Salted Crack Caramel
If you're going to try one thing at Ample Hills, at least give the salted caramel a taste. It's one of the most dark and smoky out there—too bitter and salty for some, but you can't argue with how clean this tastes. As is the case with all of Ample Hills' ice cream, there's no sticky, gummy, or cloying aftertaste, just an impressively light kiss of salty caramel happiness on the finish. The real kicker is the crumble of "crack" cookies: a mix of saltine crackers, chocolate, butter, and sugar that definitely live up to their name. You can also buy the cookies on their own. And by "can" I mean "will."
Coconut Fudge (Sorbet)
Little did we expect to love the sorbets as much as we did, but some of them are really incredible. It'd be easy to think the coconut fudge has dairy—the texture is so much like ice cream—but the absence of cream allows dark, rich chocolate and nutty coconut to shine through loud and clear. And that coconut tastes like the real deal, not the suntan lotion-y faux-coconut flavor that turns most people off. A hauntingly impressive scoop.
Caught in the Rain (Pineapple Coconut Sorbet)
Made with fresh organic pineapples and coconut milk, this sorbet shares all the raw joy of ripe pineapple. Tiny chunks of fruit add textural interest, and the generous slurp of coconut milk makes for a plenty creamy texture free of iciness. There are more tart sorbets out there, but few quite as refreshing and interesting.
Toffee Bar Crunch
The homemade toffee in this vanilla base is amazing: its caramel crunch keeps going and going. (Note to Ample Hills: please start selling bars of toffee!) For Ben & Jerry's fans who want more out of their Ben & Jerry's.
Cookies & Cream
An ice cream that actually tastes like cream: not cream flavoring, not "creme," and not vanilla—but actual cool, clean cream with a dense, milky chew. It's kind of a revelation. The cookie crumbles aren't Oreos, and lack some of the telltale Oreo bitterness, but they help make this a super-clean scoop for ice cream lovers who want cream front and center.
Holy custardy wonderfulness, Batman! This is rich, eggy frozen custard flavor with light ice cream texture, and it's pretty awesome. There are two kinds of vanilla in the base—tobacco-y Mexican vanilla beans and Madagascar vanilla extract—but it tastes more like a well-executed crème anglaise than anything else. A must-try for vanilla lovers.
Mexican Hot Chocolate
Our favorite of the chocolate ice creams. Dark chocolate, cinnamon, and chili pepper come together for a balanced sweet and spicy scoop. It has more chocolate depth than other Mexican chocolates around the city.
Cafe au Lait
One of the best classic coffee ice creams in New York right now. It's not bitter, like many modern coffee ice creams tend to be—just the pure flavor of coffee tempered by milk. The texture is light, silky, and very clean.
"This tastes a lot like cinnamon toast crunch," some said. And it does have a cereal edge we loved. It's not too warm or spicy, with just the right amount of cinnamon glow to cut through the cream.
Sweet as Honey
The crunchy honeycomb candy is made from Queens County Farm honey, sugar, golden syrup, and baking soda, and is then stirred into a sweet cream base. It's definitely on the sweet side, but the crunchy comb and floral honey candy swirl add a lot of textural interest.
A mellow chocolate scoop with a strong hit of malt powder, like a chocolate malted shake, but more so. Little chunks of malted milk balls are buried within for crunch. It's quite smooth, but not at all heavy.
Tasting more like cocoa powder than lush chocolate, this wasn't one of our favorites to eat straight. But it'd make a fine milkshake and a great addition to a sundae.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Flake
Instead of chips or drizzles of chocolate, Ample Hills uses flakes, which allow the chocolate to melt easily into the base for flavor integration. This has that slightly salty, addictive Reese's peanut butter cup thing going on, but with a more honest peanut butter flavor.
Snappin' (Lemon Gingersnap)
The base carries the headiness of ample portions of lemon zest, but the lemon gingersnap cookies get a bit mushy. We would have liked more cookie-ice cream integration.
A straight up sweet cream base with flakes of chocolate. Cool, clean, and with a pleasant bitterness from the 72% dark chocolate. A basic scoop, but a good one, and much more chocolate-centric than your average chocolate chip.
Strawberries and Cream
We enjoyed the fluffy texture and crunchy seeds in this scoop, but the strawberry flavor didn't come through as much as strongly we'd like. It doesn't match up to the intensity of other flavors.
Bananamon (Banana Cinnamon)
Banana ice creams can get hard and grainy, including, to a small extent, this one. Soft Nilla wafer mix-ins are a nice touch, and the cinnamon is mild but still assertive. Not our favorite, but there's a lot for a banana fan to love.
Nanatella (Banana Nutella)
Another somewhat icy scoop. The mild banana flavor gets a little lost in the Nutella swirl. Unless you're a hardcore Nutella-lover, the bananamon should be your banana ice cream here.
Lemon Sky (Sorbet)
This didn't quite match up to the excellence of the other sorbets. It's a little dry, and could use some more tartness; it actually tastes a bit like lemon buttercream frosting. But many of us were still happy with it.
Mint Chocolate Flake
The dark Guittard chocolate flakes integrate well, but we weren't big fans of the base, which is made with mint oil, not fresh leaves. It's bright and clean, but more toothpaste-y and less grassy than we'd like.
Yes, it turns out that cotton candy has a flavor, and it can be bottled in an all-natural extract. We saw a number of kids go crazy over it on our visit, and it really does taste like cotton candy. But we'll leave this one to the kids.
Stout n' Pretzels
HELLO Guinness. The dark, dark flavor of Guinness is strong to the point of overpowering here, and more bitter than we'd like. Salty pretzels add nice crunch, and we do enjoy our beer ice creams, but this came off too harsh for us.
Sixpoint Brewery Sweet Action ale, very salty peanuts, bacon, and peanut brittle. We dig the beer vibe here, but salt overwhelms the sweet. Too much of a good thing, perhaps.
Walt in the Sky with Diamonds (Tutti Frutti)
An all-natural tutti frutti made with vanilla, orange, raspberry, and lemon flavorings, as well as mini marshmallows and M&M's. Another scoop that kids seem to love, but it left us scratching our heads a bit.
With cinnamon ice cream, homemade hot fudge sauce, super-thick whipped cream, and chocolate sprinkles. This is one of the best ice cream sundaes I've ever had. The brownie is more truffle than bar cookie, and the fudge sauce has that great stiffening-on-impact texture. Even after 24 scoops of ice cream, we had no problem downing this.
Three minutes later
Any flavor (or a pairing) can become a milkshake or malted. The Black and White Malt here is heavy on the malt powder, which gives it an exceptionally smooth texture just too thick to easily sip through a straw. Little chunks of malted milk balls are a pleasant surprise.
There are 240 float combinations available at Ample Hills, made with premium sodas like Sprecher's cream soda (seen here) and root beer, Cheerwine, Dad's root beer, and other bubbles in flavors like grape and ginger ale. The "Honey Cow" is a mix of cream soda and Sweet as Honey ice cream. It's really sweet, but if you like that ice cream, you'll love this. I don't think it's hyperbolic to say it tasted like joy in a cup. They know how to make their floats here—ours had some serious froth.