Best Served Cold
Hot enough for you yet? Summer is just beginning, but as temperatures skyrocket, it's good to be prepared—and by prepared, we mean ready to enjoy frozen foods and drinks.
Whether that means ice cream, gelato, an ice pop or a slushy adult beverage, these six new cookbooks are up to the task. Get ready to spend some quality time with your freezer.
① Big Gay Ice Cream: Saucy Stories & Frozen Treats: Going All the Way with Ice Cream, by Bryan Petroff and Douglas Quint (Clarkson Potter, April 28, $25)
The award for most original cookbook concept goes to Bryan Petroff and Douglas Quint, founders of the Big Gay Ice Cream trucks and shops in New York City, Philadelphia and (very soon) Los Angeles. Using a high school yearbook as inspiration, the book allows for varying levels of effort. Freshman year focuses on store-bought toppings like olive oil, peanut butter and peppercorns, while sophomore year moves into homemade options, including toasted curried coconut and orange-tequila caramel. Junior year tackles sundaes, floats and shakes, so you can create your very own Salty Pimp (a signature cone of vanilla ice cream, salted caramel and sea salt, dipped in chocolate). By senior year it's time to make ice cream and sorbet in flavors like Dirty Banana, Rocky Road House and Peppercoke. Petroff and Quint share their story with just enough Auntie Mame references scattered throughout.
② Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream, by Laura O'Neill, Benjamin and Pete Van Leeuwen (Ecco, June 16, $30)
New York City-based Van Leeuwen focuses on old-fashioned techniques and high-quality ingredients—and the book shares the hows and whys to making the brothers' much-celebrated frozen fare. They favor French-style ice cream made with egg yolks, and the book includes a helpful primer to walk you through the sometimes-tricky custard-making process (and offers ideas for how to use all those extra egg whites). There's a chapter on vegan ice cream (their versions are delicious, trust us), a smattering of sorbets and granitas, and various ice cream add-ins, but most of the book is devoted to what Van Leeuwen does best: simple, straightforward flavors like chocolate, strawberry and hazelnut, plus a few wild cards like chamomile-honey, sticky black rice and stout to keep life interesting.
Assortment of ice cream cones from Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream | Photo: Courtesy of Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream
③ The Boozy Blender, by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough (Clarkson Potter, May 19, $17)
Frozen cocktails don't get a lot of respect, but Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough hope to change that with this slim new cookbook. After some quick how-to advice and a few ingredient notes, the authors dive into the recipes. There are fruit-based drinks for sipping on a summer afternoon, like a peachy Georgia Ice Storm or a Siberian Fruit Salad, as well as less sweet and more sophisticated options, such as the decidedly bitter Campari Grapefruit Chill. Ice cream- and cream-based beverages include Salt Caramel Slush and Very Iced Coffee, and in a chapter devoted to tailgate tipples, you'll find multiple takes on frozen margaritas and daiquiris. Most of the drinks can be whipped up quickly, but if you prefer a more DIY approach, Weinstein and Scarbrough often provide recipes for homemade versions of ingredients like grenadine, falernum and ginger shrub.
④ Gelato Messina: The Recipes, by Nick Palumbo (Hardie Grant Books, May 5, $30)
If you're well-versed in ice cream and gelato making and ready to take your frozen game to the next level, Nick Palumbo's whimsical-looking but serious-minded book is a good place to start. Palumbo opened his first gelato shop in Australia in 2002, and he now has 11, including a Las Vegas location. His "Basics" chapter is anything but basic and goes deep into the science of gelato making. There's a ton of interesting material here, but most is geared toward professionals and hard-core hobbyists. You'll need a scale, and Palumbo pushes for professional sweeteners like dextrose, which you can buy online. He also advocates for emulsifiers and stabilizers, though he admits you can skip them if you plan to eat your gelato right away. Each surprisingly short recipe includes domestic and professional versions. Among the 50 flavors, including some sorbets, you'll find milk chocolate, apple pie, blood orange and baklava.
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⑤ Ice Pops! 50 Delicious, Fresh and Fabulous Treats, by Cesar Nadia Roden (Sterling Epicure, May 12, $17)
Ice cream isn't the only frozen treat to have in your arsenal. In this bright and cheerful cookbook, aunt-and-nephew team Nadia and Cesar Roden share recipes based on their experiences running successful ice pop carts in New York City and London. Making ice pops is pretty simple, and the Rodens don't belabor it: They offer a quick overview of the basic process, cover the ingredient and equipment essentials, and then offer helpful advice on things like creating stripes and swirls and dipping pops into chocolate. Fruit flavors dominate, and most are geared toward adult palates with recipes for Strawberry & Pepper and Lychee & Lemongrass. Creamier options include Milk & Honey and Mexican Chocolate. There's a handful of spiked pops, such as Mojito and Burgundy Berry, but because you can put only so much alcohol into an ice pop and still expect it to freeze, the Rodens suggest dipping nonalcoholic pops into vodka, rum or Prosecco. Cheers.
Lavender ice cream with lavender meringues and chocolate ice cream from No Churn Ice Cream | Photos: Courtesy of No Churn Ice Cream
⑥ No-Churn Ice Cream: Over 100 Simply Delicious No-Machine Frozen Treats, by Leslie Bilderback (St. Martin's Griffin, May 5, $23)
This is the book for serious ice cream lovers who don't want to invest in—or make space for—an ice cream maker. Inspired by classic French dessert parfait, author Leslie Bilderback offers a super-easy, equipment-free formula for homemade ice cream. Rather than incorporating air with an ice cream maker, whipped cream is folded into an ice cream base, and instead of fussing with custard, the recipes rely on sweetened condensed milk. Flavors range from classic (chocolate, coconut, coffee) to more unusual (pineapple-peppercorn, rosebud, sweet potato-marshmallow swirl). The sorbets and sherbets require stirring every 30 minutes, so they're a bit of work but still quite manageable. You'll also find advice for making ice cream cakes, sandwiches and other desserts, as well as a bunch of topping recipes and an extensive list of recipe variations to keep you busy until Labor Day.
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