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Thanksgiving green bean casserole ice cream bars in Chicago

Pretty Cool Ice Cream in Chicago has created a collection of Thanksgiving specials, with a few new flavors that we’re pretty sure no one screamed for, but might shout about.

Six seasonal flavors include four ice cream bars inspired by Thanksgiving sides: green bean casserole, cornbread stuffing, sweet potato marshmallow and pumpkin pie. You’ll also find a baked Brie cranberry ice cream sandwich and a vegan Ambrosia salad by the pint.

The green bean casserole bar starts with porcini mushroom ice cream on a stick, which is dipped into cheesy white chocolate, which makes a magical shell. Then the whole thing gets finished with crispy slivers of onions and, yes, green beans.

“If it had been gross, we wouldn’t have put it on the menu,” wrote chef Dana Salls Cree by email. “But the porcini ice cream is so good, the shell has a hint of cheddar, the beans are crispy and nutty, and the onions are surprising.”

We have Salls Cree and Pretty Cool pastry chef Alana Gidycz to thank, or blame, for all the creative new flavors.

It’s not the first time they’ve mixed sweet with savory. Their Chicago Mix bar, inspired by the iconic Garrett Mix with cheese and caramel corn, dips salted caramel ice cream into a cheesy popcorn-flecked shell. They also make an everything bagel bar in collaboration with Steingold’s deli, so they knew onion could be an acceptable, if unconventional, ingredient in ice cream.

Everyone who’s tasted the green bean casserole pop has finished it, Salls Cree said, “even if their brain is trying to figure out what to do with the crispy onions.”

The porcini ice cream has a notable pedigree.

“It was part of a mud pie dessert at Blackbird, and we brought in earthy elements to tie into the title,” wrote the chef. She left the group behind the pioneering restaurant to open Pretty Cool with Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits owner Michael Ciapciak in 2018. Blackbird closed due to the pandemic in 2020.

The cornbread stuffing takes sweet corn ice cream dipped in a roasted corn and chocolate shell, then finishes it with a dusting of herbed corn crumble. It has the most savory elements of all the Thanksgiving sides bars with sage, parsley, bay leaves and pepper, but has somehow taken a back seat to the green bean casserole, Salls Cree said.

The baked Brie ice cream, with a cranberry swirl, gets sandwiched between two almond-rosemary cookies, dipped in a brown butter shell and finished with a cookie crumble.

Traditional ice cream fans may find some solace in the sweet potato marshmallow bar, made with sweet potato ice cream, dipped in a brown sugar shell, and topped by toasted pecans and mini marshmallows. Those mini marshmallows also garnish Pretty Cool’s s’mores bar.

The Pumpkin Icicle Pie pop marks the return of an annual seasonal collaboration with Bang Bang. It features pumpkin pie ice cream, dipped in what’s become a signature cinnamon graham cracker magical shell.

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A new vegan Ambrosia salad flavor (as in fruit salad, not the lettuce kind) features pineapple coconut ice cream swirled with marshmallows, pecans, maraschino cherries, candied orange peel and flaked coconut.

You’ll find the green bean casserole, cornbread stuffing and sweet potato casserole pops through Thanksgiving weekend, or until they’re sold out. The pumpkin pie bar and baked brie ice cream sandwich will be available until the end of December.

Pretty Cool is working on an ice cream version of a port wine cheese ball, “round and rolled in nuts just like the real deal,” Salls Cree said.

Look for the ice cream cheese ball to drop the first week of December.

2353 N. California Ave., 773-697-4140; 709 W. Belden Ave., 872-206-8028; prettycoolicecream.com

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