Thursday, June 16, 2011

Moose Tracks and Connie's Kisses

My beautiful bride and I took our evening walk again tonight, as we do most nights after we close up our shop, and went down to Grannie’s Ice Cream and Cookie Jars shop in the center of Metamora for some ice cream. They (Grannie’s) are open until seven every evening these days, so we know we can count on them being there. There are few things better than some of their delicious ice cream to cool you down at the end of a hot day.

When we walked in, Doris (proprietor of Jackie B’s in the old Post Office building) and Pat (Ramos, of silhouette-cutting fame- her shop is on South Main) were sitting there talking while watching Connie make waffle cones.

Grannie had already gone home, so Connie was running the place by herself, not too hard since there was not too much traffic through the shop after six o’clock.

Connie interrupted her work to serve my wife and me our ice cream, in between pulling waffle cones off the special irons she makes them on. Brenda got to talking with Doris and Pat, as I studied what Connie was doing.

Probably most people just take waffle cones for granted. Buy ‘em full of ice cream, and they taste great and crunchy all the way to the bottom of the cone. But, as I came to realize, there is a real art and skill to making great waffle cones. They are so good that we’ve had people write emails to the Metamora website asking us where they get those great waffle cones from (we tell them they’ve got to go to Grannies to get them.)

Connie was turning out about two waffle cones every two minutes, using two grills. The work station is very hot and steamy as the waffle irons are closed on fresh batter each time. I asked her how many of the cones she had to make- she said three batches was her goal today. I thought, that doesn’t sound too bad- only three batches.

Connie and her waffle cone making art
Then she said that there were about sixty cones to a batch. That’s a hundred and eighty cones that evening. I asked her how many evenings a week she spent doing that, and the answer was Wednesday through Sunday, usually three batches each of those days, and sometimes more during the day depending on how much business there was.

That’s a lot of waffle cones!

 As I studied Connie’s fluid motions making the cones as she talked with me, I admired the skill involved. The perfect amount of batter must be dipped onto the iron- too much and there is too much waste (I saw very little waste around her waffle irons) and too little doesn’t give you a full sized cone. Close the iron slowly and carefully. When I asked, she said if you accidentally dropped the top half of the iron when closing it, you had to hurry up and dip more batter into that grill to make a full cone, because dropping the top would splash out about half the batter, making a mess on the clothing of the cone-making person.

Once the hot waffle comes off the grill, with her bare hands, she quickly places the soft waffle on a cute little waffle-rolling device, using a waffle-rolling aluminum-looking cone-shaped thingy with a handle to quickly roll the soft waffle into the proper shape, then shove the shaped cone into a paper cone-holder. She has to move quickly because the sucker is hot!

She can slow down once the cone is in the paper holder, but she isn’t done yet. We now get to the headline subject of Connie’s kisses.

The final step in making the waffle cone is to take a Hershey’s chocolate kiss (I hope I’m not violating any trademark laws here) of the saucer in front of her and place it in the bottom of the cone, pointy-side down. A visual check is immediately required to ensure proper positioning of the kiss.

As I watched and discussed this whole process with Connie, I noticed that about half the time she tossed or dropped the kiss in place and immediately put the cone in the rack to cool, whereas the other half of the time she had to use a table knife to adjust the position of the kiss. She told me it’s a skill thing- sometimes she has better aim.

As I continued to watch, her little saucer ran out of kisses. She went to her freezer and came back with the saucer full again- but they were all wrapped in foil, just like you see ‘em in the grocery store. While we talked, she patiently unwrapped each kiss. Let’s see, a hundred and eighty kisses an evening…. She said they buy them ten pounds at a time. Gotta unwrap them a handful at a time because if you unwrap them too soon, they’ll melt.

So, every time you eat a waffle cone at Grannie’s, you are getting one of Connie’s kisses. Which I guess doesn’t sound too bad, unless you go there when her dad, Paul, is making the cones, in which case every cone contains one of Paul’s kisses. Now there’s something to think about!

Intent on learning the entire waffle cone making business, I asked Connie about the batter. It’s a mix they purchase from Gold Medal supply in Indianapolis. But, of course, the mix is “doctored up” to make it “right” for Connie and Grannie. Secret process, of course. But she said the people at Gold Medal told them they go through more of the mix than anyone else they know. The stuff comes thirty pounds to a case, and they just got another ten cases in.

I didn’t tell you about Connie’s “bucketing” process to store the cones without crushing until used, but you can ask her yourself about that. The only thing I’ll tell you about this is that they are going to be in trouble when their current bucket supply gets used up, because there ice cream is now delivered in cardboard pails instead of plastic, and the cardboard ones can’t be re-used for storing waffle cones (or anything else, for that matter.)

So, to wrap up this article, Connie buys her kisses ten pounds at time at Sam’s, and passes ‘em out one at a time to everyone who buys a waffle cone full of ice cream.

Oh, and Moose Tracks? Absolutely my favorite ice cream flavor at Grannies- after all, it’s got both peanut butter and chocolate in it!


  1. Anonymous7:11 PM

    Grannies ice cream is the best EVER!!!!!! Glad I live just a 3 minute drive from her shop! :) that's my families best part of summer... Mmmm! Grannies ice cream in a big ol crunchy waffle cone!

  2. it is a lot of fun for the hole famlie and frends so come now for fun.
    (my granddaughter Ella)

  3. Anonymous8:06 PM

    coming down tomorrow from Muncie because the lines were sooooo long from canal days