You know you’re an ice cream freak when you make a special trip out into a snowstorm just to get your favorite flavor.
Murray’s Ice Cream & Cookies makes some of the best and funnest ice cream flavors I’ve tasted. Located in the historic Westport District of Kansas City, it has repeatedly been voted the best ice cream in Kansas City by a number of sources.
Murray’s closes every winter around the first week of December and reopens mid-March (conveniently, just in time for my birthday!!!). On it’s last day of business each year, which happens to be tomorrow (Sunday, December 3), what is left of their inventory goes on sale for half-price. They say the lines go out the door and the place is insane, despite the fact that it’s usually bone-chillingly cold outside.
Despite my love for the frozen stuff and Murray’s fame, I had never managed to make it to the tiny parlor cum cookie and coffee bar. This past week, I decided it was time. I wanted to make sure I got to try their famed frozen creams before they close for the year.
As many of you know, this past Wednesday and Thursday a huge snowstorm plowed through the mid-section of the U.S. In fact, parts of my hometown were buried beneath a good foot of snow – on top of a good two inches of sheer ice. Fearing the worst, I swung by Murray’s, just as the snowstorm had laid its first few inches down, to grab a few pints.
Most would think I was mad (the “fear factor” of the whole thing here in Kansas City was really absurd), but the good people at Murray’s and I clearly are ice cream devotees – I trekked through snow, and they stayed open.
I’ve heard that Murray’s has made over 200 some recipes over the lifetime of the operation (which I think, if I remember correctly from glancing at the sign as I scurried throught the blinding snow, is around 20 years). There are about sixteen or so flavors for sale at any one time. Many are so popular that people can request to be put on a flavor’s “call list.” When Murray’s that flavor, they’ll give the members of that flavor’s call list a ring. Flavors like “One Drunk Monk” (Frangelico ice cream with hazelnuts and chocolate flecks) and “3 Nuts in a Tub” (vanilla ice cream with chocolate covered peanuts, walnuts and almonds) have a cult-like following.
Their stock was already pretty bare when I arrived. Clearly, they hadn’t had any problems selling their goodies. I tried a few flavors, including “Cinnamon Graham Craker” (with large gobs of graham crackers), “Pumpkin Pie” (with chunks of pie crust), “Orange Chocolate Fudge” (this was odd – an orange flavored ice cream – think creamcicle – with bits of gooey fudge), and “Chocolate Flake Fromage,“ the one flavor that they always have (cream cheese ice cream with flakes of chocolate throughout). Two which made particularly strong showings that blistery day were the “Cinnameg” (cinnamon and nutmeg) and “Rum Raisin” (with walnuts). They were low on both, so I bought out what they had and headed home.
Murray’s ice cream is very creamy. None of that lowfat business. All of their ingredients are fresh and they incorporate them abundently – these are full-flavored treats. The Cinnameg is just that – cinnamon and nutmeg. The Rum Raisin is pleasingly rum-y and full of raisins and bits of walnuts. Excellent!!
Oh yeah, they make cookies too. You can buy their various cookie doughs by the pound. But I didn’t have time to bother with the baked goods. Note to self: when they reopen next spring, check out the cookie selections.
Murray’s is located in a small cul-de-sac near Californo’s just off of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Murray’s Ice Cream & Cookies
4120 Pennsylvania Avenue
Kansas City, Missouri 64111
To my knowledge, they do not have a website. If anyone finds it or knows of an online site for the store, please let me know.