Serving store-bought ice cream? Beat the summer heat and wow your dinner guests with a lavish take on the classic all-weather dessert.
When’s the last time you hosted a true blue ice cream party? Most of us think back to a time when we were 40 pounds lighter, dancing around in our PJs and tuning in to TGIF at a friend’s slumber party. As adults, it’s time to resurrect this universally beloved tradition and update it for the sophisticated palate. We don’t cry over boy bands anymore, but regardless of age, we all love a good ice cream sundae. Thanks to modern retailers, the task of elevating this dessert dish is not too difficult.
Photo: Courtesy of Madeline Tallman, Unsplash
Amazement in the dessert aisle
Today’s supermarkets offer way more than your typical vanilla and chocolate fare. First, fancy flavors are ridiculously easy to find. Head to the frozen section of any local store, and you’ll have no problem scoring some awesomely unique varieties. In a quick search, we stumbled upon lavender lemon, green tea, blackberry hibiscus and brown butter bourbon truffle, just to name a few. Don’t be afraid to challenge your guests’ palates. If you offer a diversity of flavors, your backyard BBQ will feel more like the swanky affair you’re going for.
Second, stores are now catering to health-conscious snackers, so you’ll find plenty of low-calorie options that integrate frozen yogurt instead of the typical sugary cream. The same goes for folks who are diabetic, lactose intolerant or with gluten allergies. Read your labels, and always keep your guests’ distinct health needs and preferences in mind.
Photo: Courtesy of Lick Honest Ice Cream
Make ice cream great again!
Okay. Ice cream was always great. We meant—let’s make it classy again!
If you’re planning an adult ice cream party this summer, you don’t want to feel like a cheat. Buying a bunch of store-bought tubs—regardless of how fabulous they are—seems like a cop-out. So, let’s jazz up your upcoming nosh sesh with a little homemade magic. Making fresh ice cream seems too ambitious. You can save time, money and energy and still make a magnificent impression by designing the ultimate fixings bar.
From fresh cut bananas and strawberries to sprinkles, whipped cream, caramel, chocolate and marshmallow sauces, be inspired by the incredible ice cream parlors of yesteryear. Give guests the ultimate DIY dessert experience, all while showing off your cooking chops in the process.
We’ve gathered three scrumptious homemade sauce recipes sure to delight eaters at your upcoming ice cream party. Best of all, these dressing can be prepared ahead of time, giving you more opportunity to mingle and have fun without the added stress of having to cook in the kitchen. Without further adieu—let’s get mixing!
3 Irresistible Homemade Ice Cream Toppings
Estimated prep time: 30 minutes
Ice cream is all about the big freeze. But for your fabulous sauce toppings, turn up the air conditioner, and be prepared to get your stove going! This first recipe is refreshingly simple but incredibly rich and decadent as a result. All you need is a quality saucepan and something to whisk your mixture with.
Start with brown sugar, half and half, butter, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. That’s right—no messy caramel candy cubes from the store. In Ree Drummond’s version, all ingredients are gently combined over medium-low heat for about 5 to 7 minutes.
Considering the thick, sugary consistency you eventually create, be sure to whisk very slowly, as to not overwork the sauce. Once your liquid has thickened to your desired consistency, transfer to a jar and pop in the refrigerator until it’s time to start scooping.
Estimated prep time: 10 minutes
Hot fudge sundaes are a staple of every childhood. So as our palates mature, it’s only natural that we take things up a notch with another essential ingredient: peanut butter!
This simple recipe takes mere minutes to prepare and works well served both hot and cold. You’ll need brown sugar, peanut butter, cocoa powder, butter, milk and vanilla extract. Like before, take all your ingredients—minus the vanilla—and stir in a saucepan over medium heat.
The key to creating the perfect consistency is to stir constantly until all the sugar dissolves. You can avoid burning the butter by taking the pan off the heat just when things start to furiously bubble. Stir in your vanilla flavoring for some added oomph, and let sit for about 5 minutes to thicken further. Drizzle and enjoy!
Estimated prep time: 5 hours
While chocolate and caramel toppings are easy crowd-pleasers, they’re not exactly unique (from a culinary standpoint). If you’re inviting a group of foodies, you can cater to their out-of-the-box affinities by embracing seasonal fruits as the showcase of your ice cream fixings bar. We found a humble recipe for peach sauce requiring no cooking at all. Just a little mixing and moshing for seriously TASTY results.
Start with 3 cubed peaches, light brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. To retain the fresh, crisp, bright flavor of the peaches, we won’t be reducing them to liquid. Instead, combine all ingredients and refrigerate for at least 5 hours. The process allows the peach juice to activate, helping the concoction take on a ‘sauce’ like texture over time.
Serve over a simple ice cream like vanilla or butter pecan, and your farm-market masterpiece is ready for its debut!
Loving your adult ice cream party? More cool summer recipes still to come!