Take Two

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by Alex Cohen & A Martínez

Coolhaus at your haus: How to make high-concept ice cream sandwiches at home

by Leo Duran | Take Two

Coolhaus Co-Founder Natasha Case prepares to make an ice cream sandwich for Take Two host A Martinez. Maya Sugarman/KPCC

On occasion, the heat in L.A. is unbearable. No amount of A/C or icy lemonade can really make us feel better, but sometimes eating some ice cream can really hit the spot.

Recently, in KPCC's own parking lot, we got a major treat: the Coolhaus ice cream sandwich truck.

But beyond the standard ice cream flavors, they go high-concept: you could have baked apple ice cream smooshed between potato chip and butterscotch cookies. Or Peking duck ice cream with vegan ginger molasses cookies.

Founded in 2009 by Natasha Case and Freya Estreller, it got its start at Coachella. Since then, Coolhaus has expanded to 11 trucks throughout the country, collaborations with musical artists by creating specially-themed sandwiches (like Tegan and Sara's "Til Death Do Us Part" sandwich), and the new cookbook, "Coolhaus Ice Cream Book."

Case and Estreller told A Martinez that the name came from Natasha's own background in architecture at UCLA:

"That's what I came from, so [we named] a lot of the ice cream and cookie combinations after architects like 'Mies Vanilla Rohe,' 'Mintamilism,' 'Frank Behry. People would have something that's fun and easy to embrace, but they could have an educational quality to them as well."

"It's basically food plus architecture," added Freya Estreller, "and Coolhaus was the first project under that umbrella."

Hear more of the secrets and backstory behind the Coolhaus truck by hitting play for the whole interview

Recipes from the "Coolhaus Ice Cream Book"


Plain Custard Base (Makes about: 11⁄2 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, the better. We like to chill our bases in plastic or stainless-steel pitchers with airtight lids for easy pouring into the ice cream maker after chilling.

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 11⁄4 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 large egg yolks
  1. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine milk, cream, 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 of the spoon and the mixture ripples, you’ve got the right consistency.)
  6. Pour base into a clean airtight container and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours before using.
  7. Use base within 3 to 5 days

Whiskey Lucky Charms Ice Cream (Makes about: 11⁄2 quarts | Active time: 15 to 20 minutes)

This milky, fruity concoction, a bottom-of-thecereal- bowl gem, is sharpened with Irish whiskey and smoothed with sugary marshmallows. Touches of orange blossom, sherry, honey, and vanilla come from the whiskey. It’s a grown-up treat that’ll make you feel like a kid.

  • Plain Custard Base
  • 1⁄4 cup Bushmills or Jameson Irish whiskey
  • 3⁄4 cup Lucky Charms cereal
  1. Process base in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Add whiskey during last 2 minutes of churning
  2. Transfer to a bowl and fold in cereal.
  3. Scrape into an airtight storage container. Freeze for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.

Dirty Mint Chip Ice Cream (Makes about: 11⁄2 quarts | Active time: 20 to 30 minutes)

We have news for you. That supermarket mint chip ice cream with the nuclear-green color? It doesn’t have any mint leaves in it. It has mint oil or fake mint flavoring, and that nasty color comes from artificial coloring. Real, fresh mint leaves give our Dirty Mint a fresh, cool intensity. Why is it “dirty”? Because we use brown sugar in the base, which gives the ice cream a deep caramel punch and a natural light brown color. It is also “dirty” because we don’t strain out the mint. Leaving it in deepens the flavor the longer the ice cream is in the freezer.

(Warning: This has been known to convert mint ice cream haters.)

  • 1⁄3 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Plain Custard Base, made with light brown sugar instead of granulated
  • 1⁄2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (we like Guittard or Ghirardelli)
  1. Stir mint leaves, dark brown sugar, and salt into base. Mix well.
  2. Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Transfer to a bowl and fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Scrape into an airtight storage container. Freeze for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.

Suggested Cookies: Chocolate Chip or Double Chocolate

© 2014 by Natasha Case, Freya Estreller with Kathleen Squires. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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