July is National Ice Cream Month. Ahhhhh – ice cream… a cool scrumptious concoction that, for at least a moment, enables one to feel completely indulgent. The mere mention is reminiscent of childhood summers, with a cone or dish of your favorite treat threatening to melt before you can devour it all! Ice cream has benefits (when eaten in moderation of course)! Eating ice cream is now credited by a Harvard study with improved fertility. Expectant moms have chosen ice cream as a top craving for generations. Parents may even find a bit of restorative sanity in the frozen treat at the end of a long day. For kids of ALL ages – ice cream brings a smile. Surprise your family by hosting a "Make your own ice cream concoction" party! It is the perfect unifying event for bringing together neighbors and friends for an even bigger celebration. (Let everyone contribute!) Gather your favorite ice cream flavors (homemade or store bought), toppings, mixes, serving apparatus (cone or dish), and more. From first lick to last drip you're bound to have fun!
"Dish" it up!
Everyone will have their own ideal of how they wish to have their ice cream served. You may choose to have a selection of colorful serving dishes, premade 'cake' or waffle cones, or – make up a batch of delectable waffle cones ahead of time if you are so inclined. Remember the spoons and napkins!
At Center Stage
The ice cream! What is your favorite flavor? Whether your preferences lean towards the tried and true (chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry), the nutty (butter pecan, black walnut, pralines 'n cream), or the more 'adventurous' style where just about anything goes – there are few wrong answers. (We draw the line at recommending those with bugs. Gag!) For the festivities the idea is to offer a wide variety that will allow everyone to have (or create!) their personal favorite.
Kick the can – almost. Put two parts milk and cream and one part sugar in a coffee can, with any flavorings you want. Put the lid on, then put it in a bigger can and pour ice around the little can. Put rock salt on the ice. Put a lid on the big can, and give it to your child to roll it back and forth for about 1/2 hour or until it turns into ice cream! It's in the bag. For this method you will need one pint size and one gallon size freezer bag per person. Use ½ cup of milk, ½ teaspoon vanilla, 1 ½ tablespoons of sugar (or to taste), 6 tablespoons of rock salt, and ice. First mix the milk, vanilla, and sugar in the small pint size bag and seal securely. Place the mix bag inside of the larger gallon size. Fill the bag loosely with ice and then sprinkle in the rock salt. Firmly close the gallon bag. Pass off to a kid to shake, roll, toss (gently please!) for approximately 10 minutes. Remove the inner bag and eat with a spoon! No dirty dish to clean! Tips: This recipe will make approximately one scoop. You can double the recipe if desired but note that the bag will not hold more than that without creating an exploding mess. For larger serving size use the can version. Want something other than vanilla? You can toss in additional flavorings as desired.
You will want to have a variety of toppings on hand. Some suggestions: caramel, fudge, chocolate syrup, fruit, sprinkles, candied pieces, nuts, and whipped topping all are popular. Get creative and don't forget the cherry on top!
The Side Bar
Anticipate that there are those that will want more options. Banana splits, sundaes, and milkshakes will require a little more pre-planning. Give the shakes a twist by tossing in pieces of cookies, candies, or fruits! Have you hosted your own ice cream party? What was the most unusual concoction served?