Ample Hills Creamery by Brian Smith, review by Melissa Fox
I love homemade ice cream. There's something about throwing cream and other fresh ingredients in an ice cream churn that just says Summer. (Granted, I love homemade ice cream in January, too, but that's beside the point.) For years, I've been using an old Ben & Jerry's ice cream cookbook to get inspiration and recipes, but on a whim I picked up Ample Hills Creamery just to see if there was anything interesting.
Immediately, I was taken in by the gorgeous full-page photographs of the ice cream. It just looks delicious, like you could eat it straight off the page. I was sold on that alone. But then, I started making the ice cream.
It's not a beginner's cookbook: for many of the recipes, it involves cooking the base over the stove, using a candy thermometer to get it exactly right. (In other words: my younger kids wanted to help, but it was beyond their patience level.) But it is so worth it. We've tried about a half-dozen recipes, from Chocolate Cookies and Cream to Butter Toffee to Peanut Butter (with Reeces Peanut Butter Cups), and every single one has been a hit.(Additionally, and this is what really sold it for me, I learned how to make smooth, creamy chocolate ice cream, something that has eluded me for years.)
Interspersed with the history of Ample Hills Creamery in Brooklyn, there are a wide range of ice creams to try as well. Classic flavors like chocolate and strawberry, yes, but there's a huge variety in the 200 page book: exotic (Salted Crack Caramel, which includes chocolate covered saltine crackers) to the kid-friendly (Cotton Candy and Bubblegum) to the adult (The Dude, which is made with vodka and coffee) to the coffee-lover's (Mocha Flake, coffee and chocolate), to the plain weird (Double Dutch Love, which is corn ice cream with chocolate covered ice cream cone bits). There's something to please everyone.
It's enough to keep me in ice cream heaven for a long, long time.