It’s here! National Ice Cream Month! WE NEED TO CELEBRATE! After all, who doesn’t love the melt-in-your-mouth creamy goodness of ice cream?!
WE SURE DO! So this year, the staff and families of Rustic Red Door decided to host a homemade ice cream social, complete with taste test and kids. We had a variety of recipes that ranged from a delicious dairy-free selection to the ever-popular Strawberry Ice Cream. As you can see here, one of us didn't love EVERY flavor offered.
Prior to the taste test I also took a poll to find out what each staff person’s ice cream flavor fave rated as their most pleasant palate pleaser. Perhaps you'll find yours included in our list.
RRD Staff Ice Cream Flavor Faves:
Cory: Mint Chocolate Chip or Peanut Butter Cup Jen: Chocolate Peanut Butter
Kerry: Mint Chocolate Chip Nick: Cookies ‘n’ Cream
Sarah: Chocolate Peanut Butter Susan: Pistachio
Shaun: Banana...or was it Chunky Monkey? Zach: Mint Chocolate Chip
There’s no limit to the delicious delectable delights you can use to top the ice cream of your choice!
Entertaining the Thought of Entertaining?
Whether your ice cream social is “potluck” style where everyone brings his/her favorite frozen treat or you choose to supply all the goodies, here are a few suggestions to help make it a night filled with the fondest of memories.
Getting the Word Out
A summer Ice Cream Social in your home or on your property is such a warm (no pun intended) way to connect with neighbors and friends! In our world of social media there are so many more options for sending invitations, but word of mouth is certainly still more than acceptable! Don't forget to request a response by a specific date to allow ample prep time.
...need extra tables/chairs? (My guests have never seemed to mind bringing their own yard chairs or blankets, when needed.)
...serve buffet style?
...offer drinks of any kind? If so, will you need extra ice?
Just Say “Flow”
...What will be the most efficient placement for the ice cream and toppings? Select a table for ice cream and a possible 2nd table for toppings to allow for easier accessibility.
...Covering your tables with brown paper lends to easier cleanup as well as enables you to label flavors and toppings directly on the table cover.
...Keep it simple if you’re providing the ice cream. (Consider staying with the basic flavors of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry and ask your guests to bring their favorite topping. But if your goal is to make your own ice cream, we’ve included our homemade taste test recipes below.)
...Provide serving utensils for each container of ice cream and topping.
Be creative! Look for unique ways to serve your toppings (i.e., small galvanized buckets, mason jars, small clay pots…)
Cooling off with Outdoor Games
Thinking about providing kid-friendly games? Parenting Magazine has lots of great ideas for wacky wet ‘n’ wild watery fun!
Admiring the Polywood?
And if you found yourself thinking our kiddos are pretty cute, what about the Adirondack chairs and other high-quality outdoor Polywood furniture seen in our photos? They're available for purchase in a variety of colors (the furniture--not the kids; we'd really like to hold on to all those cutie pies.)
The Staff's Homemade Ice Cream Recipes
As promised, here are the recipes we used for our taste test. But we were having so much fun we forgot to vote on our fave! Bon appetit!
Sarah’s Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe (by Sue Shrader)
Makes about 4 quarts
2 quarts. light cream ¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 ¾ cups sugar 1 qqar. crushed strawberries
1 tablespoon good quality vanilla
Dissolve the sugar in the cream by stirring. Add the vanilla and almond extract. Chill the crushed berries or thaw in the refrigerator if they are frozen. Combine just before putting in the ice cream freezer. The mixture will curdle.if you let it stand around any length of time. You can use half and half instead of light cream if you want. Makes about 4 quarts
Cory’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream (from the Cuisinart recipe booklet)
Makes about 1 ½ quarts
1 cup good quality peanut butter (not natural)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped chocolate peanut butter cup candies (about 15 miniature peanut butter cups)
In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine the peanut butter and sugar until smooth. Add the milk and mix on low speed until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.
Turn on the Cuisinart ice cream maker, pour the mixture into the freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. Five minutes before mixing is completed, add the chopped candy through the top and let mix in completely. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.
Jen’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream (from GeniusKitchen.com)
Makes about 1 quart
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1⁄2cup peanut butter
Melt chocolate over low heat. Gradually stir in cocoa powder and milk while continuing to heat. Beat sugar into eggs in a separate bowl. Stir hot chocolate/milk mixture into eggs. Add cream and vanilla extract. Cool. Just before adding to ice cream maker, stir a cup of ice cream mixture into peanut butter. Once mixed, stir into rest of ice cream mixture. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. (I used all-natural peanut butter --100% ground peanuts.)
Kerry’s (Dairy-free, Nut-free, Egg-free) Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart
2 cans full-fat coconut milk (not light)
1 handful fresh spinach
½ cup fresh mint leaves
Scant ½ cup honey
½ teaspoon. pure vanilla extract
¼ cup boiling water
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips or chocolate shavings
Place ½ can of coconut milk, spinach and the mint leaves in the blender and blend until smooth. Add remaining coconut milk, honey and vanilla and blend again. Pour hot water into a small bowl or measuring cup. Sprinkle in gelatin and let stand for 5 minutes to allow the gelatin to swell. With your blender on a low speed, add swelled gelatin to coconut milk mixture. Be sure your blender lid is secured then process the mixture on high until well blended and smooth.
Pour mixture into a shallow freezer safe container or loaf pan. Add chocolate chips. Place in freezer. Stir mixture every 30 minutes for the first 3 hours or so to incorporate air into the mixture as it freezes. Serve after 4 hours for a soft-serve consistency or longer for a harder consistency. If frozen solid, allow ice cream to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.
*NOTE: An ice cream maker can also be used for this recipe. Prepare through step 3 then follow manufacturer’s directions for your ice cream maker.