Ice cream season is in full swing, and New England doesn’t lack for places to cool off with a frozen dessert. Plenty of shops and stands offer the usual scoops and cones, but Mohamed Nahas at Molly Moo’s in Quincy likes to play with his food.
Situated halfway between Hancock Street and Wollaston Beach, Molly Moo’s offers sandwiches, cannoli, and cake pops all filled with ice cream, along with smoothies, frappes, and cups and cones of soft serve. There are plenty of ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbet flavors to choose from, and a selection of penny candy. The corner storefront has about a dozen seats.
For Nahas, making a livelihood wasn’t always so sweet. Before opening Molly Moo’s last year, Nahas owned shoe stores but saw the retail industry getting squeezed by the Internet. He considered a new career.
“I always wanted to do ice cream, and you can’t buy it online,” he said.
You certainly can’t get ice cream sandwiches ($5.50) this fresh online. Nahas makes the sandwiches with cookies that he bakes on site, and assembles them upon ordering. The choices for cookies are white chocolate macadamia, brownie, chocolate peanut butter cup, and chocolate chip.
I opted for the chocolate chip cookies to go with Chocolate Disaster, a dark-chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips and brownie pieces.
The cookies are soft and chewy, and they hold a huge hunk of ice cream. Bring an empty stomach, or a friend. The Chocolate Disaster is fantastic, rich, and full-bodied with good chocolate flavor.
The cake pop ($5.50) is even more decadent. Mine had cookies and cream ice cream in the center, surrounded by cake with butter cream incorporated into it. The whole thing is set on a stick, coated in chocolate, and frozen. “It’s a whole cake, all in one,” Nahas said.
The golf-ball-sized pop has the richness of a frozen truffle, with that boxed-mix yellow cake flavor beloved from childhood.
Nahas also makes ice-cream-filled cannoli ($4.50). He doesn’t make the cannoli shells, but they’re nice and crisp, the ends dipped in chocolate. Their sweetness helps smooth out the slightly bitter edges of the burnt sugar ice cream, which had deep caramel tones.
If these sound too heavy, there’s a lighter side to Molly Moo’s. Smoothies ($5 to $7.50) are made with almond milk and fruit, no syrups. There are also Katie’s Kickbutt protein smoothies, developed by a local fitness instructor.
The sorbets are also light, and the passion fruit is so good, I might prefer it to the ice creams. It’s sweet, tart, refreshing, and punchy. The mango sorbet is also good, tropical and a little floral. All pints of sorbet, frozen yogurt, and ice cream cost $6.50.
Green tea ice cream is one of the few flavors made in-house. It’s creamy and not too sweet, but the use of matcha is a little too light-handed.
Nahas gets most of the other ice creams from Christina’s, a supplier in Somerville that he said he settled on after sampling ice cream from around the region for a month.
It’s a good decision. Strawberry ice cream is delicious, luxurious and mellow, yet fruity and fresh, and studded with chunks of berries. Fenway Fudge — chocolate ice cream with chocolate chunks — is similar to Chocolate Disaster, but the latter just squeaks by as the better of the two, its flavor a bit smoother and less sugary.
I’m not a coffee drinker, but my resident aficionado gave the coffee ice cream his approval. He preferred it just ahead of the coffee toffee frozen yogurt, which he described as a sharper coffee with sugary toffee bits.
Two misses are the pistachio almondine and the cake vanilla, which simply tastes like vanilla. The pistachio is overwhelmed by almond extract, an ingredient I’m not fond of, but it’s a popular flavor at the shop.
Other customer favorites are mint chocolate chip, chocolate peanut butter, and black raspberry, Nahas said. When fall arrives, he’ll add pumpkin Oreo and apple pie to the ice cream menu.
This spring and summer have been challenging, Nahas said, as the frequent rain put a damper on business. He said he has offset some losses by introducing ice cream cakes ($35 for 10- to 12-inch cake, available upon order).
The menu also features frappes ($5.50), floats ($4), and soft serve ($2.50 to $4). Toppings include Heath bars, Oreos, Golden Oreos, Reese’s cups, M&Ms, and Butterfinger. There’s also the wall of penny candy (45 cents to $2.50).
Nahas has some expansion plans brewing, including a frozen yogurt bar with self-serve toppings, a food truck that will cater to events, and a location in South Boston. He’s also considering opening a burger restaurant.
Nahas happened upon the Molly Moo’s site when driving by one day, and thought it would be a great place for ice cream. He later learned it had been an ice cream shop and a candy shop in previous incarnations over the decades.
“The location has such great ice cream and candy karma,” he said.Shirley Goh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her blog at www.whatabout-secondbreakfast.blogspot.com.