The dead of winter may not seem like prime time for ice cream — more like hot chocolate, cozy stews and tea. And yet, snow cream is everywhere this winter, especially as the country gets absolutely slammed with snow, proving once again that it's always ice cream o'clock.
If you didn't grow up eating snow cream, it's time to hop on board because all it takes is fresh, clean snow, vanilla and some sweetened milk to make the fastest, tastiest winter treat around. It's a super fun activity to do when kids are home on a snow day, but you don't need children to enjoy this simple pleasure.
Whether you call it snow cream or snow ice cream, it's the same idea. You mix snow with vanilla and sweetened condensed milk or milk and sugar and, voila, you've got ice cream made out of snow. No fancy equipment necessary.
Use your judgement here, people. If you live in an urban area where the snow turns to yellow slush as soon as it hits the street, you probably don't want to make snow cream out of it. But if you have access to pristine, perfectly white snow then you're good. Some people worry about pollutants in the snow, but if you eat freshly fallen snow it has had less time to absorb much of the bad stuff. And experts say it's unlikely that you'd eat enough to cause harm (so just go easy; everything in moderation). If you're really worried, you can use shaved ice instead.
Making snow cream is about as easy as it gets. One of the most popular versions uses sweetened condensed milk. In this case, all you have to do is mix together sweetened condensed milk, a pinch of salt and fresh, clean snow. If you have the time, it helps to chill the sweetened condensed milk briefly before mixing in the snow; it will melt less quickly this way.
Alternately, if you want easy snow ice cream without sweetened condensed milk you can use milk and sugar instead along with vanilla and a pinch of salt. Just be sure to whisk them together really well until the sugar crystals are dissolved. Once again, it's helpful to chill the mixture first, but not strictly necessary if your milk is quite cold. In either case, keep mixing in snow until you reach your desired consistency. The flufflier the snow, the more you will need.
If you end up with more snow cream than you can eat in a sitting, you can indeed freeze leftover snow cream. It is definitely best fresh and will develop ice crystals faster than typical ice cream, but you won't lose any of that delicious creamy vanilla flavor.
Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup sweetened condensed milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Put the bowl in the freezer, or outside in the snow, for 15 minutes or until cold (this will help prevent the finished snow ice cream from melting too quickly).
Step 2: Stir in fresh, clean snow, about 1 cup at a time, until the mixture is your preferred texture of ice cream. The fluffier the snow, the more you will need.
Step 3: Serve the snow ice cream in bowls or cups and top with sprinkles or other toppings, if you like. Enjoy!