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:
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?
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.
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).
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?
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.
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.
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).
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.
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?