As a child I spent most of my summers tooling around Capitola, a small seaside town east of the Santa Cruz mountains.  Touted as the oldest beach resort in the West Coast, Capitola is known for its charming wharf, intimate beaches, and the family-operated boutiques that line the village.  Perhaps the most unique attribute of the lazy town is the river that runs through the residential area, where my family’s vacation home is located, right into the beach downtown.  My little brother and I spent endless days catching tadpoles, playing with baby ducks, and peddle boating racing down the river. 

My favorite part of every trip was when we packed up the car to drive home, because this meant a stop at Marianne’s Ice Cream.  Marianne’s is a small shop in Santa Cruz seemingly stuck in the 1950’s, when it started serving frozen confections.  At any given time Marianne’s offers seventy flavors made on-site, ranging from Old Fashioned Vanilla to signature “10-20” (caramel ice cream, homemade fudge, and Oreo cookie crumbles).  Despite the plethora of options, I have only ever ordered one ice cream at Marianne’s – Licorice.  It’s that good.  While admittedly some of you may cringe at the thought of the unusual flavor with its similarly unusual color, the subtle sweetness paired with a slight saltiness stands unparalleled.

My father suffers from the same penchant for all things anise (I blame the fact that he grew up in England, where licorice is more ubiquitous than in the States).  When my father’s birthday rolled around, I decided to recreate my childhood favorite for dessert.  After researching recipes, I settled on a custard base to complement the opulent flavor.  To achieve the perfect licorice taste, I melted imported Walker’s Toffees into the custard and added a splash of anise extract.  The result was almost as good as Marianne’s, and won my proud papa’s seal of approval.  Until our next getaway to Capitola, we have found a delicious fix to satisfy our licorice cravings.  xx tt

Recipe - Licorice Ice Cream


· 20 ounces Black Licorice Toffee

· 2.5 cups whole milk

· 1.5 cups heavy cream

· 2 teaspoons sugar

· 2 organic eggs

· 1 teaspoon Anise extract


· Place milk, cream, and licorice candies into sauce pan over medium heat

· Stir until candy is completely melted

· Bring to a simmer, and then remove from heat

· In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar

· While whisking, pour a third of the candy mixture into the egg mixture

· Once combined, slowly pour the egg mixture into the pot with the remaining candy mixture

· Stir in Anise extract

· Over medium heat, whisk until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon

· Pour custard into a bowl and cover at least six hours, preferably overnight

· Churn in your ice cream maker (I use this Kitchen-Aid attachment)

· Place in the freezer for a few hours to harden


t+tTOOLBOX: Fiona’s Sweetshoppe is my go-to for imported treats and upscale bin candies.  Located in the Financial District of San Francisco, this tiny pink store has almost any type of candy you can dream of!

t+tDINES: Located directly across the river from my family’s property is legendary Shadowbrook  restaurant.  Famed for the cable-car that takes patrons down to the restaurant, Shadowbrook is the perfect spot for post-beach dining and imbibing.

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