Although the air of late has been filled with low-temperature griping and moaning (and fully visible breath), there’s always a bright side to bone-chilling temps: Why not let the world be your freezer? After all, not everything tastes better cooked, or even thawed.
And why not think out of the (ice)box when it comes to downing some frozen treats? Area residents helped us dream up some cool — make that downright cold — ideas for haute cold snacks good any time of year.
Freezer on the fritz? Or just plain filled while you hibernate? All the snow that’s sticking around will get the job done just as well.
Who needs a Popsicle when a frozen banana brings more to the table? Jennifer Mace, 33, of Tunkhannock discovered the joy of frozen bananas about seven years ago when a co-worker mentioned she would give the treat to her children in summer in place of Popsicles.
“I decided to give it a try, and they were yummy,” she said.
Mace advised peeling the fruit first, then placing it in Ziploc bags.
“I love to dip them in seedless raspberry or strawberry jam or Hershey’s syrup.”
Along the same lines, frozen grapes can be put into a glass of wine not only to chill it but to provide a post-drink snack.
To make sorbet and sherbet, puree frozen fruit in a blender or food processer with orange juice (for sorbet) or milk (for sherbet). Freeze it before devouring.
Frozen applesauce cups are great on the go as well.
Chocolate is oh-so-lovely no matter how it comes, but storing it in the freezer for a couple of hours before enjoying gives it that extra something special.
One of the most popular candies to freeze is the York Peppermint Pattie, that tiny disc full of minty goodness that kicks up a notch when on ice.
Leaving an actual Milky Way or Snickers bar — rather than just buying the ice-cream bar version — in the cold for a bit is another great way to enjoy a chocolate chill. But you might want to let those thaw a couple of minutes before biting in.
Peanut-butter cups are glorious frozen as well, and so are Kit Kats. And do you love the Caramello bar but loathe the gooey caramel that spills out without notice? Talk about a no-mess benefit of freezing.
As any holiday baker knows, freezing mass quantities of cookies is the easiest way to get baking done early. But no need to wait out the thawing process.
“I had made thumbprint cookies for the first time and, without tasting them, just put them into bags and froze them for the holiday,” Jane Broski, 52, of Wilkes-Barre recalled of a Christmas long ago. “And then I just kept wondering how they came out, and all those cookies were so tempting, and I thought, ‘Why not?’ I didn’t even wait for them to get warm, and they were actually really delicious. I’ve tried all the cookies I make for the holiday like that now – chocolate chip, sugar cookies, lemon cookies – and each one is just really good frozen.”
And this time of year, Girl Scout cookies are equally delicious ice cold. Try Thin Mints, Samoas, and Tag-a-longs.
Maryjane Shinko’s children always had a frozen treat during road trips growing up: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
“Peanut butter and jelly … Doesn’t everyone do that?” the 57-year-old Wilkes-Barre resident asked.
Neither can Shinko resist a frozen tuna sandwich, with good reason.
“In the summer, it’s way too hot for mayo; it makes my stomach a little uneasy, so I kind of justify eating it ice cold,” she said.
Got peas or corn in a bag in the freezer? You might be surprised how good they are just like that. Yes, uncooked.
Curly, crinkle, thick cut, straight cut … so many fries, so little time. For Joshua Faust of Pittston, the cut doesn’t matter as long as the fries are still frozen, straight out of the freezer.
“It came out of laziness,” the 28-year-old said of his habit of eating frozen French fries. “I didn’t want to wait for the oven to heat up, and then to have to bake them for almost a half hour. One day I just tried a couple while they were still frozen, and they were awesome. That’s how I eat them now.”
Faust said he likes to add salt and pepper but no ketchup or other condiments.
“The only difference is there’s a little extra ice to get through,” he said, “but if you don’t mind that I think you’ll enjoy them.”
Cup-size snacks are always good on the go, but they go so fast. Not ony does freezing the cup increase the appeal — think Jell-O pudding pops — it keeps your snack around longer. A spoon doesn’t make quick work of frozen pudding, after all.
Another idea is to create your own faux ice-cream sandwich: Spread pudding or whipped topping between two graham crackers, wrap each individual sandwich and freeze for a few hours. Then enjoy a lower-cal version of an old favorite.
Laying off the chocolate in the new year but still need your sugar fix? Go colorful and cutesie. You won’t be disappointed.