespoon butter
Whipped topping or whipped cream
To prepare the pecans:
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking oil.
- Place pecans in a small mixing bowl. Slightly melt butter in the microwave; pour atop pecans and stir until all pecans have been touched by the butter. Sprinkle very liberally with salt.
- Spread pecans on the baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, stirring half way through. Once finished, remove from oven, sprinkle again with salt, and let cool completely.
To assemble the Bittner copycat:
- Place 2 scoops of ice cream in a cup and use an immersion blender to soften it slightly. Or, do what I did and leave it out for 15 minutes, then mix it up with a spoon. (It’s a great arm workout!)
- Add chocolate sauce, and stir until incorporated. Consistency should be similar to soft serve, or, if you are familiar with it, a Wendy’s frosty (Note: this is WAY better than a Wendy’s frosty but I was struggling to find an appropriate benchmark for comparison).
- Pour softened ice cream into a chilled glass. Top with salted pecans and whipped cream. Serve immediately.