Ultimate Summer Treats

Frozen Desserts Go Big or Go Home

Summer is nearly synonymous with celebration. We made it through another school year! It’s finally vacation season! Beach! Pool! Barbecues! Fireworks! There’s so much to love. Add to that list these crazy good, over-the-top, locally crafted desserts, and you’ll be all set for a summer to remember.

Donut Sundaes

From Duck Donuts and Mama Bird’s Cookies + Cream

Duck Donuts has offered donut sundaes before, says franchise owner Kelly Trimyer, but not like this. Not with small batch, lovingly crafted, hometown favorite Mama Bird’s ice cream topping a warm, rich donut.

“Have you had their ice cream?” Trimyer asks. “It’s fantastic.”

Mama Bird’s Cookies + Cream makes its ice cream with a custard base (adding egg yolks), so it’s a “denser and thicker product,” says founder Leslie Richmond.

The majority of the candies and toppings included in each flavor are scratch-made in their kitchens.

“For our birthday cake ice cream, we bake a cake from scratch, then use that in the ice cream. You’ll get pieces of homemade cake plus the cake flavor,” Richmond says.

Kelly Trimyer, area Duck Donuts owner, and Leslie Richmond, founder of Mama Bird’s.

The two entrepreneurs met in 2016, and started talking about a collaboration almost immediately. First came Mama Bird’s coffee & donuts flavor with donuts mixed right into the custard.

Now welcome the specialty sundaes, which Richmond and Trimyer created after sampling many flavor combinations.

“We picked flavors that are popular, and we think people will love,” says Richmond.

Sundae price: $5.25

Available: Duck Donuts locations, all summer long, flavors rotate monthly

The limited-time menu includes Chilly Churro, cinnamon sugar donut with dulce de leche ice cream; Celebration Sundae, blueberry iced donut with birthday cake ice cream; and Milk & Cookies, vanilla Oreo iced donut with chocolate cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream.

The flavors rotate monthly, and based on ice cream availability. Get prepared for a knockout salty sweet combination later in the summer: Bacon Bliss, with the signature maple bacon donut and brown sugar ice cream.

“The warm donut with the ice cream — you cannot beat that. It is truly exponentially better to put the warm donut together with that delicious cold ice cream,” says Trimyer.

Trimyer stresses that, just like each donut that comes out of Duck Donuts’ kitchens, the sundaes are completely customizable with any combination of toppings, coatings and available ice cream flavors.

Donut sundaes will be served all summer long at all three Triangle-area Duck Donuts locations, while supplies last.

“This is over the top,” says Trimyer. “But every once in a while, you’ve earned it.”

Duck Donuts
100 Wrenn Drive, Cary
(919) 468-8722

Mama Bird’s Cookies + Cream
304 North Main Street, Holly Springs
(919) 762-7808

Ice Cream and Beer Flights

At Pints Ice Cream and Beer

When the screaming for ice cream has reached a fever pitch, parents and children can all find respite at Pints Ice Cream and Beer in downtown Varina, where a case filled with delicious and surprising (think rosemary and olive oil or Pepsi peanut) ice cream abuts a 10-tap bar of local beers.

“We felt that the town needed an ice cream shop. We liked the idea of being able to bring your kids and have adult fun at the same time,” says owner Robyn Morrison.

The idea to combine ice cream and beer started with owners Terrence and Robyn Morrison’s trip to the Guiness factory in Ireland on their honeymoon.

“They’ll put a scoop of ice cream in your beer,” says Robyn. “We started pairing ice creams with other beers, and it worked!”

Pints owners Robyn and Terrence Morrison.

At Pints, you can order a beer and ice cream float, a beer and ice cream flight or a beer float flight. It may be a tongue twister, but it boils down to happiness for the whole family. The beer and ice cream flight is the perfect family-style sampler as it pairs three ice creams alongside three beers, most of which are local. Aviator, Mason Jar, Oaklyn Springs and Vicious Fishes brews make frequent appearances.

Terrence is the mastermind behind the distinctive ice cream offerings, taking inspiration from unexpected flavor pairings, new restaurants and cooking shows.

Prices: Ice cream & beer flight: $12, Boozy milkshake: $12

Available: Year round, flavors rotate monthly

“I spent eight months perfecting the base recipe and learning how to alter it,” says Terrence. “We control the whole process.”

“Once I had a bacon, apple and gouda sandwich and I thought, ‘I can translate this into an ice cream,’” he says. The resulting mascarpone, apple and bacon ice cream was proof.

Cake batter, brown sugar vanilla and rosemary and olive oil anchor the ice cream case, and specialty flavors rotate nearly every two weeks. Chocolate honey, bourbon bacon s’more and Guinness Bailey’s Lucky Charms have been crowd favorites.

