The Hot and Cold Challenge

outdoor thermometer

Brr. Click the picture for attribution.

I don't know anyone who is on an even keel All The Time. I mean, even the most serene folks have a day every now and then when they must feel a little less-than-serene. High energy performers aren't always necessarily on their A Game--sometimes they give us a B+ performance because they have a cold. Or a fever.

Anyway, life is just like that sometimes.  It's true for blogs and bloggers, too.  Some days, I'll sit down and pour out Wit and Wisdom that leaves me feeling rather Pleased with myself.  Other days, not so much.  And sometimes, something I write captures folks, and other times, not so much.  Sometimes posts that I write on autopilot end up being Big Sellers, so to speak.  And occasionally, my Triumphs-in-my-own-mind don't grab folks.  Go figure.  It happens.

You're probably either wondering what this has to do with pastries or just wanting me to get on with it, already.  Your wish is my Command.

I was just sitting here thinking about hot and cold, and these are the things I thought:

  1. My favorite days are the ones where the sun is warm and the wind is cool.
  2. Sometimes, as long as your feet are warm, it's okay to be cold.
  3. Swimming pools in summer are popular for a reason.
  4. Hot tubs in the winter have a certain appeal.

Yes, the above is a pretty good Snapshot of they way my brain works.  I share these free associations with you for a reason, though.  Here's my rule:  eventually, all free association ends up with food.

So, once my brain produced those four hot/cold associations, it naturally turned its Mad Self towards food.  There are plenty of desserts that use hot and cold together to great affect.  Take the 'Smore.  There's not much better than hot-toasty-melty marshmallows smashed together with cool-but-melting chocolate and room temp (or cold, if you're camping in the winter) graham crackers.  And there's always the classic crème brûlée. That's the literal hot and cold--temperature.

And these days, everyone knows the figurative hot and cold trick of adding a bit of cayenne or other spicy Item to a brownie recipe.  It was cutting edge just a few years ago, and it hasn't been completely played out because it hasn't been completely explored.

Not that I want to hasten a great trend's Demise, but let's see if we can't maybe be a little bit more creative with the idea.  Hot and cold.  Cold and hot.  There must be some way to meld the Literal with the Figurative, throw in some whimsical and always keep in mind the flavor profile.

First up, the Literal, as filtered through My Brain

Cold Food

  • ice cream/sorbet
  • mousse
  • cream
  • puddings and custards
  • gelatin-set Items
  • semifreddo/frozen mousse

Hot Food

  • hot fudge sauce (or similar)
  • straight-from-the-oven anything
  • hit-with-a-torch anything

And Now, the Figurative (ditto, Brain-wise)

Cold Food

  • mint/menthol
  • yogurt (tangy)
  • horchata (cinnamon/rice/almond/lime)
  • Sichuan pepper

Hot Food

  • cinnamon
  • ginger
  • hot peppers
  • alcohol (high proof liquor, brandy, port, etc)
  • alliums (onions and their friends)

Okay, so there are my lists.  So, guess what?  Now, I'm turning it over to you.  Here's where the challenge comes in.  Come up with a dessert that juxtaposes, either literally or figuratively, hot and cold.  Tell me about your idea in the comments, or go crazy and post about it at your own place.  If you do post about it, just link to your post in the comments section here.  I'll post a round up, including my entry, on December 1.  November is a pretty busy month, Culinarily Speaking, so we've got three whole weeks to come up with something Amazing!

And that's about it for now.  Have a spectacular day, and I'll see you again soon.  Now I'm off to sit in the warm sun and feel the cool breeze for a bit!


  1. Roberta says

    Okay, I’m going to go for the easy ones. Warm brownies with ice cream and hot fudge. Apple crisp straight from the oven with ice cream. Spicy hot chocolate with a dollop of whipped cream.

  2. says

    First thing that springs to mind? Baked Alaska. I like how the name itself is literally hot + cold, and the combination of warm meringue and cold ice cream ain’t bad either. Am off to bed now, where I shall ponder the matter further…

  3. Dianne says

    I can think of a drink I fell in love with the first time I had it. Some call it a “Girl Scout Cookie” and others call it a “Snuggler” (I like this name the best). Hot chocolate with a shot of Creme de Menthe or Peppermint Jet, topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. MMMMMMMMM would this make me melt! Haven’t had one in years but that is definitely one to try if you’ve not tried it yet.

    Okay desserts–not sure if you can use that as a dessert. YES you can!! Make it out of chocolate mousse with a Creme de Menthe syrup topping, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings. YUM!!!

    Another of my favorite Hot and Cold desserts was a hot fudge brownie we served in my friends’ (now closed) ice cream parlour. I loved making it with a hot brownie, two scoops of peppermint ice cream (they used vanilla), hot fudge over it all, topped with whipped cream, crushed almonds, and a cherry on top.

    Or Nana’s apple pie with vanilla ice cream, or blackberry crumble with vanilla ice cream. Mmmmmmmm!!!

    By the way, we found Edy’s Pumpkin ice cream in the lower fat version and it’s identical to the taste of the pumpkin shake I mentioned in a message to you last week–thanks for the help!!

  4. Roberta says

    I’ve been trying to think of something ‘cold’ to pair with Devil’s Food cake, but I can’t think of anything. I thought Devil’s Food would be a perfect figurative ‘hot’.

  5. says

    Just last night – in honor of George Washington, whom we were studying in our homeschool lessons- we donned our mobcaps and made a traditional Colonial Virginia meal of Chicken Fricassee (to DIE for!), sweet corn and squash, beaten biscuits (exhausting, but tasty) and… entry for the hot/cold Challenge: Hot Hasty Pudding with your choice of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or sweetened heavy cream.

    ‘Twas Heavenly!


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