[Photograph: Lucy Schaeffer]

Ample Hills: Doing Brooklyn Proud. That's not what it says on the door of the Prospect Heights ice creamery, but it should. Since they opened, owners Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna have been churning out small batches of hand-crafted ice cream made of the freshest, most local ingredients available. The shop itself features a rotating menu of 16 flavors, along with floats and milkshakes. They usually sell out of customers' favorites and in the summer, a line snakes out the door. Lucky for us, then, that their book, Ample Hills Creamery: Secrets and Stories from Brooklyn's Favorite Ice Cream Shop has arrived.

One of the main raisons d'etre of Ample Hills Creamery is for the kids. They make ice cream "for your kids, for our kids, and for the kids inside all of us." It's a heartwarming mission statement that's reflected in the book. Most cookbooks nowadays are arranged by season. Ample Hills has decided to organize theirs by mood, and uses hand-drawn animal mascots and other doodles to escort you through the recipes, staff members, and customers who make Ample Hills one of Brooklyn's most beloved ice cream shops.

To that end, this is a book you can happily share with your children. They'll love the drawings, and will want to help make their favorite flavor of ice cream with you. There are more than enough flavors to choose from that are kid-friendly, like Cotton Candy. And believe it or not, it's made with natural flavors and colors, like all Ample Hills flavors. Another thing that makes it worth sharing with kids: the techniques to making the ice cream itself aren't too difficult. If you have a decent ice cream maker, and are willing to be daring, none of the recipes in this book should be off-limits.

For our feature, we chose recipes that showed off the combination of simple flavors and solid technique that makes Ample Hills ice cream so popular. First, we're having PB&J, which is peanut butter-laced sweet cream ice cream, fluffed up with spoonfuls of grape jelly. Serve it right after you've folded the jelly in, and you've got something spectacular. Next is Sweet as Honey, a honeycomb candy-studded sweet cream ice cream, and one of Ample Hills' top ten best sellers. There's also Stout and Pretzels, a dark chocolate and Guinness ice cream with pieces of chocolate-covered pretzels. It can banish any bad mood. And last but most indulgent, Ooey Gooey Butter Cake. This beautiful monster uses a cream cheese ice cream base to hold fat chunks of butter-soaked yellow cake. It tastes like birthdays.

As always, there will be plenty of tips to help you on your ice cream journey. Perhaps you'll find a new favorite flavor along the way.

Win A Copy!

Thanks to the generous folks over at Stewart, Tabori & Chang, we are giving away five (5) copies of Ample Hills Creamery this week. All you have to do is tell us what your favorite flavor of ice cream is!


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