Earlier this year, Pints upped the ante with boozy milkshakes, modeled after traditional cocktail recipes, and made unique by their own eclectic ice cream flavors. No family sharing allowed here folks — these are adults only.

“Irish Car Bomb is the most popular,” says Robyn. “It’s Irish whiskey, Guiness, Baileys ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream. We make our own hot fudge and whipped cream.”

Pints Ice Cream & Beer
512 Broad Street, Fuquay-Varina

Shaved Ice

From Sweet Southern Snoballs

“It’s like picking up snow off the ground and eating it,” says Dylan Tarpey, of the ice used at Sweet Southern SnoBalls in Holly Springs. “It just melts in your mouth.”

Ok, that’s technically true of all the frozen treats featured here, but in the case of this shaved ice it happens quickly, with complete smoothness. There’s no crunch to the ice, no crystallization. Just super fluffy, light-as-air, delicious flavored ice.

“It’s all about how you have the blade set,” Tarpey says. “As the ice melts, you adjust the blade. There is a little art behind it.”

Dylan Tarpey, manager of Sweet Southern SnoBalls.

Tarpey has perfected this technique working at several snow cone and shaved ice shops around the Triangle. Now he manages the Sweet Southern SnoBalls in Holly Springs (open since April in the old Happy Holly’s drive-thru facility) and the location in Smithfield.

There are more than 100 flavors of syrup that can be drizzled on the ice in endless combinations. Toppings like sweetened condensed milk and marshmallow fluff can be added. They also serve Hershey’s ice cream, a hold over from the Happy Holly’s menu.

Prices: Kiddie: $2, Medium: $3

Available: March through October

Traditional flavors — cherry, blue raspberry, cotton candy for example — are plentiful, but so are the unexpected additions, such as sour tsunami, sweet tart, red velvet and tamarind.

“Dill pickle is a disgusting flavor. I wouldn’t recommend it,” says Tarpey. “I tell people it isn’t good, and they still get it.” Hey, it’s your summer, do what you will.

If you want to know what he does recommend, however, ask to see the secret menu. It contains some of the best-loved combinations as well as themed “superhero” and “princess” specialties.

Try the “Hulk,” green apple and grape, or the “Elsa,” polar punch and cream.

Portions are generous, but we recommend you order small. The ice is best right off the blade, before too much melting occurs.

“When you get down to the bottom, it’s going to be super juicy,” says Tarpey.

Sweet Southern SnoBalls
527 N Main Street, Holly Springs
(919) 291-3355

Hand-dipped Ice Cream

At Sunni Sky’s Homemade Ice Cream

One hundred and twenty five flavors. I’ll say it again. One hundred and twenty five homemade, begging-to-be-sampled flavors are available everyday at Sunni Sky’s Homemade Ice Cream in Angier.

There are classics like cookie dough, brownie batter and butter pecan. There are experimental flavors like lemongrass, salty sweet (with pretzels) and whiskey. There are spicy offerings like cold sweat (with habanero peppers) and exit wound (taster beware). And there are about 117 others in between, including sherbets and non-dairy sorbets.

“We started with 30 flavors,” says owner Scott Wilson. “People don’t want to be rotated. Once they’ve had their ice cream, they want that.”

Scott Wilson, owner, Sunni Sky’s Homemade Ice Cream.

“Every year we’ll experiment with some. This year we did a dark swirl. Cupcake is a new one. We’re playing around with a pear flavor. If I had more space, I’d even do more,” he says.

Open for 17 years, Sunni Sky’s has become a warm weather destination for sweet teeth near and far.

Prices: Double Cup or Cone: $3.75 (you’ll want a double), Banana Split: $5.00

Available: March through November

“We have regulars from Wake Forest, about an hour away. Fayetteville is a pretty significant distance,” says Wilson. “It’s a special time coming here; something reasonable to do with your family.”

About 10 minutes from downtown Fuquay-Varina, you can’t miss the welcoming front porch with white rockers and the giant pink ice cream cone on the side of HWY 55.

“We are known for samples,” says Wilson. And it’s true. I was offered about 20 flavors to taste on my first visit. Crumb cake, mocha chip and key lime pie were surprising favorites. Next time I’ll make sure to try bacon, burnt sugar and blue Nerd sherbet.

A menu with so many choices can be tough to narrow down, and Wilson won’t try to push any flavor over another.

“I’m going to profile the customer and see what they like: sweet, fruity, chocolate,” he says. “Take your time and sample. We want people to taste and get what they really want.”

“Everytime I pass, there is a line out the door,” says Tracy O’Shea, who travelled from Garner with her daughters for a pre-lunch treat. “We come for ice cream first, then have a lunch picnic on the picnic tables.”

Sunni Sky’s Homemade Ice Cream
8617 NC Hwy 55 South, Angier
(919) 427-7118

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *