To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness.
I wouldn't really suggest this book if you are interested in making ice cream at home. It comes across much more as a vanity piece than a serious cookbook. Many pages are devoted to telling you how very special the ice cream makers are and how very special their ingredients are. The book is full of self congratulatory photos of the owners of Van Leeuwen. If you are a big fan of their ice cream, then sure, you might want to buy this book. But if you are interested in making ice cream at home, there are better books out there. I suggest The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. Some of the problems I found with the book: The authors take two full pages to tell you that they use the very best (extra special!) vanilla beans but they don't tell you how to buy them yourself. Anytime they mention chocolate, they tell you that you should buy the exact same chocolate that they buy, because of course, it is so special. They say it is available in Whole Foods but is isn't available at my Whole Foods. Come on, there is a lot of great chocolate being made today. The authors insistence that you buy the brand they buy comes across as somewhat self involved and annoying. The book features a full page photo of spit passion fruit but they don't tell you how to use it. In fact, they tell you to buy froze passion fruit puree. I found editing problems, the wrong words, mistaken page references, and questionable quantities. For instance, the recipe for ginger ice cream calls for way too much sugar. Speaking of ginger, the authors specify the length of ginger used. This is not as useful as weight would be since pieces of ginger vary so much in width. The New York Times recently suggested that the reason to buy this book would be for their vegan ice cream recipes. I would have to agree. But there are only nine vegan ice cream recipes in the book. So, if you are interested, you might want to start with the one printed in the NYT and see if it works for you. The reality of making ice cream at home is that it is easy. It doesn't require special ingredients. It doesn't take a lot of time. And the results are always better than ice cream bought in the grocery store.
Overall, I like the book, but I bought it only for its vegan recipes. The non-vegan section has so many delicious ice creams - it would have been great if the book had a few more vegan versions of these delicious recipes. Also, I find the vegan ice cream base (coconut milk, cashew milk, coconut oil, and coca butter) too overpowering...the proportion of the base and the ingredients that provide the main flavors in the ice cream (e.g. the sugar in the salted caramel) seems a bit off to me. I will try to reduce the proportion of the base, to see if I can get a stronger flavor. Most of the ice creams I have made all taste the same because the base flavors are too strong.
Chatty cookbook with outstanding ice cream recipes. The chocolate is to die for. Unfortunately if you buy organic ingredients, it's just as expensive as buying their ice cream from the shop or by the pint. But honestly, the chocolate tastes even better fresh from your ice cream maker than it does from when you come into their shoppie for it. Also, the vegan ice cream is unbelievable. The only thing is that they call for cocoa butter, and it's impossible to get food grade cocoa butter in Brooklyn grocery stores and natural groceries. I just use extra coconut oil to keep the fat ratio the same.
I bought this several years ago and have waited until I made enough recipes to give a fair review. The orange flower water and pistachio cookie ice cream is deliciously exotic. The shortbread cookies (of which you’ll only use a handful) are wonderful and are worth making by themselves. The blueberry and sour cream ice cream is like the best blintz or danish filling you’ll ever have, though you may want to use more blueberry compote than the recipe states. My favorite so far is the palm sugar ice cream which will remind you of a ‘better’ maple walnut ice cream. I’ve added toasted pecans and walnuts to this (probably unnecessarily) for crunch one of the times I’ve made it.
Say what you will about this book being too chatty, too this, too that but I can tell you that every recipe I've tried has been superb. Their passion fruit ice cream is one of the single best things I've eaten in my entire life. I've had the book less than a year and I've made that particular recipe at least 5 or 6 times. Yes, I had to order puree (from Amazon) but passion fruit is not native to the US and when imported the fruits are always of poor quality. Do you want a book that reads well or do you want a trove of delicious ice cream varieties that never miss the mark?
Even if you're not a vegan, you will love these vegan ice cream recipes. I had to give up dairy & soy this year for allergy reasons and was disappointed with most "frozen dessert" substitutes. One night we tried Van Leeuwen at a shop and I was blown away by the quality of their vegan ice cream. Bought the book so I could enjoy the treat more often. The recipes aren't hard; you may have to special order a few ingredients but once you have them on stock it's pretty easy. I've made "real" ice cream many times in the past and these vegan recipes are straightforward and delicious.