Is it back-to-school time already? Not so fast! Grab your friends and celebrate the final days of summer with some ice cream! Whether you’re 5 or 50 years old, chances are you love ice cream, so invite everyone over to cool off from the summer heat while enjoying some delicious treats! With these tips from Cricket Azima and The Creative Kitchen, featured on iVillage, and extra tricks, you’ll be able to pull off the best party on the block while keeping your cool.
Make a Shopping List
Once you have a good grasp of how many mouths you’ll be feeding, make a list of exactly how much ice cream (or ice cream ingredients), toppings, bowls, and spoons you will need. This will cut down on trips to the grocery store and save lots of time.
If making your own ice cream isn’t in the cards, serve store-bought versions and save prep time. If you want that homemade taste without all the work, buy local. Find a specialty shop in your area that makes its own ice cream and purchase their handcrafted product. Or purchase grocery-store brands that are tried-and-true such as Häagen-Dazs, Ben & Jerry’s, Breyer’s or Edy’s.
Include Non-Dairy Options
Even though this party is about creamy treats, be sure to include non-dairy options so riends with food allergies and dietary restrictions can join in on the fun. Sorbets and popsicles are widely available in supermarkets and are super fun and easy to make on your own! See The Creative Kitchen’s Fruit Popsicle Recipe.
You can also make some delicious, healthy, non-dairy ice cream using only one ingredient: bananas! Simply take a ripe bunch of bananas, peel, chop into slices, and freeze overnight. Then, place the frozen banana slices in a food processor and process until smooth. Voila! Sweet, creamy banana ice cream! You can also add ingredients such as nut butter or chocolate chips for added flavor and fun.
The Scoop on Ice Cream Makers
Making homemade ice cream might sound complicated, but you’ll be surprised at just how simple the process is. All you need is a handful of basic ingredients, any extra flavorings you desire, and an ice cream maker. Or, if you don’t have the time or budget for a new kitchen gadget, see the next section on how you can make ice cream using unconventional methods!
- Kids of all ages will have a ball with Industrial Revolution’s Play & Freeze Ice Cream Maker! There’s no electricity needed, simply add ingredients to one end of the ball and ice and rock salt to the other. Delicious ice cream is made as you toss, shake, and roll the ball around. (Available at select retail stores or at Amazon, $25.00)
- Cuisinart’s Automatic Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker is a serious machine that’s worth every penny and minute of time invested. Note – this machine is not for the spontaneous ice cream maker, or impatient ice cream eater, as the bowl must be frozen in advance and multiple steps are required throughout the process. But once made, the ice cream’s quality is spectacular. (Available from a number of retailers $69.95)
- Sassafras’ inexpensive, battery-operated ice cream maker is super-simple to use. Just add ingredients, push a button and place it in the freezer. The best part? You can make two different flavors at once. Extra bonus: this ice cream maker can be purchased within a complete kids’ party kit. (Available at Amazon, $11.00)
- Cuisipro’s Donvier Ice Cream Maker is a manual ice cream maker, which can help control the ice cream-making process and thus the final product. Use the hand-held crank to churn; more cranking means a creamier ice cream. Bonus: exercise for your arms! (Available online at Amazon, $60.00)
No Ice Cream Maker? No Problem!
Ice cream can also be made in a food processor or blender! Simply make your ice cream base according to the recipe, let the mixture cool, and freeze in a plastic bag for at least 5 hours. Once the concoction is frozen, remove from the bag and break it into chunks, then put them into a food processor or blender with some milk and cream. You may need to slowly add more liquid to help the machine do its thing. In a few minutes, you’ll have delicious, homemade ice cream!
Ice Cream Hacks
If you’re anticipating having your hands full at this party, save yourself some time and pre-scoop your ice cream into cupcake wrappers and freeze! You can do this days in advance and leave the little scoops in the freezer, then bring them out when your guests arrive.
Sick of ice cream dripping from the bottom of the cone? Stop this from happening by placing three mini marshmallows at the bottom of the cone before adding the ice cream! It will clog up the cone and provide an extra treat when your ice cream is all gone. This tip is especially great if you’re scooping cones for kids – just an easy way to prevent more messiness.
Prevent your ice cream from getting too hard in the freezer by putting the tub into a freezer bag first. This will keep the ice cream at a constant temperature and also prevent freezer burn.
The Creative Kitchen™, LLC, teaches children about food and how to cook in a fun, safe, and educational manner. Targeting families with children ages two to teen, the company focuses on teaching, writing creative content and curriculum, special events, recipe development, spokesperson work, webisode production and consulting to present educational and entertaining content through food-related activities. The founder, Cricket Azima, is an expert in cooking for and with children. She inspires kids to express themselves creatively through food and cooking, while complementing lessons with traditional educational material such as social studies, math, arts, science, and more. Visit www.thecreativekitchen.com for more information.