Merrick Davis creates a winning ice cream flavor

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How to grab the interest of future culinary masters? Hold an ice cream-creation contest, for which the winner gets a year's worth of free ice cream. That's what the Buell Children's Museum and Cold Stone Creamery did in Pueblo last fall as part of the museum's Math Carnival exhibition. Kids had the mathematical mind-boggling decision of how to combine 63 kinds of ice creams and mix-ins. "We had nearly 300 entries," says Donna Stinchcomb, curator of the Buell Children's Museum. "The kids' creativity really shined in the delicious combinations and names they came up with. It was a tough, tough choice to pick just one winner."

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And that winner? Three-year-old Merrick Davis of Colorado Springs, who concocted a mix of Cold Stone's handmade chocolate ice cream, banana, almonds and peanut butter, served in a waffle bowl and topped with whipped cream. When Merrick's mom, Heather Davis, asked what type of things he'd put in chocolate ice cream, his favorite flavor, Merrick started listing ingredients from his dietary staple, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and then added one of his mom's favorite snacks, almonds. "It is kind of a random ingredient for a three-year-old to like, but he must have gotten the idea because I often snack on them," she says.

Merrick came up with the name Mad Monkey for his creation, not only because he shares a love of bananas with the primate, but his initials happen to be M.A.D, which also serves as his nickname.

Merrick is very excited about his victory, Heather tells us: "I am a bit surprised he understands he won the contest, and he loves to tell everyone that he created an ice cream."

Merrick's ice cream will be featured at Pueblo's Cold Stone, located at 4200 North Freeway Road in the Eagleridge Shopping Center, for the next five months; the Buell is asking guests to draw their own version of a "mad monkey," which will be placed in the Flying Monkey display that's part of the museum's current exhibit, Off to See the Wizards: Art & Science.

Museum visitors will get a Cold Stone Creamery coupon for the next few months; Cold Stone Creamery customers will receive a discount coupon for the Buell good through May 31.

The Buell Children's Museum is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $3 children/military, $4 for adults, and Arts Center members are always free. For more information, visit the museum's website or call 719-295- 7200.

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