Things just keep getting cooler for Christopher Elbow. The Kansas City chocolatier and ice cream maker found himself recently staring at his own likeness in the freezer case with the release of his newest collaboration: Spiced Pecan Turtle Ice Cream for the Haagen-Dazs Artisan Collection.
“I love collaborating, but it has to make sense,” Elbow says. “I knew [Haagen-Dazs] understood what I meant when we were talking about the ice cream. Because it’s not for everybody, it’s for people that like spice.”
Elbow is no stranger to collaboration, having worked with the Boulevard Brewing Company on Chocolate Ale and The Roasterie on chocolate coffee and coffee ice cream in years past. Last summer, he unveiled a new series of chocolate bars created with PT’s Coffee Roasting Co.
In this case, Haagen-Dazs was interested in taking Elbow’s spiced pecan turtle and transforming it into an ice cream. Over 18 months of planning and testing – including several visits to Oakland, California, where Haagen Dazs is headquartered – the flavor took shape.
“You can’t just chop the them up and put them in ice cream. It was about how do you get all those elements of a turtle in an ice cream,” Elbow says. “I loved it because it’s what we do at Glace every day.”
The Artisan Collection highlights six craft producers [get a peek at Elbow and the other five here]: My Sweet Brigadeiro (Tres Leches Brigadeiro) of New York City, New York, The Jam Stand* (Banana Rum Jam) and The Good Batch (Ginger Molasses Cookie) of Brooklyn, New York, Clairesquares (Chocolate Carmelized Oat) of San Francisco, California, and Praline Patisserie (Applewood Smoked Caramel Almond) of San Diego, California. Each has a mini-profile and photo on their respective pints.
“A little chocolate shop guy from the Midwest is going to make a mark nationally,” Elbow says. “It just allows us to share our craft and passion with so many more people.”
Elbow’s was the only shop picked from the Midwest, but he believes that having a satellite shop in San Francisco probably helped introduce his turtles to the Haagen-Dazs team in Oakland. From there, it was a question of how to keep the turtle’s spice profile intact in ice cream form.
“We picked the classic chocolate flavor because it helped the salted caramel swirl shine through and there’s a dark chocolate spice blend on the pecans,” Elbow says. “You get a little bit of heat when you take one bite and then after you eat a scoop or a bowl of it, that spice builds and the different chiles and cinnamon creeps up on you.”
The resulting ice cream has the lingering heat and finish familiar to fans of Elbow’s turtles. Haagen-Dazs’ Artisan Collection will be in stores nationally by the beginning of April. It’s already in stock locally at several area Target and Hy-Vee locations.
“I’ve been getting calls from family and friends, who are sending me pictures of the ice cream on shelves,” Elbow says. “This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever gotten to do in my life.”
*An earlier version of this story referred to the Jam Stand as The Jam Station.