The Good Humor Company says that they invented the ice cream bar on a stick in 1920. The food historians at foodtimeline.org give props to Good Humor, but credit the first patent on the Cho-Cho bar ice cream on a stick to the Carnation company. Whatever the origin, in the summertime Syracuse and central New York residents can enjoy their very own freshly hand-dipped chocolate, peanut butter or chocolate-peanut butter ice cream bars at Gertrude Hawk Chocolates retail stores in Carousel Center, Great Northern Mall, Shoppingtown Mall and in the Mattydale, NY retail location.
Gertrude Hawk Chocolates is a Pennsylvania-based candy company with over 65 stores in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Along with a commercial operation that produces fund-raising candy bar programs, corporate gifts and ice cream ‘inclusions’ (those chips and bits that make up the chunks in your favorite commercial ice cream treats), Gertrude Hawk’s retail stores sell chocolates, fudge, and hand-dipped specialties. Year-round they offer shelf-stable store-made confections – apples, crispy rice cereal bars and marshmallows – which have been hand-dipped in white, dark or milk chocolate, caramel, and peanut butter.
But in summer, many of the retail stores go seasonal and offer freshly hand-dipped strawberries, frozen bananas and vanilla ice cream bars. The vanilla ice cream bars on sticks can be dipped into the customer’s choice of milk or dark chocolate, peanut butter, or a peanut butter cup lover’s dream – the chocolate-peanut butter combination topping. Combo-topped bars go first into the chocolate and last into the peanut butter “to avoid getting the peanut butter into the chocolate, and control allergy risk,” according to the Gertrude Hawk associate who spoke with Syracuse Food.
Unlike pre-packaged frozen ice cream bars such as Dove(R), Haagen-Daz(R), Ben and Jerry’s(R) and Klondike Bars(R), hand-dipping the bar of vanilla ice cream into the toppings creates a thicker coating. In several bars sampled at different Gertrude Hawk locations, the average thickness of the dip coating was nearly an eighth of an inch of chocolate and/or peanut butter goodness around the vanilla ice cream bar. The frozen ice cream solidified the inner part of the topping(s), but the thickness of the hand-dip kept the chocolate from shattering as the ice cream melted and the bar was eaten.
A hand-dipped ice cream bar on a stick from a Gertrude Hawk store will set you back $2.79 plus tax – about the same price as a pre-packaged premium ice cream bar. But GH’s hand-dipped ice cream bar on a stick is a splurge you owe yourself if you’re near a store. Once you’ve tasted a combination chocolate and peanut butter ice cream bar, freshly dipped right in front of your eyes and bitten into just as the warm peanut butter and chocolate toppings are freezing on the ice-cold ice cream – well, even a dark chocolate Dove(R) bar with cherry ice cream just won’t be the same experience.
Don’t live in the Syracuse area? You can find a Gertrude Hawk retail location here – but hurry. Summer is the best time, and in some stores the only time, to enjoy hand-dipped ice cream bars.
Pat Steer’s food reviews are based on a series of unannounced, anonymous visits to the establishment. Food photos are of actual meals or products served.
Want more food news? Get Syracuse Food delivered free to your inbox – click Subscribe!