Ice Cream Social

I ended up taking a little more time off from blogging than I’d anticipated at the time of this post. But I managed to make 33 pints of ice cream for my Ice Cream Social, have 20 people over to eat ice cream in a social manner, and live to tell the tale (four weeks after the fact).

I didn’t take a single picture during the actual party, so on the point of knowing 20 people willing to come to my house, you will just have to take my word for it.

I like to call myself a “recovering perfectionist,” but this party proved the falsehood of that term as a description of me.

During the planning, I found this ice cream social party planner on Epicurious. They suggested making 3/4 of a pint for each guest, and having “a few extras” to avoid running short. That suggested making about 20 pints for my party. Being certifiably insane, I decided to make more. Being as anal-retentive as the day is long, I also created an online poll of my guests to help me calculate the appropriate amount overall as well as by flavor. I was prepared, y’all.

Check out our brand new second freezer in the basement, stocked with 33 pints of delicious homemade ice cream:

If I don’t keep up the ice cream hobby, this will be one of the silliest purchases ever.

What was the menu, you ask?

I also made: hot fudge, salted butter caramel sauce, raspberry coulis, and served extra marshmallow sauce, strawberry sauce, pretzel crust, crushed chocolate cookie, and chocolate chips.

What did the ice cream look like, you ask?

Atlantean Vanilla Bean

As someone thinking about starting a business, I’m getting increasingly frustrated with the pretentiousness permeating food service today. Even with something as simple as  ice cream, it seems you have to be able to use words like “gourmet” and “artisan” and “organic” to get consumers interested in buying it. It used to be that “Madagascar bourbon” vanilla was exotic enough. But not anymore. One of the books I’ve used for inspiration while developing my recipes uses vanilla beans from Uganda. Why? My guess: because they were super hard to import, and sound very exotic, and justify charging more. Since I don’t want to be outdone, I’m just asserting that my vanilla beans come from the lost city of Atlantis.

Spicy Chocolate

Almost everyone I’ve shared this flavor with (OK, everyone except Dave) loves it. It is lovable. It’s creamy and rich, but refreshing at the same time, with just a hint of heat from cayenne. And a good hit of cinnamon too (100% certified organic from Mars).

Toll House

I got the idea for and name of this ice cream from my favorite ice cream shop, Gannon’s Isle in Syracuse, NY. The idea behind it is that the ice cream itself tastes like chocolate chip cookie dough (rather than having chunks of cookie dough in it). I’ve been working on perfecting this flavor for months (see an earlier version here). I’m 90% pleased with this version. There is disagreement among those who have tasted it on whether it should contain walnuts (the version pictured does). Any thoughts, dear readers?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookie Crunch

My favorite Dairy Queen Blizzard flavor is Peanut Butter Crunch. It’s vanilla soft serve mixed with peanut butter topping and the crushed chocolate cookies DQ puts in the middle of their ice cream cakes. There’s only one DQ in my area that still makes this flavor because most locations now use a pre-packaged solid disk of cookie in their cakes. I wanted to make ice cream that tastes like the Peanut Butter Crunch Blizzard. The flavor of this ice cream is right, but the texture needs tweaking. The extra protein of the peanut butter makes the ice cream too thick, with a “foamy” melt.

Lemon Meringue Pie

I worked on a perfect lemon custard for weeks this spring. It took several tries, but I finally did it. It’s creamy, not too tart, not too sweet, and thoroughly lemon-flavored. I add some homemade marshmallow sauce (it turns out more like Fluff, so I don’t think anyone believes I make it myself) and crushed homemade spice cookie and call it lemon meringue pie.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

You all remember Strawberry Pretzel Salad, no? I worked for weeks on strawberry ice cream without much success. A tweaked version of the recipe from Cook’s Illustrated came out OK, but the strawberry pieces still froze. Yuck. My compromise is to thicken strawberry puree with sugar and swirl it into cream cheese ice cream with a crushed pretzel crust (baked with sugar and butter).

Peach Lambic Sorbet

I ran out of time to develop sorbet recipes. So I just made peach lambic sorbet from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home (Jeni of the Ugandan vanilla) and called it a menu. I’m not a big sorbet fan, but I wanted at least one non-dairy option. This was really tasty, very intensely peach-flavored, and the alcohol wasn’t overpowering.

Since I had 3,000 tasting spoons, I made a little game out of some of them.

Take a guess!

Per Jill‘s suggestion, I also made cards for people to make tasting notes and received really nice compliments and helpful constructive feedback, and no one complained about the lack of exotic-ness of my vanilla beans.

So how much ice cream did 22 people eat? Remember, Epicurious said 3/4 of a pint per person…

When the dust settled, people had only eaten about seven pints. Have you ever laughed at the serving size listed on a pint of Ben and Jerry’s? Well, that’s basically all people ate. I was flabbergasted. Obesity epidemic, my ass!

I would have easily eaten 3/4 of a pint or more had I been an attendee at a party like this. I think I’m learning why I’m overweight.

People are pretty health conscious around here. Frozen yogurt places are all the rage (yuck). If I really want to sell ice cream, I probably need to move somewhere with more fat people. Suggestions?

