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Blue Bell introduces Rockslide Brownie Ice Cream to celebrate National Ice Cream Month

BRENHAM - With a little something for everyone, Blue Bell Creameries is introducing in July, in honor of National Ice Cream Month, a brand new ice cream flavor, Rockslide Brownie--a dark chocolate ice cream with pieces of chocolate brownies, miniature marshmallows, chopped almonds, pecans and walnuts, all surrounded by a rich caramel swirl.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month, recognizing ice cream as a fun and nutritious food enjoyed by 90 percent of Americans. He urged the people of the United States to celebrate with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.” Every year, in honor of National Ice Cream Month, Blue Bell Creameries, the third best-selling ice cream in the U.S., introduces an especially delectable, new ice cream flavor.

Rockslide Brownie Ice Cream is an imaginative combination of several ingredients that have interesting histories. The story of chocolate, of course, begins at least 2000 years ago with the Aztecs and Mayans, who imbibed chocolate as an unsweetened beverage. It was the Spanish who first added sugar to the chocolate drink, but chocolate sweets or candy weren’t developed until the time of the Industrial Revolution.

Caramel, sometimes described simply as “burnt sugar” is actually sugar that has been slowly heated until it turns to a light golden to amber color. The combination of chocolate and caramel is not new, although it is especially popular these days--particularly with the addition of salt.

According to at least one food historian, Milton Hershey was the genius who first thought of uniting the two flavors in a candy bar. In 1893, he visited the Chicago World’s Fair and became interested in machinery on display from Dresden that was used to make German chocolate. Hershey ended up buying the machines and the very first product he produced was a caramel with a sweet chocolate coating, long before the famous Hershey bar!

The marshmallows in Rockslide Brownie Ice Cream also have an intriguing history. The “marsh-mallow” plant, which gives the marshmallow its name, literally grows in marshes. As far back as the time of the ancient Egyptians, juice extracted from the plant’s roots was thought to soothe a sore throat. In the 1800s, doctors would cook marshmallow juice with egg whites and sugar and whip it into a foamy meringue that, when hardened, would create a candy that a child could suck or nibble to ease a sore throat.

In the early 1800s, owners of small sweet shops in France began to make the whipped marshmallow sap simply as a candy. The sweet was popular but labor-intensive to produce. Finally French manufacturers began to substitute egg whites or gelatin, combined with cornstarch, for the marshmallow juice, to form the chewy base of the candy. In 1948, an American named Alex Doumak invented the modern marshmallow by developing an extrusion process: the marshmallow mixture is pushed through tubes and extruded as a soft cylinder which is cut into sections. The sections are then rolled in powdered cornstarch and confectioner’s sugar, and voila! the marshmallow we know and love today.

All of these great-tasting ingredients are deliciously combined together with a variety of flavorful nuts to create Rockslide Brownie. Celebrate National Ice Cream Month with a bowl of this new, utterly irresistible flavor from Blue Bell.

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