Jeni’s Everything Bagel ice cream boldly goes where no bagel has gone before

Pint of Jeni's Everything Bagel flavor on floral background
Photo: Lillian Stone

A certain wintry chill descends when people argue about dumb stuff on the internet. A phantasmic voice seems to glide through my apartment, whispering: “Go! See what everyone’s fussing about!” And so I am sucked into inane Twitter discourse time and time again. Most of the time, it’s terrible—but occasionally, internet chatter leads me to something truly wonderful. It happened a few weeks ago with Hilaria Baldwin pretending she doesn’t know how to say “cucumber” in English, and it happened again on Monday when my cyber friends started squabbling about the new Everything Bagel flavor from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

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“I’m... not sure how to feel about this,” wrote one Twitter user. “The Everything Bagel Jeni’s ice cream can’t hurt you,” tweeted another. Still others were down to try the subject of the schmear campaign. While I usually stay out of digital controversies, I live for a savory-sweet combo and decided this was my moment. I dug out my slime-colored hatchback and drove through half a foot of snow to the nearest Jeni’s to get a pint of Everything Bagel.

Before I took a bite, I plopped the pint on my kitchen counter and checked out the ingredients list. According to the label, it’s a cream cheese ice cream sprinkled with a “buttery streusel” containing sesame, poppy seeds, and, yes, onion and garlic. Jeni’s bills the flavor as an ice cream “acceptable to eat any time of day,” posing the following query:

Why is it only acceptable to eat ice cream during certain times of the day? Why isn’t it ok to have ice cream before 11 in the morning? If it’s ok to have breakfast for dinner, why not ice cream for breakfast? Why are donuts ok for breakfast and ice cream isn’t?

Let’s also discuss the cream cheese base for a second. The cream cheese isn’t just a cheeky nod to bagel schmear; it’s actually a signature move for Jeni’s founder Jeni Britton Bauer. Cream cheese serves as a natural ice cream stabilizer, which keeps artificial emulsifiers—or complicated additives like tempered egg yolks—out of the picture. Cream cheese also helps thicken the ice cream base, as explained in this Taste article. The article cites pastry chef Dana Cree, who, like Bauer, adds cream cheese to her ice cream to create that classically American hard-pack texture. In other words: a scoop with some bite. “The main thing cream cheese does for ice cream is add solids in the way of milk protein,” says Cree, explaining that cream cheese ice cream will trap more air as it churns. That means a smooth, slightly chewy final product.

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And then it was time for the taste test. I had spent the previous night making a birthday cake for my boyfriend and gorging myself on cake scraps, so I wasn’t in the mood for something super sweet. Lucky for me, Jeni’s is really leaning into the savory elements here. Everything Bagel isn’t a bagel-inspired ice cream; it’s an ice cream that quite literally tastes like an oniony, garlicky bagel. And listen: that’s a good thing.

While the ice cream’s cream cheese base is certainly sweet, the bagel spices pack a serious salty punch that I didn’t know I needed. The streusel bits are buttery and toothsome without forming those giant, unmanageable chunks that seem to be the calling card of so many novelty ice cream flavors. And yes, you really can taste the onion and garlic, both of which contrast with the richness of the ice cream base. The combination gives every bite the kind of personality that made me emit a little “well, well, well” while I ate it. (Alone, on my couch, in my bathrobe. If that matters.)

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I loved Everything Bagel so much that I went back for a second scoop. More than that, I’m confident this is my new go-to when I swing by my nearest Jeni’s scoop shop.

In conclusion, if you like savory-sweet combos, this is the one for you. Want to get your hands on it? Everything Bagel pints are currently available for nationwide shipping from jenis.com and at Jeni’s locations nationwide. A tweet from the brand promises you should be able to order individual scoops at scoop shops across the country very soon.

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Staff writer @ The Takeout, joke writer elsewhere. Wrangling dogs and pork shoulder in Chicago.

DISCUSSION

katiekeys
katie_keys

I was at the store last night and I usually investigate the portions of the shelves that are red tagged for clearance items. One such find last night was avocado lime ice cream.

It’s not that I can’t appreciate a sweet and savory combination.  But I don’t want ice cream involved.