October 23, 2009 | 8:54am
Granted, the chilly weather doesn't make an ice cream shop immediately leap to mind when considering where to warm the belly, but when that ice cream parlor is selling fresh doughnuts and making hot chocolate from scratch, it's food for second thought.
Earlier this month, the folks at Sweet Action Ice Cream, 52 Broadway, readied themselves for the cold weather by introducing some non-frozen treats to their line-up. In addition to hot chocolate, cider, coffee and tea, on Wednesday and Saturday they're now featuring doughnuts baked by the folks who run Sugar Bakeshop. And if you want to really make that hot drink sing, consider adding a scoop of ice cream.
We decided to try two different doughnuts -- cinnamon sugar and vanilla glazed -- and we added a scoop of pumpkin pie ice cream to a cup of hot chocolate. The doughnuts were light, but balanced with cake-y heft and just the right amount of fried crisp to the bite. Turns out that getting a perfect doughnut is all about the oil temperature. "If it's too high, then the doughnuts will sear on the outside, but be doughy on the inside. And if it's too low, then they'll just be soaked with grease," explains Natalie Slevin, owner of Sugar Bakeshop, who calls the doughnut a "sensitive little sweet."
The respective coatings of cinnamon sugar and vanilla frosting step up the sweet profile of the fried cakes without being overpowering. Wondering about that bit of mysterious spice lurking in the dough? It's Saigon cinnamon. These babies practically beg to be dipped in a hot drink.
Sweet Action doesn't mess around when it comes to their hot chocolate. Co-owner Sam Kopicko flat-out calls it the best hot chocolate in Denver. "It's really, really rich," she warns, explaining that it's whipped together from homemade fudge sauce and whole milk. Adding a scoop of ice cream -- in this case, pumpkin pie -- makes it a maddeningly delicious float. We enjoyed the melding of flavors, but the downside to adding ice cream to a hot drink is that you end up with a lukewarm drink. That doesn't make the end result any less tasty -- just harder to categorize.
Look for seasonal ice creams
(Candy Corn, Blood & Guts, Zombie) and new flavors of doughnuts (dark chocolate mocha) to appear at Sweet Action in the upcoming weeks. And if doughnuts with hot chocolate isn't quite indulgent enough for you, consider the doughnut sundae. "We top the doughnuts with ice cream, hot fudge, sprinkles, whipped cream -- whatever you want," says Kopicko.
Oh, we want it all.
Sugar Bakeshop doughnuts: $1.50
Hot Chocolate: $2.50/3.00
make it a float: +$2.00
Doughnut sundae: $4.50