Ample Hills

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I declared my Best Ice Cream In NYC Challenge from Refinery29’s list, and, so it begins. For my first stop, I was off to Ample Hills at their brand new, second location in Gowanus, Brooklyn. 

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Complete with an ample (no pun intended) amount of seating inside, and on their second floor, this new location also includes a rooftop patio with benches and tables to enjoy your ice cream outdoors with a view. They have over a dozen flavors to choose from, and they’re all handcrafted in small batches, using fresh, local, all-natural milk, cream and eggs. 

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And, just like my favorite open kitchen format, they have a glass panel to their kitchen, where you can watch the masters hard at work. 

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I chose their Salted Crack Caramel (salted butter caramel ice cream with pieces of Deb’s famous crack cookies (saltines, butter, sugar, chocolate)) in a Pretzel Cone. Holy $h!t. This was so amazing and delicious. First off, the ice cream is rich and creamy in texture, and the flavor is warm and dynamic, offering the perfect salty and sweet mix. And the pieces of the crack cookies are not just little bits here and there, there are big, generous chunks throughout. And, they’re ridiculous. Also, this homemade pretzel cone is insane, it’s crisp, but has a sort of softness to it, and compliments the ice cream flavor like whoa (that’s a technical term, introduced by Joey Lawrence). And let’s be honest, you have to get a cone anyway, because turning down a cone for a cup is like refusing a free snack. Who does that? Not this girl. 

The Shorts:
Name: Ample Hills
Location: 305 Nevins St., Brooklyn
The Long and Short: Would I go back? No, I hate delicious, scratch-made ice cream that tastes like heaven. Sarcasm. Yes, I’d like to live there.
Would I recommend it? 100% guaranty that you’ll get addicted. And you can sample lots of flavors so you can wish you could order them all.  

Fancy Trail Bark

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I wanted to make something simple and fun. I also have a holiday party to go to, and thought it would be nice to bring something homemade. At first, I thought about peppermint bark, but then I thought, not everyone likes white chocolate…and the peppermint pieces are super annoying when they get stuck in your teeth. So, I went with the idea of dark chocolate bark with some fun additions. Best part is, the only thing that needs to stay consistent is how to make the chocolate. Everything else can be improvised and done to your own preferences. I’ll share the version I chose to make.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 16 oz of the chocolate of your choice (I used 72% dark chocolate)
  • dry roasted pecan pieces (however much you want)
  • dried cranberries (however much you want)
  • yogurt covered pretzels (however much you want)

First, you’ll need to get a small pot with about 1-2 inches of water in it. Put that at a low heat so that a steam is created (you don’t want boiling water).

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Then, you’ll need to create a “double boiler” effect. You can do this by taking a metal mixing bowl that fits on top of the small pot, or, just a larger pot, which is what I did (this prevents the chocolate from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pot and heats it gradually). 

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Let about half of the chocolate melt before adding the second half in. 

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I chose to do a trail-mix inspired bark, so I used dried cranberries, dry roasted pecan pieces and yogurt covered pretzels. 

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While the chocolate is melting, line a tray (a 9 inch one will do) with parchment paper or tin foil. Then, sprinkle some of the ingredients at the bottom. 

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When the chocolate is melted (time will vary, but don’t turn up the heat to rush it, let it take it’s time), let it cool for just a bit (about a minute), and then pour it into the tray. Gently shake the tray so that the chocolate spreads out evenly. Then, keep going nuts with your toppings, pressing them into the chocolate so that they stick once the chocolate sets. 

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Once everything is cooled and set after about an hour, take out the bark and break into pieces. And then…enjoy! 

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Recipe-friendly version:

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 16 oz of the chocolate of your choice (I used 72% dark chocolate)
  • dry roasted pecan pieces (however much you want)
  • dried cranberries (however much you want)
  • yogurt covered pretzels (however much you want)

First, you’ll need to get a small pot with about 1-2 inches of water in it. Put that at a low heat so that a steam is created (you don’t want boiling water).

Then, you’ll need to create a “double boiler” effect. You can do this by taking a metal mixing bowl that fits on top of the small pot, or, just a larger pot, which is what I did (this prevents the chocolate from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pot and heats it gradually). 

Let about half of the chocolate melt before adding the second half in.

I chose to do a trail-mix inspired bark, so I used dried cranberries, dry roasted pecan pieces and yogurt covered pretzels. 

While the chocolate is melting, line a tray (a 9 inch one will do) with parchment paper or tin foil. Then, sprinkle some of the ingredients at the bottom.

When the chocolate is melted (time will vary, but don’t turn up the heat to rush it, let it take it’s time), let it cool for just a bit (about a minute), and then pour it into the tray. Gently shake the tray so that the chocolate spreads out evenly. Then, keep going nuts with your toppings, pressing them into the chocolate so that they stick once the chocolate sets. 

Once everything is cooled and set after about an hour, take out the bark and break into pieces. And then…enjoy!