New Years Eve 2012 in Amsterdam was a night we’ll never forget. Ryan’s older brother David and his family were living there temporarily, and we were fortunate enough to visit a few times before they recently moved back to Oregon. On New Year’s Eve we were all invited by his coworkers to a progressive dinner party where we met new friends and celebrated in style: the first home offered light appetizers alongside cocktails and wine, while the second featured a feast of main courses for the thirty merry participants, and the final family was in charge of desserts, preparing multiple tables arranged with soft eclairs, crispy creme brûlées, and an impressive array of tasty european treats. But the main attraction began at midnight when the entire city simultaneously lit up the sky with a unforgettable display of fireworks: it was like the opening ceremony of the Olympics with jaw-dropping shows in every direction as far as the eye could see. From the top floor of the apartment, we had 360° views of Amsterdam, and it was the perfect place to ring in the new year. And today we have something sweet to ring in your summer, inspired by that very trip to the Netherlands: please put your hands together for tiramisu pops, and let the barbecues begin!
A few years ago we realized that our kitchen was missing a very important appliance… an ice cream maker! After doing some research, Adam surprised Ryan with one for his birthday, plus a cookbook to go with it called Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones. The very first recipe we made was the vanilla—made with real vanilla beans—and it was the creamiest and smoothest ice cream we had ever tasted. We immediately looked into the ice cream shop listed on the cover of the book: Bi-Rite Creamery. Well, as anyone in San Francisco could tell you, it is a popular place with almost 8500 rave reviews and a 4 1/2 star rating on Yelp. The point is: these people know their ice cream. So when we decided to make cookies and cream ice cream bars for this Labor Day weekend, the obvious choice was to begin with this book. We used their classic cookies and cream recipe as the base to get that silky rich texture that they are so well-known for, and we added more cookies to give it a more chocolatey flavor and a delicious crunch. And when we were experimenting with ways to keep the prep time under five minutes, we discovered an ingredient that makes these decadent bars even creamier, turning this simple and refreshing treat into one of our new favorite desserts.