Cool down this summer with a deliciously old-fashioned ice cream social! This playful party is a great opportunity to entertain friends at home without hosting a sit-down dinner party. Just set out a variety of homemade ice creams, sauces and toppings, and let guests get creative by building their perfect bowls. Our tips and recipes will help you bring the party to life.
Yes, you can use store-bought ice cream, but nothing beats the flavor and texture of the homemade stuff. Start with classic crowd-pleasers vanilla and chocolate, then add a fruit, nut or other flavor in the mix. Customers love our fresh strawberry, coffee and pistachio ice cream recipes. Consider adding a sorbet for a vegan option and frozen yogurt for something lighter, too.
Sweet baked treats soak up ice cream and make great sundaes. Bake your favorite pie or a fruit crisp or crumble to serve with the ice cream. A batch of warm brownies and cookies will be welcome, too — you can even invite guests to make their own ice cream sandwiches!
For toppings, make a variety of sauces to drizzle over the ice cream, such as chocolate, caramel and raspberry. Fresh fruit, toasted nuts and granola are good options for lighter toppings, but you’ll want plenty of decadent crushed cookies, candy bars and chocolate chips, too. Pick a range of your favorite candies to display; just make sure to place them in separate bowls in case people have food allergies.
With the right tools, you can accommodate a host of cravings. You’ll need an ice cream maker, of course, but you can also use a milk shake mixer or good blender to make all kinds of frosty milk shakes and malted favorites.
Don’t forget about that other soda fountain favorite, the root beer float. Have some root beer and sodas on hand for pouring over ice cream, along with plenty of whipped cream.
The beauty of this party is that almost everything can be made up to a week ahead: the ice creams and the sauces. You can also bake pies, brownies and cookies up to two days in advance. The day of the get-together, all you have to do is work on the presentation.
Speaking of presentation, skip paper cups in favor of pretty compote bowls, which make a beautiful base for sundaes. They’re ideal for serving the ice cream and displaying the toppings.
For a charming touch, give guests a homemade party favor on their way out. Just multiply the recipes for the sauces and pour into jars with a handwritten label — they’ll love having something sweet to take home.
Finally, this party could get sticky, so it helps to have some towels on hand. These themed ones are bright and cheerful and a little retro — perfect for some old-fashioned fun.