It's like a mad science experiment going on behind the Scoop's shop counter.
Grasping a liquid nitrogen-filled stainless steel pitcher with a thick, royal-blue glove, co-owner Jennifer Davis pours the substance into the commercial-sized mixer that's slowly beating a combination of cream, milk, sugars and bananas.
"Oh, gotta put on my protective eyewear," Davis says, flipping down her sunglasses to her face.
As she transfers the negative 321-degree liquid from the pitcher, the bowl begins to spew vapors — it's like a witch's cauldron.
"It's getting crazy!" Davis exclaims.
After three full pours of the magic ingredient, a sprinkle of toffee, and some tastes along the way, the banoffee pie ice cream is ready for eating, taking about 30 minutes from prep work to the delicious final product.
Besides a seriously short processing time, the difference between liquid nitrogen frozen ice cream and regular ice cream is the smooth, creamy end result, thanks to incredibly small ice crystals.
Davis isn't pretending the process is new; it's been around for at least a century. Dippin' Dots, flash-dried liquid nitrogen ice cream in ball form, was invented in the late 1980s. High-end chefs have been impressing diners with made-to-order ice cream for decades. In 2009, San Francisco's Smitten Ice Cream kicked off the trend, inspiring more liquid nitrogen shops around the country until the Scoop took up the cause in Spokane in June.
For Davis, it's less about the process and more about the fact that she can make ice cream in her shop without having to rely on a separate storage facility.
"I don't think this method will ever eclipse the regular way of making ice cream," Davis says. "But it's the perfect method for the small business."
The Scoop will continue to sell Brain Freeze Creamery ice cream, too. The shop's own ice cream is simply an accompaniment, something Davis has been dreaming of since she took over in 2011.
Currently, rotating Scoop flavors include Nutella, Butter Love (Butterfinger), chocolate chip cookie dough, brownie crunch, vegan piña colada, caramel toffee, banoffee pie and more. ♦
The Scoop • 1001 W. 25th • Open Mon-Fri, 7 am-9 pm; Sat-Sun, 9 am-9 pm • thescoopspokane.com • 535-7171