Throw an Ice Cream Social

I scream, you scream, we all scream for vanilla ice cream!

July 23 is National Vanilla Ice Cream Day, and to celebrate America’s favorite ice cream flavor, throw a casual, inexpensive, yet creative party for your friends. One of the best things about hosting an ice cream social — besides the obvious benefits of enjoying lots and lots of ice cream — is that you can make the event as simple or as elaborate as you’d like. So whether you like your ice cream best in a cone, a shake, a bowl, atop a waffle, or in an extravagant banana split, follow these ideas for crowd-pleasing recipes, toppings, plus planning advice to help you keep your cool.

Homemade vs. Store-Bought: The fun in hosting an ice cream social is experimenting with making homemade ice cream right in your own kitchen. Put commercial ice cream to shame by making your own ice cream using this simple recipe. However, if you can’t find the time to make your own, there are many store-bought brands that are just as delicious. So whether it’s homemade or store-bought, it’s guaranteed to satisfy your guests' sweet tooth’s.

Toppings: The simpler the ice cream choice, which in this case is vanilla ice cream (can’t get simpler than that!), the crazier you can get with the toppings. Provide a make-your-own pie à la mode sundae bar with crumbled piecrust, homemade fruit sauces, candy toppings, and nuts. Don’t forget the chocolate sauce! Grab a spoon and pour this heavenly hot fudge sauce over vanilla ice cream, and top with chopped nuts and a cherry for a classic sundae. You could also go beyond sugary toppings at the table and offer fun garnishes such as basil and edible flowers.

Party Favors: Let your guests take a part of the party home with them. In a brown paper bag, pack up a wooden spoon and a pint-size ice cream container, and attach the recipe for this bourbon vanilla ice cream, or the recipe to your favorite sundae.

So sit back, relax, and play it cool at your next ice cream social, but just remember to enjoy it before it melts!