Sadly, there are a shortage of places to enjoy the deliciousness of homemade ice cream in Wichita. Most options in town are chain places or ones that just sell industrially made ice cream. Most of this frozen dessert is fine, but if I am going to spend money on it, I want some of the good stuff. The newest addition to the local ice cream movement, Churn and Burn, adds a most unique element to the frozen dessert parlor, liquid nitrogen.
Churn and Burn is located on Oliver, just south of Kellogg, next to the giant Kwik Shop. There is not much room inside the shop and on a busy night it is downright cramped. Somehow I was able to successfully navigate the crowd, while lugging a baby carrier, without smacking any small child’s ice cream out of their hand. The owners scored some nice memorabilia from Joyland and it is proudly displayed throughout the shop.
What sets Churn and Burn apart from other ice cream places in town is their method. They use super cooled liquid nitrogen to flash freeze their cream instead of the slower mixing method. This provides for a nice show while you are waiting for your order. The ice cream options at Churn and Burn are plentiful, besides a number a listed combinations, you can customize your own with nuts, candies, syrups, and such. The base flavors that are made to order are vanilla, chocolate, soy milk, and coconut milk, but they also offer several pre-made flavors including strawberry balsamic, green tea, and honey. For those looking for a sugar and caffeine blast they offer decadent ice cream and coffee/espresso combinations. And if you just need coffee they have you covered with an array of selections.
The suggested ice cream combinations make it really tough decide what to get. How do you decide between the Mexican Chocolate, with cinnamon, honey, and chocolate sauce, and the Magic Cookie with coconut and chocolate covered graham crackers?! Obviously multiple visits will be needed to fully appreciate the breadth of the menu. Luckily our 3-year-old saw some pre-made Cookie Monster blue ice cream so that became the first selection, in a waffle cone of course. Steph and I then decided on the Nutty Professor, a vanilla ice cream and cold brew coffee mashup with pecans, caramel sauce, and homemade whipped cream.
Due to volume of orders and the fact that most are made to order, we did have to wait several minutes for our ice cream, but it was well worth it. The Cookie Monster featured a blue-tinted vanilla base with small chunks of cookies mixed in. Although fairly basic it had good flavor and smooth consistency. The homemade waffle cone really helped to set this ice cream apart. The cones have a wonderful vanilla flavor and just the right texture. You will not find a better one in town. The Nutty Professor proved to be a good balance of flavors that still allowed the ice cream to be front and center. The coffee and caramel sauce provided nice complementary flavors instead of overwhelming the tasty vanilla base.The caffeine laden drink was just what a couple of tired parents needed on a Saturday evening.
The only knock I have on Churn and Burn’s ice cream is that it lacks the rich creaminess that I prefer. I believe this is simply just a by-product of the process by which they make their ice cream. This minor flaw certainly won’t stop me from making several trips there this spring and summer though. The unique concept and emphasis on made to order desserts makes Churn and Burn one of the top ice cream parlors in town.