I can’t believe it’s the end of July and I haven’t posted an ice cream recipe yet this summer!
The four-ingredient fudgsicles don’t count either.
SO I apologize, and I’ll do my best to make up for it before summer ends.
This week has been tough, it’s been a week I’ve dreaded for a while. After (just short of) 15 years, we said goodbye to our dog Dakota on Tuesday. Dakota, my cute little black lab, acted like a puppy almost until the end. She was our first family dog, and my god she was the sweetest. Even though we anticipated the time was coming, it doesn’t make the reality any easier.
Growing up, all my younger brother and I talked about was getting a dog. Every kid does, right?! Not having any clue how much a dog actually costs, we would put together our earnings – from babysitting and doing odd jobs around the house – together in our “dog fund,” and proudly hand a meager stash of dollar bills and quarters thinking it would result in something.
What we didn’t know was while we were saving up our pennies, our parents were planning a surprise.
I still remember the day we went to a family friends house after their dogs just delivered a litter. We literally had NO idea that we were over there to bring home our pup, and I basically cried in dramatic agony over why we couldn’t have one. When my dad picked one up and put her in the palm of his hand and told us she was ours, I put aside all my teenage angst (I was a freshman in high school, so prime time as a teenager), and literally jumped for joy.
We spent the car ride home thinking of names – we knew we wanted it be something to remind us of our many travels out west, and we finally decided Dakota was it.
Dakota whitewater rafted in Jackson Hole with us, she loved to take long walks around the neighborhood, roll around in the grass, get her ears scratched. She LOVED to swim, and would sneak over to a pond across the street from our house every morning to get in her laps.
We once found her and our other dog Romeo constantly walking over to the shed in the backyard to discover that they *somehow* got ahold of a Tupperware container of my Grandpa’s sauce and meatballs, and would walk over there every day for a week to sneak in a couple of bites.
She loved laying out in the garden or walking over to check on the bees with my dad. She was terrified of storms and would sneak under the covers with you to stay safe. She always greeted everyone with a tail wag, howled at firetrucks, looked at us like we were crazy when we’d dress her up in Halloween costumes or Santa beards.
Belly rubs were her favorite, we had a song we’d sing to her every time she rolled over asking for one. She couldn’t get enough of playing in the snow and used to steal our gloves and hats whenever we went sledding in the backyard. She dreaded getting a bath, and would slink away every time we said the word “bubble!”
She always knew when I just needed a little extra love on a bad day. She’d lay next to you and let you use her as a pillow, or would just put her head on top of your lap. It’s true what they say, dogs really are (wo)man’s best friend. They have the ability to cheer you up even with a simple nudge.
And Dakota, she loved ice cream. Whenever we made trips to the ice cream shop, we’d bring home “pup cups” for her and Romeo, and her eyes would widen in joy every single time. I’m convinced it’s one of the reasons we clicked so easily, our love for ice cream was a strong bond. Granted, mine usually had chocolate in it and her’s was plain vanilla with a couple of bones – but still!
Ironically I had been planning on sharing this recipe even before all this happened. I didn’t plan to write an entire post about this – but it only seemed fitting to. Writing is the way I know how to deal with emotions best, and it helps to laugh about all the good instead of mourn with sadness.
I’m sure to some it may seem a little insane that I dedicated an entire post (about ice cream!) to my pup, but those who’ve shared a bond with any animal know that it feels like you’ve lost a member of the family.
And after 15 years, it feels only right to share some of my fondest memories of my sweet Dakota over a big scoop of ice cream. Cheers my sweet girl, there will never be another quite like you.
- 3 cups frozen cherries, pitted and stems removed
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3.5 ounces dark chocolate
- Add cherries to a blender and puree on high until smooth.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or using a hand mixer, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form, about 4-5 minutes.
- Using a spatula, fold the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla into the bowl. The fold the pureed cherries into the bowl. Be careful not to overmix!
- In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate (you may want to save a few crushed pieces to sprinkle on top at the end, but it's up to you!). Gently swirl the chocolate into the bowl.
- Pour the mixture into a loaf pan or another metal container that can be freezed, top with a few pieces of the crushed chocolate. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and freeze 4-6 hours, or overnight.