Adapt the concept of an ice cream social to a DIY ice cream sandwich social (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour).
This vanilla milk is made with honey. Here’s the recipe from A Well Fed Life. You can use your sweetener of choice (ours is Splenda).
An easy way to make coffee milk: Just add coffee syrup, as in this recipe from Cocktail Crafty.
July is National Ice Cream Month. In our neck of the woods, gourmet ice cream sandwiches have been the rage for a while.
What makes them “gourmet,” beyond the super-premium ice cream, is the sandwiching—usually homemade cookies in chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter and snickerdoodle.
When we make our own cookies for homemade ice cream sandwiches, we make chocolate-dipped graham crackers. When people ask what they can bring, we assign them a batch of cookies.
There’s plenty of time to invite friends and family for a casual ice cream social* this weekend or next. You set out the fixings, and let guests make their own sandwiches.
Then, make up your menu:
Cookies: 3″ diameter, plus mini-cookies if desired*
Sprinkles, mini-chips, chopped nuts
Ice trays/bins for ice cream
Scoops, spoons, spatulas for ice cream
Large plates or trays for adding garnishes
Paper plates and napkins
Limit the cookie, ice cream and garnish choices the first time out. See what gets consumed most; then you can vary the choices next time.
What beverages go best with ice cream sandwiches?
Youngsters might clamor for soft drinks, but coffee and tea, hot and iced, go best.
You know your guests: Are they insistent on beer and wine, or would they be happy with an iced coffee—with a shot of vodka or coffee liqueur?
Consider these options, each of which can be enjoyed plain or with a shot:
Vanilla milk and/or coffee milk (recipe follows)
RECIPE: VANILLA MILK or COFFEE MILK
Ingredients Per 8-Ounce Glass
1 cup milk (0%, 1%, 2%) or nondairy milk
1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sugar or substitute
For coffee milk: black coffee to taste
*To estimate how many cookies or waffle quarters you’ll need, multiply 2 cookies/sandwich times 2 sandwiches/guest.
ICE CREAM SOCIAL HISTORY
An ice cream social is a party where people come to eat ice cream.
Ice cream socials date back to 18th-century America, long before the dawn of electric freezers—not to mention electric ice cream makers. The ice cream was hand-cranked.
While a laborious undertaking, ice cream socials were very popular, traditional gatherings. According to Wikipedia:
The first ice cream social in America was in 1744, when Maryland governor Thomas Bladen served ice cream for a dinner party.
The first ice cream social in the White House was in 1802 by President Thomas Jefferson.
When ice cream became more available to the middle classes in the mid-1800s, schools and churches began to host ice cream socials. Those held outdoors by the well-to-do became known as ice cream gardens.
Some churches and communities still hold ice cream socials today, but an ice cream social is an easy party to throw at home—no “community effort” required.
If you have neither garden nor other outdoor space, you can still host a delightful ice cream social.
ICE CREAM TRIVIA: THE FIRST FLAVOR
Many people would guess that vanilla was the first ice cream flavor, but that is far from the case.
You have to think back to the origins of ice cream, around 2000 B.C.E. in China, when the first ice cream was made from snow, flavored with fruit syrups.
The concept reached the Middle East via traders, and Alexander the Great brought it to Greece after conquering Persia in 331 B.C.E., where it became a treat for the nobility, who had the servants to fetch snow and ice from the mountains and turn it into dessert. The shaved ice and snow were combined with fruit toppings, honey and nuts—the first sundae, perhaps.
Vanilla, which originated in Mexico and was used to flavor the cacao drink, didn’t become a flavor in Europe until the 1600s. As in Mexico, only the wealthy could afford it.
Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing vanilla to the United States in the late 1700s. He became familiar with vanilla at the court of King Louis XVI, while serving as U.S. minister to France (from 1785 to 1789). When he returned to the U.S., he brought 200 vanilla beans with him, and his cook had learned to make ice cream.
Here’s the history of vanilla.