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Pass a hot summer afternoon building towers of cookies and ice cream

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When the thermometer hits 80 degrees this summer, everyone goes out for ice cream. Forget about chocolate and vanilla, though. Artisanal ice cream makers like Coolhaus are whipping up flavors like salted caramel, spicy pineapple-cilantro-chile, blueberry mojito, and bourbon pecan pie. Coolhaus takes these and many other mouth-watering flavors and makes them even better by turning them into ice cream sandwiches.

Our mothers may have taught us never to play with your food, but Natasha Case and Freye Estella, founders of Coolhaus Ice Cream and authors of the new Coolhaus Ice Cream Book (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 2014), would say otherwise. The duo creates and sells architecture-inspired ice cream sandwiches from food trucks in LA, New York, Dallas, and Austin; their storefronts in Culver City and Pasadena, California; and in gourmet markets across the country. Thanks to their new book, which includes general ice cream making tips and recipes for their unusual flavors of ice creams, gelatos, sorbets, and cookies, fans of Coolhaus can construct their own “farchitecture” (that’s food + architecture) at home. What better way to pass a hot summer afternoon than building towers out of homemade cookies and ice cream?

Architecture buffs will recognize in the name Coolhaus a nod to both Bauhaus, the modernist design movement of the 1920s and 30s, and Dutch architect Ren Koolhaas, whose interdisciplinary approach inspired Case and Estella to merge the worlds of ice cream and architecture. Plus, as the authors explain in the introduction to the book, an ice cream sandwich is a “cool house.”

Coolhaus references many other architects in the names of its ice cream sandwiches, like their Peter Cook-ies and Cream (Peter Cook), Buck-mint-ster Fuller (Buckminster Fuller), or Mies Vanilla der Rohe (Mies Van Der Rohe). For anyone looking to improve their knowledge of architecture while snacking on the sandwiches, the book also includes a brief write-up on each architect, including author_photo-175their styles, major works, and the reasons that the ladies behind Coolhaus love them. For example, Frank Gehry, the inspiration for the “Frank Behry” sandwich that incorporates the Strawberries & Cream Gelato recipe included below, is a deconstructionist, well known for the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA—among many other famous buildings—and his unorthodox use of lines.

The book is informative, about ice cream and architecture, but it’s the recipes that make this cook book a perfect choice for summer. Check out the sample below, and then go buy the book for more!

Strawberries & Cream Gelato

Makes about: 11⁄2 quarts | Active time: 20 to 25 minutes

You have a bowl of the freshest, ripest, juiciest strawberries. Sprinkle just a bit of sugar on top, and drown the berries in rich cream. Taste. Die and go to heaven. That’s what this gelato is like.
12 to 14 strawberries

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Juice of 1⁄2 lemon

Gelato Base (see below)

1. In a blender or food processor, puree strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into Gelato Base. Mix well.

coolhaus_-_strawberries__cream_gelato-1752. Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

3. Scrape into an airtight storage container. Freeze for a minimum of2 hours before serving.

Suggested Cookie:

Snickerdoodle (page 194)

Coolhaus Sandwich Creation:

Frank Behry: Snickerdoodle Cookies + Strawberries & Cream Gelato (see Building the Perfect Sandwich, page 25)

Gelato Base

Makes about: 1 1⁄2 quarts | Active time: 10 to 15 minutes

Use the freshest eggs available for best results. If possible, refrigerate the base for a full 24 hours— the longer it’s chilled, the better it is. We like to refrigerate our bases in plastic or stainless-steel pitchers with airtight lids for easy pouring into the ice cream maker after chilling.

4 cups whole milk

1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar

8 large egg yolks

1. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine milk and half of sugar. Set over high heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil, about 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk yolks and remaining sugar until smooth, heavy, and pale yellow, about 30 seconds.

3. When cream mixture just comes to a boil, whisk, remove from heat, and, in a slow stream, pour half of cream mixture over yolk-sugar mixture, whisking constantly until blended.

4. Return pan to stovetop over low heat. Whisking constantly, stream yolk-cream mixture back into pan.

5. With a wooden spoon, continue stirring until mixture registers 165 to 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes. Do not heat above 180 degrees, or eggs in base will scramble. Mixture should be slightly thickened and coat back of spoon, with steam rising, but not boiling. (If you blow on the back the of spoon and the mixture ripples, you’ve got the right consistency.)

6. Pour into a clean airtight container and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours before using.

7. Use base within 3 to 5 days.

Both recipes excerpted from COOLHAUS © 2014 by Natasha Case and Freya Estreller. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

received her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, and now works as a freelance writer and editor. Her clients include many first time authors, and she delights in helping them give voice to their stories. She has recently completed work on her own first novel, Besotted, literary fiction set in Shanghai, for which she is currently seeking representation. She lives in Portland, OR, with her husband, two children, and Yorkshire Terrier, Saunders.

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