Before Peanut Butter Munchies took the crown of the 2018 Ample Hills Flavor Frenzy contest, there was a corny co-champion from online voting that was also brought back from the dead and produced for a limited time. The two flavors were both churned, in scoop shops and available to order for shipping for one week, before one was crushed. Only 70 pint packs went out and I was lucky enough to get one of them. I’m extremely glad I had the big bucks to shell out with the quickness, because the runner up is far better than its dangling silver medallion implies. Corn to Run combines a creamy corn ice cream with cornmeal crumble and blueberry swirls.
The creamy corn ice cream is incredible and without a doubt the best corn-based ice cream I’ve ever had. It’s bursting with rich, deep, corn sweetness that tastes like a perfectly prepared cob of corn smeared with sweet creamy honey butter. It has an immaculately smooth texture on par with anything in Ample Hills’ impressive catalog and carries an inventive yet crave-able-ness that is everything gourmet ice cream is all about. Even more alluring is the actual smell of the ice cream, which when I put my nose into the cool pint actually blossoms with an amazingly authentic corn aroma like I was sniffing a casserole at an indulgent banquet.
The “cornmeal crumble” is really more chunks of cornbread cookies and they are incredible. Crunchy, gritty, sweet, salty, slightly greasy, and full of delicious cornbread flavor. The texture is very similar to the awesome clusters in The Munchies and the way they hold such intense crunch in the succulent corn cream is remarkable. They’re mostly smaller pieces with the occasional boulder, and in both sizes I can’t get enough. The flavor of the chunks combined with the base makes the profile as a whole taste like cornbread ice cream and it’s truly terrific.
The blueberry swirls are the least dominant component in the pint but they add a nice touch of acidity and fruity sweetness that feels very welcome in the grand corny scheme of the flavor. I wish the swirls were a bit thicker, but they play the role of a gentle spread of jam across the top of some cornbread, and their backseat makes sense. Had there been some larger lush ribbons or even a pool or two against the sides of the container I can only imagine how beautiful the berry burst would have been.
As terrific as PB Munchies is, it’s a shame this flavor saw such a short rebirth. Corn to Run is incredibly unique yet undeniably scoopable, and I hope it gets an encore performance sometime in the near future.
Found at: http://www.amplehills.com
Flavor Frenzy 2018. They battled. We voted. I campaigned. Team peanut butter got the victory. After a grueling bracket filled with succulent scoops of Ample Hills’ past, the return of Peanut Butter Munchies became a reality. The nut-ified twist on AH’s classic combines a peanut butter pretzel custard with caramelized clusters of Ritz crackers, potato chips, pretzels, and Reese’s Pieces.
It wasn’t until 2003, with Starbucks’ introduction of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, that the two very different but very popular world’s of coffee and pumpkin pie would collide to create one of the most iconic and polarizing drinks of the last fifteen years. It’s hard to imagine a time when the two flavors didn’t coexist, and with everything from M&M’s to Peeps to Bath & Body Works body wash emulating the cafe concotion, it’s fitting that ice cream is no stranger to the coveted combination. As their sole pumpkin offering for 2017, Ample Hills brought back No Sleep Til Pumpkin, which is dark coffee ice cream with pieces of pumpkin ooey gooey butter cake.
Gowanus is a largely industrial neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, which was the original home of Dutch settlers in the mid-1600’s and later, the primary backdrop of the Battle of Long Island during the Revolutionary War. As someone that has never been to New York, I don’t know much about the area, but when I hear “Gowanus” I think of a giant brown swamp monster, getting ready to feast on anything that comes across its path. Fittingly to my own mental misinterpretation of the name, Ample Hills’ It Came From Gowanus combines their darkest, saltiest chocolate ice cream with pieces of orange-scented brownies, and hazelnut crack cookies with white chocolate pearls.
This is without a doubt the most aggressively salted ice cream I have ever had and it is nothing short of phenomenal. It is thick, rich, and indulgent with incredibly deep dark chocolate notes and a massive salty flavor that’s hard for my brain to comprehend. The intensity of the ice cream is so grand that it almost doesn’t even feel cold, like the amount of salt has kept the freezer from doing its job and kept the custard frozen yet a silky room temperature without melting. It’s a revelation in cocoa that any chocolate lover needs to experience and is up there with the greatest bases I’ve ever had the joy of tasting. Flavor-wise it hits the highest of highs and the lowest of lows running the full spectrum with a richness that is inescapable.
The intensity of the experience continues with the mix-ins and my mouth continues to be mystified by what I am tasting. I’m not exactly sure what hazelnut crack cookies are but I get some bites of nutty-tasting, almost toffee-esque crunchy cookie bits with a beautiful buttery flavor, and other bites that seem just like a chunk of straight chocolate. The brownies come in varying sizes from little pieces to admirable hunks and have the perfect dense-yet-chewy texture that beautiful brownies can offer. Orange “scented” is the key word here, as there is just a hint of orange flavor poking through the chocolate abyss, and for my taste I wish there was a more dominant citrus pop, as a little bit of relief from the darkness would be a welcome contrast.
There are little white flecks that come across my spoon every so often and I assumed those were some white chocolate, but it turns out they’re little pieces of Saltine crackers – and unfortunately they didn’t really work for me. They’ve gone completely stale in the ice cream and pull me out of the intensely lush trip that Gowanus had sent me on thus far. The actual white chocolate pearls are little choco-coated balls that pop with a fun crispy texture and are mostly on top of the cookies but a few have jumped ship and float alone in the sea of darkness.
It Came from Gowanus is an absolute doctorate-certified lesson plan in how to elevate ice cream to new heights achieving both decadence and masterful artistry at the same time. It’s a shame this flavor is available in such limited quantities outside of New York as it’s a true treat that any frozen food explorer must try.
Found at: http://www.amplehills.com (Taste of NY 4-Pack)