Sundae Sundays: Baskin-Robbins

After my disappointing Ben & Jerry's Sundae Sunday, I was curious if any other national chain ice cream vendor offered a better alternative. Next at bat: Baskin-Robbins.

I could create my own fantabulous ice cream sundae at home pretty much ensuring a terrific Sundae Sunday experience. Maybe I will one of these days. But I'm postponing that for two reasons:

1) I still have some faith in the ability of outside ice cream purveyors to deliver great sundaes and

2) Buying all the necessary ingredients for a Sundae Sunday would likely mean having leftover sundae fixings at my immediate disposal, which would mean Sundae Sundays would swiftly turn into Sundae Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays...and the title of this series would be "Atherosclerosis All The Time."

Baskin-Robbins offers "classic" sundaes like the brownie and the banana split as well as "premium" sundaes that involve massive amounts of brand-name candy and cookie toppings like Snickers and Oreos. I was tempted by the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup sundae, thinking to myself, "it even has good fats," but opted for the brownie sundae to better compare B-R with B&J.

Upon entering Baskin-Robbins, I was immediately heartened to see a heated pot of hot fudge on the side counter rather than the room temperature squeeze bottle used at Ben & Jerry's.

The B-R brownie sundae is advertised as containing two scoops of ice cream (your choice of flavor), and, sure enough, the server plopped two medium-sized scoops of vanilla on top of the brownie. A rather small ladle of hot fudge followed along with a sizable swirl of whipped cream and a bright red cherry. Nuts were offered, but I declined.

All in all, the B-R brownie sundae was about the same size as my upgraded B&J version but cost $5.69 instead of $7. Even addition of M&M's would still keep it under $7 and it came with a pink spoon!

I never thought B-R ice cream was anything to write home about, but the vanilla was surprisingly strong in flavor with decent creamy depth. The temperature of the fudge was warm, not hot, but I didn't much care because its consistency and taste were far better previous outings. I still am on the lookout for a darker, almost bitter hot fudge, but such a topping I don't expect to find at a mainstream parlor.

One of the weaker elements was, again sadly its defining component: the brownie, which was dry and strangely chewy.

Baskin-Robbins was a definite improvement over my last Sundae Sunday and I'm still excited about the rest of the docket. I will be moving on from the brownie sundae as baked goods seem to be the common stumbling block to the ultimate sundae experience, and will perhaps explore the world of butterscotch or banana splits. Suggestions, as always, are welcome.

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