One of the most divine things on earth is Bauder’s peppermint ice cream. Although it has been touted by Gourmet magazine and The New York Times you would never suspect anything magnificent upon setting foot inside the almost century-old pharmacy doors. It is not intentionally retro, it just hasn’t changed.
Growing up in Des Moines, Bauder’s pharmacy was a staple of our social circle. As a child my grandparents would take me there for ice cream on warm summer nights. In middle school we would sneak out of confirmation class and go buy candy and vanilla Cokes at Bauder’s, returning to church just in time for our parents to pick us up. In high school we would meet in the empty lot behind Bauder’s to drink beer and smoke cigarettes on Friday nights, come Saturday morning many of my friends would show up there for work making turtle sundaes or delivering prescriptions. We were testing the waters of adulthood, but in a place that was safe and familiar.
You can get lunch there, but I wouldn’t bother unless you have a craving for egg salad on sliced wheat bread or grilled cheese made with American slices and toasted on a heavily-margarined sandwich press.
I’d stick to the ice cream. Their famous ice cream, made in house, is a revolving door of flavors depending on the season. In the summer the fresh peach and strawberry ice creams are a must, but around Christmas time it is the peppermint ice cream that cannot be passed up.
Crunchy peppermint candy pieces enveloped by thick, rich ice cream is a holiday classic that I crave every year and have never found anywhere else. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since about November 27th. Okay, I haven’t really stopped thinking about it since this past summer when I had a Bauder’s peppermint bar at the Iowa State Fair. Two inches of peppermint ice cream topped with fudge sauce and sandwiched between an Oreo cookie crust. That thing was like a colossal brain-freeze and probably should have been shared with someone else….but wasn’t.
I told my husband that I was going to try to replicate the recipe and he suggested I make it dairy-free…..so he could eat it, of course. I was unsure how to make it thick and creamy without using any cream. I didn’t know if I should add stabilizers or gelatin, but then I realized I don’t have to make it vegan, I just have to make it without milk or cream. What makes ice cream super creamy? Okay, heavy cream……but also egg yolks, and I could still use those! Yea for me!
I was pleasantly surprised with how good the ice cream turned out. I was expecting a sort of icy, kind of svelte ice cream that was pepperminty, but tasted “healthy”.
Not at all.
This ice cream is creamy, silky, and packs a peppermint punch, with crunchy chunks of candy and a delightful pink color…..and still kinda healthy.