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A Canadiana Sweet Treat for You to Make

Ice-Cream Toppings: Recipes and Facts

Let's celebrate the cold by getting creative in the kitchen! Try these simple recipes for ice-cream toppings that are inspired by plants that need the cold—they're sure to cool you off in the summer heat.

Did you know that without the cold we would not have maple syrup or apples? Some of our beloved fruits cannot exist without cold weather.

After going dormant over the winter, apples, cherries, plums, and strawberries, for example, need a slow start. Temperatures ranging from 0°C to 7°C (called chill hours) are needed for these plants to break out of dormancy and for buds to develop into flowers or leaves. After those lovely flowers are pollinated, they turn into the fruit that we love.

Depending on the variety, apple trees can need as many as 1100 hours of cool temperatures to make fruit. Cherry trees need to chill too, and some may need up to 900 hours. And what about our favorite Canadiana sweet sap? Without cold, the sap in maple trees would move from the roots to the branches too quickly to be tapped.

Make sure to share and tag your masterpiece creation: #NatureTreat.

Download the recipes (PDF).

Cherry Chill Treat

Makes 4 servings.

Nathalie Rodrigue © Canadian Museum of Nature


300 g cherries (packaged frozen cherries do not require pitting)
3 tbsp white sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream
Mint leaves (optional)

1. If using frozen cherries, thaw them enough that you can chop them.
2. If using fresh cherries, pit them.
3. Reserve four cherries for garnish, if desired.
4. Roughly chop the remaining cherries any way you want.
5. Put the chopped cherries in a pot.
6. Add the sugar.
7. Turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil.
8. Stir occasionally, and watch as the mixture bubbles for 5 minutes.
9. Add the cinnamon and vanilla.
10. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the consistency is thicker and the topping sticks to your spoon.
11. Let the topping cool at room temperature.
12. Keep refrigerated.

Keep the topping chunky, or for a smoother consistency, puree it and then pass it through a fine mesh sieve.

Pour onto vanilla ice cream and you are set! Add a cherry and mint for garnish. Yum!

Maple Apple-Butter Sweetness

Makes 4 servings.

Madison O'Connor © Canadian Museum of Nature


4 Cortland apples (this kind retains its pink colour, but you can also use other kinds of apples)
3 tbsp butter
½ cup water
½ cup maple syrup
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream

1. Wash and core the apples.
2. Roughly chop 3 of the apples; reserve the fourth for garnish.
3. Put the apples, butter and water in a pot.
4. Bring to a boil.
5. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Reduce the heat to medium low.
7. Add the maple syrup and cinnamon.
8. Cover and simmer until the apples are soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
9. Let the topping cool at room temperature.
10. Puree the cooled topping and pass it though a fine mesh sieve.
11. Keep refrigerated.
12. Just before serving, thinly slice the fourth apple for garnish.

Drizzle over vanilla ice cream for a true Canadiana treat!

Garnish with apple slices.

Download the recipes (PDF).

Special thanks to Chef Kalidas Cappuccino for creating these yummy recipes.

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