Ice Cream + Friends + ??? = Awesome
August 27, 2010 3:50 AM   Subscribe

Help us host the best ice cream social ever.

My boy and I are hosting an ice cream party next week for our birthdays. We've invited our friends, they've chosen an excellent and huge selection of ice creams and sorbets which are now sitting in our freezer (there's no room for anything else!), and now we want to make sure that the party goes with a swing.

What, in addition to good ice cream would you consider essential for this party? Our slight disclaimer is that the ice cream is so good that it might be a shame to drown it too much with sauces and such, but we'd like to make sure that all tastes are catered for.

We're based in the UK, and our friends don't have any particular food intolerances or preferences aside from vegetarianism.

All suggestions welcome!
posted by featherboa to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
You could make your own fruity toppings! All you do is take fruit that's yummy and in-season, stick it in a pot with a little water and sugar, boil it down, and strain it. Taste frequently and adjust the sugar level as desired. Add lemon or some other type of citrus (zest is good too) to help preserve color and add tartness. You can also do this with herbs like mint or basil. I'm not sure what's in season in the UK right now, but in Seattle it's blueberries, strawberries, stonefruit, and the beginnings of figs.
posted by Mizu at 3:58 AM on August 27, 2010

Waffle cone bowls, or something waffle cone-ish. Cut up fruit -- don't bother making them into sauces. Nuts. A good chocolate sauce (homemade -- if you need a recipe I can find mine, it's excellent and requires all but no work). Whipped cream (homemade again). Sprinkles, because they are pretty.

Not that there's anywhere really to go *wrong* with an ice cream party.
posted by jeather at 4:21 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

A few things that would make an awesome icecream party for me:

Some fancy glasses or bowls (like knickerbockerglory glasses maybe?) and spoons would be nice. It would be cool to have some fizzy drinks like coke, lemonade etc, so that people can make float drinks with them! I LOVE lemonade with a couple of scoops of raspberry ice cream in it. If you have some unusual flavours of ice cream you could get some more unusual drinks too - I imagine ginger beer would go really well with some kind of citrus ice cream. Baileys poured over vanilla ice cream (or hazlenut or chocolate or similar) is delicious. Also, maybe this would ruin your nice ice cream flavours, but I love that chocolate crackle topping that you can get from Tesco - the one that sets the second you squeeze it onto the ice cream. That would totally make me feel like a kid again! And I agree you need some kind of waffle or cone. Fancy wafers would be nice, as people can make ice cream sandwiches with them!
posted by schmoo at 4:41 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

If it doesn't interfere with your ice cream flavours, you can put out a bunch of bowls of toppings like they do in ice cream places: smarties, Oreos broken up into little pieces, chocolate chips, nuts, ooo and some broken up Flake bars (yum), and whatever else catches your fancy. It would look really colourful and festive!
posted by Ziggy500 at 4:46 AM on August 27, 2010

Soda, preferably without flavoring or sugar. Coke and root beer. Fresh cherries. Candied nuts (diy). Fresh mint. Broken oreos/ginger snaps/similar cookies. Fancy glasses, straws, long spoons.

Oh, and party hats.
posted by beerbajay at 5:07 AM on August 27, 2010

I would recommend some little ice cream spoons that people can use to sample. Plus those tiny spoons are so fun and evocative of childhood for me.
posted by Saminal at 5:11 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Find as many ways of serving the ice cream as possible. Get long dishes and whole bananas, and make banana splits. Buy giant cookies (chocolate chip would be my choice) and have people make their own ice cream sandwiches. If you have a marble cutting board, you can do the smoosh-in style ice creams that Cold Stone Creamery here in the U.S. does -- you take what would normally be toppings and fold them into ice cream. Cut up hard-frozen ice cream, insert sticks and find quick-hardening toppings and make your own Dove-style bars.
posted by xingcat at 5:32 AM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Provide something salty to contrast the sweetness of the ice cream. Pretzels, crushed peanuts or a sprinkling of sea salt are great on ice cream.
posted by hooray at 5:39 AM on August 27, 2010 [6 favorites]

Seconding homemade whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Don't forget the cherries!
posted by natasha_k at 6:12 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Put a brownie under it! Nothing better than ice cream and brownies or a slice of cake.
posted by santaslittlehelper at 7:41 AM on August 27, 2010

Seconding the sampling spoons! Great ice cream is great, but when you have to commit to just one or two flavours when you've got an entire selection in front of you... it's torture!

Also as mentioned - brownies/cake, good quality sauces (not that cheap supermarket chocolate syrup) and various chunked up goodies - chocolate bars, nuts, fruit. Oh, and cookie dough!

Man, I need friends like you guys.... an ice cream party is such a good idea!
posted by cgg at 7:47 AM on August 27, 2010

A blender, with milk, to make milkshakes.
posted by Alt F4 at 8:08 AM on August 27, 2010

This is a little silly, but how about some little paper toothpick umbrellas that you can stick on top of your creations?
posted by Ziggy500 at 8:25 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh man, make sure to take it all out of the freezer an hour or so in advance of the party, so that it's just soft enough to scoop. This prevents the crowd of ravenous ice cream seekers from becoming an angry mob when you're forced to hack away at tiny slivers of ice cream from a giant well-frozen block.

Also, lots of kinds of alcohol are tasty with ice cream. Bailey's, Kahlua, etc.
posted by elizardbits at 8:51 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

1 pint heavy cream
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup high-quality cocoa
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix first four ingredients in heavy saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat. Cook and stir five minutes; be sure to stir all over the bottom of the pan, reaching into all the edges to keep sauce from burning there. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.

My mother has made this for us since we were small. It's delicious over high-quality vanilla ice cream. When it cools, it becomes very firm (not quite fudge) and can (unfortunately for my waistline) be eaten right out of the jar with a spoon. mmmMMMMMMmmmm. Tasty.

Here is a good use for this fudge sauce (aside from the aforementioned): in a tall ice cream glass put a dollop of hot fudge and a quarter of a banana, sliced; dust with chopped toasted mixed nuts and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Add another layer of fudge, banana and chopped nuts, plus a second scoop of ice cream. Slice the remaining half of the banana into four spears; stick them in upright around the top ice cream scoop; drizzle with more hot fudge, top with whipped cream, chopped nuts and a maraschino cherry--a big on with a stem! Share with a friend or two.
posted by miss patrish at 8:56 AM on August 27, 2010

I highly recommend having some salty snacks on hand. I think salted nuts or potato chips would be nice. It will let folks take a break from all the sweet treats.
posted by annaramma at 8:59 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Not a food suggestion, but I saw the cutest decoration idea: pink & white helium balloons with brown paper "cones" -- so easy and just adorable!

Also recently saw a very cute favor idea: ice cream in a jar (for the guests to DIY later using ice). The info for how the guests will make the ice cream is in the printable instructions.
posted by hansbrough at 9:19 AM on August 27, 2010 [4 favorites]

Seconding the sea salt; it is unbeatable. You could even get different fancy artisanal salts if you're feeling gratuitous.
posted by verbyournouns at 9:31 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Maybe you'll need a soundtrack?
posted by TheGoodBlood at 10:07 AM on August 27, 2010

Please toast the nuts first.
Also broken up pieces of toffee go well on many flavors of ice creams.
posted by plinth at 10:30 AM on August 27, 2010

Warm homemade caramel sauce is pretty amazing. Also, rainbow-colored sprinkles.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:28 PM on August 27, 2010

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