The Best Ice Cream in the U.S. (& A To-Die-For Red Velvet Recipe)

Pediatric psychologist Lindsay Clendaniel works with kids during the day, but when she’s off-duty, she pursues another, surprising passion: ice cream.

As the creator of the blog Scoop Adventures, and she makes and rates recipes from ice cream parlors across America. Her new book, Scoop Adventures: The Best Ice Cream of the 50 States, came out last month and is full of fun flavor combos you can make at home like Chipotle Raspberry and Prickly Pear Coconut. “I have always loved ice cream, but I didn’t start making my own until I was an adult,” she says. “I lived in Columbus, Ohio, for a short time and it is a city with some great ice cream, such as Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and Graeter’s. These ice cream shops inspired me to get creative in my own kitchen.”

Check out Clendaniel’s favorite places to grab a cone from coast to coast, and try her recipe for Red Velvet Ice Cream.

West Coast Wonders
“Some of my favorite shops on the West Coast are located in San Francisco, including Mitchell’s Ice Cream, Humphry Slocombe, and Bi-Rite Creamery. Mitchell’s recipe for Mango Ice Cream is featured in the cookbook and it is a must-have when you visit the shop.”

Midwest Marvels
“I lived in the Midwest for a while and fell in love with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus. Order the Gravel Road or the Lemon Blueberry Yogurt. There are so many other great shops in the Midwest, such as Izzy’s in Minneapolis and Sweet Peaks Ice Cream in White Fish, Montana.”

Southern Sweethearts
“One of my favorites is Creole Creamery in New Orleans. Order the Steen’s Molasses Oatmeal Cookie–which is in the cookbook–or the Black and Gold Crunch. Other great Southern ice cream shops are Lolbolly Creamery in Little Rock, and the Comfy Cow in Louisville.”

Northeast Treats
“Some of my favorites from this region include Little Baby’s Ice Cream in Philadelphia, Ample Hills in New York, and The Bent Spoon in New Jersey.  Order the Earl Grey Sriracha, Sweet as Honey, and Basil ice cream flavors.”


Makes 1 generous quart
Baked desserts are often great inspiration for ice cream flavors. One delicious inspiration for ice cream is red velvet cake. My favorite part of red velvet cake is the cream cheese icing, so this scoop is a “reversed” version of red velvet cake with pieces of cake mixed into a cream cheese ice cream base, creating the perfect frozen alternative to a classic Southern cake.

3 red velvet cupcakes, frosting removed
12 oz (340g) cream cheese
1 ½ cups (355ml) sour cream
1 cup (200g) sugar
½ cup (118ml) heavy cream
½ cup (118ml) buttermilk
¼ tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Prepare your favorite red velvet cupcake recipe or buy your favorite prepared cupcakes. If you choose to bake cupcakes, allow the cupcakes to cool completely before adding to the ice cream.

Cut the cream cheese into small pieces and place in a blender or food processor. Add the sour cream, sugar, cream, buttermilk, vanilla and salt and blend until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours.

Once chilled, pour the ice cream base into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Chop the cupcakes into 1/2-inch (1.3cm) cubes. When churning is complete, gently fold in the cupcake pieces. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and top with a few pieces of cupcake. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.