One summertime party concept we can get behind? Sundae party is in the top five of our list. And, if you’re worried about ice cream drips and chocolate sauce smudges, don’t be! For the perfect ice cream sundae bar set up, we’ve got you covered. Throw a bananas-good (pun intended) sundae party this year. Here are the best tips we’ve got.
You can make do with a big galvanized steel tub, sure, especially if you wrap it in blankets for extra insulation. But why not save yourself the headache of that and invest in an excellent cooler? Keep it in a shady spot at the party, maybe put some stickers or glue construction paper letters on it to read “ICE CREAM,” and you’re off to the races.
This isn’t a time to be using a soup spoon hastily at the last minute. Why not portion out pre-scooped balls of ice cream, and put them in cups for folks to snag? It minimizes the time spent opening and closing the cooler, looks adorable, and allows you to use labels inside your cooler to smart effect.
Gelato melts faster than ice cream. And some brands melt faster than others due to the addition of stabilizers. (We’re not gonna lie; we love our own ice cream makers and recipes.) So consider the ice cream, and consider churning it past the soft stage you might usually like. It’ll make a difference in the melt time.
4. Keep it Cool
Liquid carbon dioxide, aka dry ice, can be key when it comes to keeping your cooler or tub cold. (Please be careful and never handle dry ice with bare hands!) It’s actually easier to acquire than you might think, as many grocery stores carry it, so call ahead. If you can’t find it, use plenty of ice. Go for big blocks, as they melt more slowly. If you’ve got dry ice, break out your gloves, and put the cooler in a well-ventilated spot. (If you have a cooler, read the fine print to find out how best to use the ice, such as wrapping it in newspapers.) Whether you go for dry ice or not, put your ice cream bar in the shade! It’s key to slowing the drips. And keep the cooler full, especially if you’re using “regular” ice, which can also help delay melting.
Every sundae savant knows this is where the magic lies: toppings. Spend some time thinking about them in advance of your party, and make a trip to the bulk aisle at the grocery store to see what they’ve got. Maybe you don’t get psyched about chocolate-dipped pretzels or yogurt-covered raisins, but we can guarantee you someone at your party will. Think about hues as well as flavors; you want candies in lots of colors, but maybe also popcorn, gummies, and sprinkles in every color of the rainbow. (Show us the six-year-old who can resist Enchanted Unicorn Sprinkle Mix!) Cherries, sliced fresh fruit, whipped cream, hot fudge sauce and caramel sauce should make cameos, too.
The best part of throwing a sundae party? You don’t have to serve savory food. Let someone else order pizza.