Salty-Sweet Summer Treat: Peanut Butter Caramel Drumstick Cones

Casey Barber

by Casey Barber on July 28, 2014

As hard-to-find nostalgic treats go, I’m not sure the vanilla caramel Drumstick tops too many people’s lists. After all, the regular vanilla version is all over the place, there are chocolate ice cream versions, fudge-core options, and even varieties with Nestle Crunch in place of the usual dome of peanuts—enough to make the casual ice cream eater gorge for weeks.

homemade peanut butter caramel drumstick cones, via
But for me, it’s caramel or nothing. I don’t want a Drumstick without that crucial gooey core. And for whatever reason, it’s been an elusive find around New Jersey for the past few years. It doesn’t appear in any of Nestle’s variety packs, so those were useless to me. I’d see a box in one grocery store and gleefully snag it, only to come up short the next time I stopped in.

I got Dan in on the hunt: Target became a semi-regular source for my stash, so we took to stalking the frozen treats aisle there and hoarding boxes three at a time when we’d spot the signature orange wave on the package.

A few times, we’d half-joke about just throwing up our hands and making them from scratch, but a homemade ice cream Drumstick never made it off the planning boards—even during recipe testing for Classic Snacks Made from Scratch, which now strikes me as a criminal oversight. After all, it’s made of a bunch of ingredients I already make from scratch: ice cream, caramel, and chocolate magic shell. (Not doing homemade cones yet, but give me time.)

homemade peanut butter caramel drumstick cones, via
What finally pushed me over the edge and into action was a brainstorm for a simple but irresistible customization: peanut butter caramel, a rich and salty tweak to my favorite basic caramel sauce. Someone with a salt tooth as strong as mine can’t resist the pull of peanut butter and caramel together—it’s a pairing that might even beat the pants off peanut butter and chocolate if it came down to it in a deathmatch. (A delicious, fictional deathmatch.)

Thus inspired, I decided to go one further with my custom Drumsticks and coated the interior of my cones with salted caramelized white chocolate instead of regular chocolate magic shell. The result of the tweaking is a homemade ice cream treat with just enough of an edge, hitting all the nostalgic notes of the original caramel-filled cone, but with a sassy underpinning.

filling homemade drumstick cones, via
Dare I make the next round with peanut-studded salted caramel ice cream next time? Dare I add crushed pretzels to the topping? Or is that just gilding the lily?

(Oh, and if you were ever looking to make a uni-tasker into a multitasker, a jalapeño grill rack makes a perfect holder for keeping cones upright as they chill. I knew there was a reason to keep that thing around!)

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