Like most of my self-important creative endeavors, today’s post began in the typical fashion – with overwhelming anxiety accompanied by healthy doses of insecurity and skepticism. As I embarked on what is about to be the FOURTH anniversary post for my humble little blog, I was daunted by the task in front of me.
If you’ve followed me since the beginning, you are aware that historically, birthday posts for my blog generally haven’t gone all that well. And by “all that well” obviously I mean “resulting in flaming piles of miserable defeat and regret.”
In Year 1, I had this crazy idea that for each blog anniversary, I’d “get back to my roots” by featuring my favorite childhood flavor, mint chocolate chip, in some sort of fanciful way. But usually, this self-imposed creative guardrail, in addition to the sheer pressure of something as significant as a blog birthday, has resulted in some sort of emotional fallout. For example, there was the Great Ice Cream Cake Disaster of 2015, and the Photo Shoot Failure of 2016, to name a few. It never fails – every single year I have some sort of birthday-related meltdown, and the blog becomes what a fun creative hobby shouldn’t be – full of dread and self-doubt.
This year, I commenced my creative process in the usual way, with a blank Word doc, a bag of chocolate chips, and very carefully placed optimism. Fast-forward an hour later, I’m out of snacks, have no viable ideas, and am full-on EVERYTHING I DO IS AWFUL AND I’M THE ABSOLUTE WORST EVER.
Sometimes when I’m in Meltdown Mode, my husband will take the bait and offer empty words of comfort, which truly is what every functioning psychopath like me wants to hear.
“Oh honey, but you’re so awesome and wonderful! You are a delightful unicorn of ice cream blogging and the whole world will love you!” (Okay, so maybe I’m paraphrasing/fantasizing just a wee bit).
But then other times, when I’m in the midst of my downward spiral, Hubs serves me some much-needed Tough Love with a massive spoonful of Objectivity. This was one of those times.
“So then don’t do it,” he said. Don’t do Mint Chocolate Chip. Nobody’s making you do it. Besides, you can’t possibly think of a new mint chocolate chip recipe every single year.”
His words echoed through our quiet Ohio home like a clap of thunder in the darkness. And it was just the spark I needed to get started.
I was presented with my challenge, and like any good Midwestern girl of Eastern European descent, I didn’t back down. I am the Michael Phelps of ice cream blogging, and nobody I REPEAT NOBODY can stop me. I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.
…But then, I decided to stop working.
Now that I’m the big 3-0 and essentially on the cusp of my Senior Years, I’m trying my upmost to relieve myself of this crippling anxiety and incessant worry I have about failure and Things You’re Supposed To Be Doing By This Age But Aren’t. Looking back on my twenties, I wasted so much time on my insecurities and over-analysis of every. single. thing. that sometimes I think I missed out on all the FUN that life has to offer. So, I’m taking small steps to formally Chill The Eff Out and figured the blog is a great place to start.
Instead of coming up with an overly complicated recipe that took an entire weekend to make and shoot, I did what I wanted to do. Something spur of the moment, fun, and most importantly, simple.
I decided to, as the young kids say, “treat yo self,” and indulged in some of my all time fave mint chocolate chip ice cream, made by the iconic Ohio-based Graeter’s. This stuff is seriously amazing and seriously summery – it’s unapologetically minty with giant fudge chunks that are more like melt-in-your-mouth truffles than traditional chocolate chips. Coincidentally, Graeter’s is also celebrating a birthday – its 147th. Yep, you read that right. Almost a century and a half of small batch, artisanal ice cream making. I can’t even wrap my mind around that. Original Hipsters? I certainly think so!
An affogato is something that I’ve had on my long list of Blog Ideas I’ll Probably Never Get To Because I’m Afraid to Photograph Them for far too long, so I figured, what better occasion than the fun, fearless Fourth Birthday of my blog to experiment with something new?
In its most basic form, an affogato is simply vanilla ice cream or gelato with espresso poured on top, but you can jazz it up however you like. You can also adjust the amount of coffee up or down based on your personal preference. Although tradition dictates that you use espresso, you can use any suitable coffee product as long as it’s strong (I cannot wait to try this with cold brew!).
So my friends, I present to you The Easiest Recipe I’ve Ever Made on This Blog. But never fear: it’s insanely delicious and refreshing. This thing makes a Frappuccino look like child’s play. It’s super refreshing on a hot summer’s day, and makes the perfect storybook ending to dinner on the patio.
Happy 4th birthday little blog! I love you even though you’re a teenager trapped in a toddler’s body. You make my life equal parts miserable and wonderful, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Happy scooping everyone! Thanks for sticking with me 🙂
Mint Chocolate Chip Affogato
Yield: 4 affogatos
1 pint of good quality Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
4 ounces of espresso, cooled to room temperature
Whipped cream and chocolate shavings (optional)
- Place 2 small scoops of ice cream into 4 adorable bowls or glasses.
- Pour a single shot of espresso (1 ounce) over each bowl of ice cream
- Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, if desired.