06/15/15 10:32am

Summer may not officially begin until next Sunday, but the sticky weather these past few days has signaled that ice cream season is most definitely here. It seems like a new ice cream shop opens just about every month these days, and each new debut highlights a fresh attempt by these artisan creameries to out-crazy each other. Whether you prefer your ice cream paired with peanut butter, gin, or gravitate towards old-school simplicity like chocolate and vanilla, here are 10 local ice cream creations you may want to take a bath in sample responsibly.

1. Ample Hills & Baked: Black and Walt Ice Cream Sandwich

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This ultimate Brooklyn mash-up, which was just added to the menus at Ample Hills and Baked, combines classic New York black-and-white cookies from Baked with quite a filling indeed by Ample Hills Creamery. Their vanilla malted ice cream is rolled in malted chocolate Rice Krispie crunch and sandwiched between two layers of gooey hot fudge before being placed on the black and whites. Named for Ample Hill’s cow Walt (in turn named for Walt Whitman, of course), the sandwich is available all summer at Baked at all three Ample Hills locations. Baked: 359 Van Brunt Street, bakednyc.com; Ample Hills: 623 Vanderbilt Avenue, 305 Nevins Street, and Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, amplehills.com   (more…)

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03/13/15 10:30am

Baby’s first birthday party seems easy, compared to planning events for older kids, whose interests have to be taken into account. If you’re still searching for a unique birthday experience that goes beyond the playspace (or the restaurant party space), here’s a few fun options that will be enjoyable for all kids, and will especially satisfy the scientific set.

Kids learn physics by making ice cream on a bike at Ample Hills Creamery. Photo: Lauren Adams

Kids learn physics by making ice cream on a bike at Ample Hills Creamery. Photo: Lauren Adams

Ample Hills Creamery, Prospect Height/ Gowanus

To celebrate the arrival of warmer weather, indulge in an ice cream making party at either the Vanderbilt or Gowanus location, which has a dedicated party room. At either place, the Ample Hills staff gives a kid-friendly tutorial on the science of ice cream, and then kids get a chance to pedal an actual cream-churning bicycle to whip up a batch of their own. While the ice cream freezes, kids engage in a craft project like making a placemat, tote bag or a frame (for the keepsake photo they’ll receive of them on the bike). Finally, the guests will be served the homemade ice cream that they made, on top of fresh waffles with a choice of sundae toppings. Parents can choose to provide adult guests with bottomless French-pressed coffee (an additional $35) to keep up with their sugar buzzed children. But outside food, drinks and decorations can also be brought in at no charge. For 20 children, the cost of the entire party is $575 plus gratuities. This is great for kids of any age, but the sweet spot is probably five to nine years old. Book at least two months ahead to ensure the date you want. (more…)

09/30/14 8:57am
Practicing archery is actually surprisingly relaxing. Photo: Brooklyn Based

Practicing archery is actually surprisingly relaxing. Photo: Brooklyn Based

Welcome to Date Night, our new monthly series where we suggest a date that will shake up your night out routine. Whether or not it’s the kind of date that might end up between the sheets is entirely up to you–we’re just here to tell you about a good time that’s ready to be had somewhere in Brooklyn. 

The date: My new favorite night out with my husband is a trip to Gotham Archery in Gowanus, followed by dinner somewhere in the neighborhood (he favors Dinosaur BBQ, my vote is for Littleneck). If you really wanted to gild the lily, you could even follow dinner with a barrel-aged cocktail and a round of shuffleboard at The Royal Palms (or check their food truck schedule for dinner options there), and then a cone at Ample Hills. But let’s start simple.

If archery sounds like something that will make you feel frustrated and grumpy and un-datelike, take it from me, it won’t. I am the world’s worst sport at doing new things that I’m not good at, and I’m also competitive, and married to someone who is great at target shooting. I was sure the whole archery experiment would end in tears, or at the very least, bickering. Instead, it was mellow and fun and left me wanting to go back.  (more…)

04/28/14 9:00am


When Ample Hills Creamery opened in Prospect Heights three years ago this month, the demand was so intense that they ran out of ice cream their first week in business. Fast forward a few years and Ample Hills likely has the most loyal and fervent followers of any ice cream purveyor in Brooklyn. With warm weather finally here and ice cream season starting to seep into our consciousness, Ample Hills has grand plans to extend their Brooklyn footprint far and wide across the borough in 2014.

