A couple weekends ago, the New Center for Arts and Culture held its 4th annual Beyond Bubbie’s Kitchen fundraiser at the Back Bay Events Center. The event is all about Boston’s best chefs putting modern twists on traditional dishes prepared by their grandparents. And as usual, the Jewish bubbies were well-represented, with chefs from restaurants such as Area 4, Michael’s Deli, and even Taberna de Haro churning out their versions of hamentaschen, noodle kugel, and lamb-stuffed eggplant (an old Sephardic recipe from Spain).
Neither of my grandmothers ever served foie gras matzo balls or house-cured pastrami knishes (which Mark Goldberg of PARK Restaurant & Bar and Mark Gaudet of Savenor’s Market did that night, respectively), but they both had more kitchen skills than you could shake a forkful of brisket at.
In fact, one of my most vivid childhood food memories has to do with my paternal grandmother—but it wasn’t something she’d cooked. Whenever my siblings and I would go visit Nana at her house in Framingham, we would rush from our parents’ car to her doorway. We’d give her a kiss on the cheek, and then quickly descend upon the chest freezer in her garage, where she kept a “hidden” stash of Nestle’s Bon Bons, the little nuggets of vanilla ice cream covered in a thin chocolate coating.
Maybe it’s because I’m trying to think beyond the recent freezing temps, or because Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring, but I recently decided to make my own version of my grandmother’s favorite snack. I think she would be proud of what I came up with. They’re easy to prepare, and they look and taste just like chocolate-covered nostalgia.
Homemade Ice Cream Bon Bons
8 ounces bittersweet, semisweet, milk, or white chocolate (or a combination!), finely chopped
1 pint of your favorite flavor of ice cream
1. Line a dinner plate with parchment paper. Place chocolate in medium heatproof bowl, and set bowl over pot of simmering water. (Bottom of bowl should not touch water.) Heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted. Remove bowl and set aside so chocolate can cool a bit.
2. Meanwhile, use a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon measure to scoop a ball of tightly packed ice cream into the warm chocolate. Working quickly, use a toothpick to roll the ice cream in chocolate until fully covered. Then lift bon bon from chocolate, allow excess to drip back into bowl, and place on prepared dinner plate. Sprinkle tops with salt.
3. After making a few bon bons, transfer plate to freezer to allow chocolate to set. If not serving immediately, bon bons will keep for a week or longer in the freezer in an airtight container.