Wednesday, June 19, 2013

(How to Throw a Homemade) Ice Cream Social

As I mentioned in this post, I turned 26 earlier this month.  I celebrated on my birthday by hosting a little cookout with the family.  Due to lots of vacations, etc. most of my close friends were out of town around my birthday so I decided to throw a belated Ice Cream Social to celebrate with them last weekend.

After a couple of months of very casually planning via my Pinterest board, I began active prep for the party one week prior to the event.  In addition to six different flavors of homemade ice cream, I also made Hot Fudge, Butterscotch Sauce, Brownies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and a big batch of Vanilla Lemonade for the event.  I found that a little scheduling helped everything come together effortlessly.  Since homemade ice cream can be frozen for a week or so without any adverse change in texture, the bulk of the prep for a gourmet ice cream social can be done in advance and/or slowly over the course of the week before the party.  As such, an impressive Ice Cream Social can be executed with much less stress than the typical food-oriented party.  I thought in addition to sharing photos from my Ice Cream Social, I'd also share with you the recipes I made and my prep timeline.

Exactly one week prior to the party (day one), I hit up the farmer's market for some local strawberries and also stopped by the grocery store to buy the ingredients for all the ice cream, etc.  That day I made the base for the first batch of ice cream for the party (Strawberry), as well as the Hot Fudge and Butterscotch Sauce.  I also made some eggless cookie dough for Double Cookie Dough Ice Cream.

On day two of party prep, I churned the Strawberry Ice Cream and made the base for Double Cookie Dough Ice Cream.  On day three, four, five, and six, I simply churned the ice cream base I had made the day before and make the next ice cream base to be churned on the following day.  So each day a batch of ice cream was churned and placed in the freezer, the bowl to my ice cream maker was cleaned and frozen, while the base for another ice cream was made and chilling in the fridge.  On day seven (the day before the party), I churned the final ice cream flavor, baked Brownies and Chocolate Chip Cookies, made Vanilla Lemonade, and chopped up some cookies for toppings.  The day before the party, I also made sure to do any necessary yard work (since I was throwing the party outdoors) and set up the (bare) tables, chairs, etc. for the event to lighten my work for the day of.

{I snapped this photo before the ice cream, etc. had been placed on the dessert table}

Saturday morning, the day of the party, I decorated a little bit for the party and got all the food and drinks ready to be carried outside once guests had arrived.  Just before the party was scheduled to begin, I warmed the Hot Fudge and Butterscotch Sauce gently in the microwave.

Once guests arrived, I filled up the dessert table with the ice cream, toppings, etc. and we dug in!  From the six flavors of ice cream I made (Vanilla Bean, Chocolate, Strawberry, Toasted Marshmallow, Cake Batter, and Double Cookie Dough) and the various treats and toppings, there were countless cone, sundae, and ice cream sandwich combinations to be made.

I built what I deemed the S'more Sundae: a Brownie base, topped with Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream, a drizzle of Hot Fudge, and a sprinkle of crushed Graham Crackers.  It was divine.

Unfortunately the day of the party turned out a little bit warmer than expected with a beaming sun.  Shortly after everyone had their share of ice cream, we decided to move indoors.  All in all, it was a great party and everyone seemed to enjoy the ice cream!  There was even a request to make it a yearly event... so I may just have to start planning next year's Ice Cream Social.

Continue reading if you'd like to know the specific recipes I made for the event and a detailed timeline of my preparation.  If you have any questions about anything I made, any of the decor, etc., leave a comment and I'll be happy to answer them!

My Menu

Ice Cream:
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Chocolate Ice Cream
Strawberry Ice Cream (from Williams-Sonoma: Frozen Desserts)
Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream
Double Cookie Dough Ice Cream
Cake Batter Ice Cream

For Serving:
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sugar Cones
Vintage Ice Cream Cups

Hot Fudge
Butterscotch Sauce
Golden Birthday Cake Oreos
Graham Crackers
Maraschino Cherries

Vanilla Lemonade (I promise I'll share the recipe soon)
Root Beer
Cream Soda
Orange Cream Soda

My Prep Timeline*

Day 1 (Saturday - one week before party):
-Shop for ingredients.
-Prepare: Hot Fudge, Butterscotch Sauce, Strawberry Ice Cream base, eggless cookie dough.

Day 2 (Sunday):
-Churn Strawberry Ice Cream.
-Prepare Double Cookie Dough Ice Cream base.

Day 3 (Monday):
-Churn Double Cookie Dough Ice Cream.
-Prepare Chocolate Ice Cream base.

Day 4 (Tuesday):
-Churn Chocolate Ice Cream.
-Prepare Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Base.

Day 5 (Wednesday):
-Churn Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.
-Prepare Cake Batter Ice Cream base.

Day 6 (Thursday):
-Churn Cake Batter Ice Cream.
-Prepare Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream base.

Day 7 (Friday):
-Churn Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream base.
-Prepare: Brownies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Vanilla Lemonade.
-Chop Oreos and Graham Crackers and place in serving container for party.
-Prepare yard and set out (undecorated tables).

Day 8 (Saturday - day of the party):
-Decorate tables & yard.
-Set up food and drink just before/as guests arrive.
-Enjoy the delicious fruits of your labor!

*Because I only have one ice cream maker that requires its bowl to freeze for 24 hours before use, I was only able to churn one batch of ice cream per day.  If you have multiple ice cream makers at your disposal, or have a machine that can be used over and over, you could easily shorten the number of prep days by making and churning more than one flavor each day.  However, I found that the bulk of the days required less than one hour or prep and made for a smooth, stress-free week.

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