Their flagship shop on Vanderbilt Avenue is still open of course, but Ample Hills also recently debuted two waterfront kiosks that will be serving up scoops for the rest of the spring and summer–one at Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park and another adjacent to Jane’s Carousel in Dumbo. Moving forward, they’re also anticipating a summer opening for their biggest endeavor yet, a 3,600-square-foot, two-story production facility in Gowanus that will allow them to quadruple their production capacity while retaining the same all-organic process they’ve utilized since day one. The Gowanus outpost of Ample Hills will include a small shop and a rooftop space, and will allow them to churn out enough ice cream to start selling packed pints around the borough later this summer.

Finally, the folks behind Ample Hills have one more trick up their sleeve: an ice cream cookbook that just hit the shelves. This drool-worthy tome is packed with photos of their favorite flavors, and includes instructions on how to handle the basics of ice cream making and whip up a classic vanilla bean and dark chocolate. But of course, it’s heavy on Ample Hills signatures: whacked-out, off-the-wall recipes, from Drunken Thanksgiving (where pumpkin pie meets bourbon) to Peanut Butter and Fluff. They were also kind enough to share the recipe for their trademark flavor, Salted Crack Caramel, with Brooklyn Based. So if you can’t wait for their new facility to open and have a box of Saltines and a sweet tooth on hand, you’ll want to keep reading.

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07/22/13 10:06am

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The cones at L’Albero are scooped with artistic flair. Photo: Brendan Spiegel

It hasn’t even been two months since OddFellows broke out their tequila-pineapple cones and grabbed the craziest-ice-cream-in-Brooklyn crown from Ample Hills, and we’ve already got a new contender for that coveted title, and this one comes with some serious cred. L’Albero dei Gelati is based in Lombardy, Italy, and has three shops throughout country and a cult following for their savory flavors. When two of the co-owners recently relocated to Park Slope, they brought the first stateside branch of the gelato company along with them.

On the menu: pungent gelato varieties like blue cheese, along with sorbet flavors that include yellow bell pepper. Traditionalists can opt for less far-out flavors like bacio di dama–“kiss from a lady”–made from a crispy Italian cookie, or la nociolla, which combines hazelnuts from Piedmont with pistachios from Sicily. There are also tart raspberry and blueberry sorbets, and even straight-up chocolate or vanilla, all served from a street-facing window that has drawn steady crowds since opening last Thursday.

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06/20/13 2:18pm

Get out on the water for free.

UPDATE: This article was originally published in July 3, 2012, it’s been updated to reflect all time and price changes everything should be up to date as of June 20, 2013, but please let us know in the comments if we missed anything. Here are a few of our favorite hot weather things to do in Brooklyn (though honestly, we’d eat ice cream for dinner anywhere, anytime). Bookmark this list for those Sunday afternoons where you keep texting back and forth with your friends saying, “I don’t know, what do YOU want to do?”

Get on a Boat
Brooklyn is a great place for small boat enthusiasts of all levels, with a plethora of boathouses offering free access to boats, equipment and the open water. There are several organizations that offer free open paddle sessions, which are limited to 20 minutes in order to accommodate high demand. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse, located just south of Pier 1 in DUMBO, is a popular one, offering free walk-up kayaking sessions from 10am-4pm on Saturdays and from 5:30-7:30pm on some Thursday evenings (check the schedule first). The Red Hook Boaters have free kayaking on Thursday nights from 5:30-7:30pm and Sunday afternoons from 1-5pm. Simply show up at the launch site at the end of Coffey Street in Louis Valentino Jr. Pier Park and you’ll be floating in a protected cove in the New York Harbor in no time.

Canoers who aren’t hung up on pristine waterways can brave the sludge on the Gowanus Canal on Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons, when the Gowanus Dredgers Club launches self-guided tours from 2nd Street on the west side of the canal. In Greenpoint, the North Brooklyn Boat Club is running a boathouse, complete with club-owned and donated boats and gear, out of a location on Ash and McGuiness. A $40 annual membership means that you can participate in practice paddling sessions on Wednesday nights and some Saturdays. In Queens, the L.I.C. Community Boathouse offers free walk-up kayaking out of Hallets Cove in Astoria on selected weekend afternoons. –-Kate Hooker

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