Jeni’s & Food52 Fan’s Ice Cream Inspiration

We’ve experienced a lot of notable firsts in the 10-year history of our company. The latest is a first-ever collaboration with a customer/fan/Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home devotee.

Last summer, Food52 asked their readers to build a new flavor using Jeni’s basic ice cream recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. Of the scads of entries, Jeni and Food52 declared Columbus’ Stefani McGuiness the winner thanks to her Olive Oil, Saffron, Orange + Caramel. The limited-edition flavor—available in our scoop shops and at—is definitely a must-try ice cream.

Here now is Ms. McGuiness, sharing what led her to this “heroic concerto” of a flavor, as Jeni calls it.

What is your cooking background?

“I am by no means a trained cook. I love food and pretty much everything about it. I watch a lot of cooking shows and read a lot of food and cooking blogs. I also read cookbooks and books written by chefs. I actually read cookbooks more than I cook from them. My dad cooked pretty much every night when we were kids, and my sister and I helped him in the kitchen when we were old enough.

“Most of my knowledge of cooking really comes from just from being in the kitchen and taking what I’ve seen others do and trying to either replicate what they’ve done or use techniques they use to create my own dish. I really like just simple, homey, rustic, classic food. I think simple food is the most fun to experiment with and to make it your own.”

How did you hear about the Jeni’s/Food52 contest? Were you already a reader of Food52?

“I saw the contest on the Jeni’s Facebook page. I was not a member of Food52, but now it’s one of my go-to places when I want a new recipe.”

Had you made a lot of recipes using Jeni’s recipe before the contest was launched?

“Jeni’s book is always where I look when I want to make ice cream. I will always use her base when I want to create a new flavor.”

How did you arrive at a flavor that called for olive oil, orange, saffron, and caramel?

“I had wanted to try an olive oil ice cream since getting Jeni’s book, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to experiment. When I landed on olive oil and saffron, it seemed like there needed to be something sweeter as a foil to the more savory flavors. The orange zest just seemed to brighten the caramel a little more. Another flavor I tried was balsamic vinegar roasted strawberries infused with basil. I thought this was also really good. It’s a pretty classic combination. The olive oil, saffron, and orange caramel just seemed a little more unique.”

What about that combo worked for you?

“I don’t like really super sweet desserts, and the caramel added just enough sweetness for me. I really like the clean flavor. The saffron adds just enough of something different and there is not too much olive oil where it would become over-powering.”

What other ice cream flavor have you created that you love? What flavors failed?

“I have made black raspberry and dark chocolate, and the balsamic roasted strawberries and basil that were both really good. I made a torrone ice cream a few Christmases ago that I really liked. I tried to make a s’mores flavor that didn’t turn out very well. I’ll stick to regular s’mores from now on.”