Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream — a Brooklyn-based ice cream company — is in the midst of a growth spurt, one that includes the debut of its first cookbook. Started in 2008 by brothers Ben and Peter Van Leeuwen alongside Australian business partner Laura O'Neill, Van Leeuwen has transformed from a pair of pale yellow ice cream trucks driving around New York City into a company with four scoop shops. With a fifth flagship location currently under construction in Brooklyn and bicoastal plans to open two Los Angeles shops in the near future, the team decided it was finally time to write a cookbook. "We wanted to make sure we had a lot to offer the readers, and seven years on, it finally felt like good timing to do the book," says O'Neill.
The book — which is simply titled Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream — contains 100 recipes. "It's all the recipes we've ever done at Van Leeuwen and then some." Ice cream recipes range from classics like chocolate, vanilla, and rocky road to more palate-pushing flavors like tarragon (made with six tablespoons of the fresh herb), coconut-avocado, and sichuan peppercorn laced with ribbons of cherry compote. There's even a recipe made with sticky black rice. "We definitely had to develop a number of new recipes for the book," O'Neill says. "It was a nice excuse to finally work on some of the recipes that we've had ideas for." She adds that many of the new flavors created for the book have already made their way into the Van Leeuwen scoop shops.
The Van Leeuwen team is trying to create "a timeless guide to making ice cream."
O'Neill is quick to explain that Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream features much more than classic ice cream recipes. There is a whole section dedicated to vegan ice creams and another for sorbets and granitas. Plus, the trio made sure to include multiple recipes for sides and toppings like homemade marshmallows and graham crackers, as well as ideas for what to do with all of the leftover egg whites from the ice cream-making process. The Van Leeuwen team wanted to create a "timeless guide to making ice cream," so in addition to the recipes, the trio "are also sharing the skills for people to experiment with flavors on their own at home." O'Neill adds, "We want people to be able to apply the tools we taught them."
The cookbook is laser-focused on home cooks. Ben Van Leeuwen says he and co-writer Olga Massov spent two months recipe testing with only a standard Cuisinart ice cream machine. "Things are very different at home compared to the scale that we do it at the shops," he says. While the ingredients remained the same, Van Leeuwen explains that he had to make a number of small changes to account for issues that occur when making smaller batches of ice cream — like a significantly different rate of evaporation. Van Leeuwen admits that he made so much ice cream in the process that he's still eating through his stash nearly a year later. While the texture is "still perfect," the team highly recommends eating the ice cream "as quickly and as often as possible."
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream is co-authored by Olga Massov and features photography from Sidney Bensimon. It will be released by Ecco on June 16, so pre-order the book on Amazon and take an exclusive look inside: