Food by Judy @ 11:38 PM
Heath Bar ice cream - as close as it gets

When I was a little girl, way back only shortly after the dinosaurs, my favorite ice cream flavor was Butter Brickle.

We didn’t have ice cream very often. It was a treat that was almost always reserved for family picnics and gatherings during the short Idaho summer. The grown-ups in charge of ice cream purchasing almost always stuck with the big three – vanilla, strawberry and chocolate – because almost everyone liked one of those. Sometimes, just for variety, they’d get Neapolitan. Yeah, yeah… my relatives really think outside the box.

I don’t remember many ice cream flavors back then. Sometimes on Sunday we’d go for a drive to a little town called Swan Valley. It’s along the South Fork of the Snake, on the way to Jackson Hole. There wasn’t much in Swan Valley (still isn’t) but a highway T-intersection, a bar, a gas station. And the Swan Valley Commissary, home of the square scoop. Nowadays the Commissary offers 30 flavors of ice cream displayed for your pleasure. Back then, the proprietor would ask my brother and I what flavor we wanted. We have vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, he would say. Even then I was a chocoholic and bro always wanted strawberry. The proprietor would return from the freezer with a big tub of ice cream. I guess we’re out of everything but vanilla. He’d use the coolest little scoop to serve our ice cream. It made little ice cream blocks instead of balls. I’ve tried for years to get one of those scoops. If you’re ever in the area, check it out.

But I digress… Sometimes, like on my birthday, I really got to pick the flavor I wanted. And I picked Butter Brickle. (Mama usually bought a 1/2 gallon of Neapolitan also, so everyone can have what they like.)

I was blessed by having a birthday late in the summer right before school started, when the weather was almost always perfect and everyone was ready for an end-of-summer bash. The blessing was tempered by getting to always share my birthday party with my Great Aunt Florence. In my later years I came to appreciate Aunt Florence very much. But when you’re 6 or 8 or 10, you just don’t want to share your party with a cheek-pinching sister of your grandmother.

So Mama let me pick the ice cream.

Butter Brickle became harder and harder to find, and by the time I was in high school there just wasn’t any. Although I’ve tried a lot of wonderful ice cream flavors, I missed my childhood favorite. Figuring that the internet is a large place, and somewhere there might be some Butter Brickle stashed away, I googled to see what I could find.

I found out that Butter Brickle was the trade name of an English toffee made by the Fenn Brothers Ice Cream and Candy Company. That company was liquidated in 1970 (thus the dearth of Butter Brickle). The secret recipe and the trademark were sold to the Heath company, which already manufactured an English toffee bar (i.e. the Heath bar) that was essentially identical to Butter Brickle. The Heath Company was sold to a Finnish company in the 1990’s, and then to Hershey in 1998.

Hershey, I learned, makes a Butter Brickle ice cream — but only in 3 gallon drums that won’t fit into my freezer.

But today at the grocery store I spotted… drum roll please

Heath Bar Ice Cream

I don’t remember whether Butter Brickle had a toffee swirl in it. But when I tasted that first bite of Heath Bar Ice Cream, I was transported back to those lazy summer picnics — mustard on my fingers from the hot dogs; trying to balance Mama’s amazing and dense potato salad on a plate made from (it seemed) tissue paper; tossing balls and jumping rope; Aunt Florence letting me blow out the candles; and getting to pick the ice cream.

I’m a big girl now. I drizzled a little Kahlua over it.



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