How much ice cream would you have eaten? How many spoons were in the container? Do you think you would be able to tell the difference between a grocery store vanilla bean and one imported straight from the producers in Uganda? Where do all the ice cream lovers live?

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21 Responses to “Ice Cream Social”

  1. Abby
    Monday, September 3, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    Holy cow! I had no idea you were so serious about ice cream making, and I’ll be honest, I’m seriously impressed!

    As for me, I’m a vegan, so any ice cream has to be without dairy or eggs or any animal products (I know, roll your eyes.) But my favorite were Oreo and PB cup blizzards from DQ or choc/vanilla soft serve with sprinkles. I also agree that people are open to a million new flavors, especially if they sound “fancy” or “artisan,” whatever that means to them.

    Anyway, cool post and cool venture, no pun intended 😉

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Monday, September 3, 2012 at 10:06 am #

      Thanks, Abby!

      Oh, I’m serious…I’m an all-in or nothing type of gal!

      I grew up eating DQ and love that stuff. I believe the type of ice cream you can now eat is called “sorbet!” :)

  2. Stacey
    Monday, September 3, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    Uh, I can finish a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in one sitting. I think anyone else I know would eat half a pint at most.

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

      Half a pint each I could have lived with!

      I too can eat a pint in one sitting, although I’m happy to say I haven’t done that in awhile. I used to eat several pints a week in college. I wish I still had that metabolism.

  3. Ms. HalfEmpty
    Monday, September 3, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

    Did your guests try all the flavors or just pick one? I would be so curious that I’d want to sample them all!

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

      I had wanted to scoop the ice cream myself, but people seemed like they just wanted to go at it. I didn’t want to be my usual anal-retentive self, so I “went with the flow.” But from what I saw, people took the tiniest samples of flavors. From the comment sheets, it looked like most people tried most flavors.

      • Ms. HalfEmpty
        Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

        That’s nice that your guests didn’t keep you on scooping duty. The hostess needs to have some fun too!

        • Tracy @LogyExpress
          Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

          Yeah, I probably could’ve “moved more product” had I served, but I ended up having more fun just floating around the party. Next time I’ll just make less or invite more! Problem solved.

  4. Jill W
    Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 4:23 am #

    So glad the comment cards worked out and weren’t burdensome! Also, we may move to the DC area at some point in this navy gig, and if so, i want to come to the next ice cream social! I’d more than make up for some of your friends. :) I’d have no problem putting away an entire pint over a couple of hours.

    Looks delicious!!!

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

      I made a little announcement about how I’m considering this being a second career and people then took the comment cards very seriously. It was kind of cute the way people were trying to really consider what they were tasting. Thanks for the idea, I was really glad to have the feedback.

      It would be great if you lived in the area! I could have a blogging conference (i.e. ice cream party) at my house.

  5. Nicole
    Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 6:38 am #

    i am DYING to try the strawberry pretzel salad!

    I also think people would love it if you spoofed the whole “fancy” thing and just went with that! If the ice cream is good, it’ll sell. But Atlantean Vanilla Bean is hilarious and I think you could really have some fun with poking at the snootiness of food these days.

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

      I’ll bring some strawberry pretzel salad when we party on Eric’s lawn.

      I’ve seen some absolutely crazy ice cream flavors. Celery??? Beet??? I don’t like to eat those things normally, why would I want to flavor ice cream with them? People just have to be different, I guess.

  6. Amy Vasnant
    Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 6:55 am #

    Holy hell, why aren’t you my neighbor? Mine just give me gossip. Which is pretty delicious too sometimes but…

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

      Funny you should mention neighbors…I had so much ice cream left over, I tried giving some of it to my next door neighbor and she turned me down! So I wish you were my neighbor too! Not only would it be entertaining, but you’d eat my damn ice cream!

  7. Margaret Almon
    Friday, September 7, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

    Oh. My. Goodness. I wish I lived closer! I would covet an invitation to one of your ice cream socials! The lemon meringue looks amazing. I used to live in Western Massachusetts and people were very serious about their ice cream. One shop had this quote from a poem by Wallace Stevens: The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

      If you’re ever in the D.C. area, let me know and I’ll hook you up! I am totally going to look up that poem now, thanks!

  8. Rebecca Latson
    Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 8:22 am #

    Ohhhhh, I wish I could have been there.

  9. Anja
    Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 6:09 am #

    These look delicious! BTW, I’m the perfect person to be invited to an ice-cream social as ice-cream is one of my major food groups. I probably wouldn’t have eaten that much in one sitting, though, because once my tongue gets frozen, I start to lisp – ha ha! So that’s one big scoop, then a hot cup of coffee to defreeze the tongue, and then back to ice-cream 😉

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

      Thanks! I know what you mean about needing a break…I inherited my grandmother’s habit of uncontrollable coughing if I eat too much ice cream too fast.

  10. Sheila Bell
    Friday, March 22, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

    Now THAT is a serious ice cream social. Looks like you had as much fun making it as your guests surely did eating it. Love all the different flavors and wish I could have been your ‘taste-tester’

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