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‘Ample Hills Creamery: Secrets and Stories from Brooklyn’s Favorite Ice Cream Shop’

A chilling read: Quirky P’Heights ice cream parlor releases cookbook

Coneheads: Ample Hills owners Brian and Smith Jackie Cuscuna, and illustrator Lauren Kaelin, right, enjoy the frozen fruits of their labor.
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There is nothing vanilla about Ample Hills Creamery.

The Prospect Heights ice cream parlor does stock some in its freezer, but it is better known for its zany flavor combinations — such as “the munchies,” made with potato chips, pretzels, Ritz crackers, and mini M&Ms, or the “coco berry blast,” which crams strawberry malted ice cream with Cocoa Puffs and Cocoa Pebbles cereals.

Now the husband-and-wife team behind the store is giving fans the inside scoop on their freaky frozen treats with their new cookbook, “Ample Hills Creamery: Secrets and Stories from Brooklyn’s Favorite Ice Cream Shop,” which the pair will launch at Dumbo’s PowerHouse Arena on April 16. The book doesn’t just contain the recipes for some of the store’s best-selling flavors, the duo explained, it also includes customer-submitted creations, games, and puzzles.

“We didn’t want to write a traditional cookbook — there are so many good ones already,” Jackie Cuscuna, who co-owns Ample Hills with her husband Brian Smith, and also works as a high-school teacher. “We wanted to create something aimed at families and activities for children to do, telling a story that’s bigger than just recipes.”

To that end, “Ample Hills Creamery” is written as a children’s book, telling the story of Walt (a cow), Witty (a chicken), and Pub (a pig) — characters that have been central in the shop’s marketing — as they go on a great adventure through Brooklyn looking for a never-ending goblet of ice cream.

Each chapter is organized by moods, such as “blissful,” “sluggish,” and “inspired” — emotions any Brooklynite waiting for the G train can relate to.

“If you’re heartbroken, you should make ‘ooey gooey butter cake,’ ” said Smith, who is a former science fiction screenwriter.

The dessert-loving duo employed the services of local writer and illustrator Lauren Kaelin, who drew all the images in the book, and also filled its pages with Brooklyn-centric puzzles — such as finding Walt in Prospect Park.

The borough is a key ingredient in Ample Hills’ success — Cuscuna and Smith source ingredients from local shops such as One Girl Cookies, Brooklyn Roasting Company, and Liddabit Sweets. And soon even more of Brooklyn will be getting a taste, when Ample Hills opens its second store in Gowanus. The duo has even created a funny new flavor inspired by the neighborhood’s infamous canal — “toxic sludge.”

“Ample Hills Creamery” cookbook launch and ice-cream tasting at PowerHouse Arena [37 Main St. between Front and Water streets, (718) 666–3049, powerhousearena.com]. April 16 at 7 pm. Free.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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