Once upon a time, ice cream was a treat reserved for the privileged few who had access to ice, or the money to frequent the restaurants that did. Today, you can have fresh, homemade ice cream in minutes with one touch of a button on your Vitamix machine. The only thing better than making homemade ice cream is learning how to plan an ice cream social so that you can share the joy.
Choose a Theme
Whether your ice cream social is intended as a fundraiser or as a casual gathering, choose a theme. This can be general, like a celebration of baseball season opening, or specifically focused on one charity or cause. Choosing a theme lets your guests know what to expect and also guides your menu choices. For example, an ice cream social to raise funds for breast cancer research might feature only ice cream flavors that produce shades of pink, while a baseball-themed social would include summer flavors such as spiced strawberry or apple pie, rather than pumpkin or eggnog which are more closely associated with fall and winter. Once you have chosen your theme, pick the table linen colors and decorations that will best complement it.
Know the Basics
Once you understand the basics of how to make ice cream, the sky's your limit in creating flavors to fit your theme. Most ice creams use milk or cream as their base, then add a sweetener and flavorings. Chilling and churning the milk or cream in your Vitamix machine forms tiny ice crystals and suspends them in the milk fats. This is what gives ice cream its rich and creamy texture. The sugar used to sweeten the mixture lowers its freezing point, helping the liquid become more solid. Substituting artificial sweeteners can raise the freezing point, so you may need to add more ice to get the consistency you want.
Because the process is so simple, you can easily gather several Vitamix machines and allow guests to make their own ice cream or even add mix-ins. This is especially fun for children, with some adult supervision.
Go Dairy Free
While soy or almond milk can be great substitutes for cow's milk either over cereal or in a glass, they just don't measure up to the decadent texture expected of ice cream. Creating the tiny ice crystals that give ice cream its distinctive, dense creaminess requires fat that most dairy substitutes just don't have. Your best bet for rich and satisfying non-dairy ice cream is to add fat from tofu or coconut cream, which is easily found in most Asian markets. A banana or two also adds thickness, especially if you peel and freeze them first.
Top It Off
A creative selection of toppings allows each guest to pick the cherry, walnut, or candy they prefer to top their particular sundae. For the ultimate topping buffet, use your Vitamix blender to shave chocolate, shred coconut, grind nuts and hard candies or gently crumble cookies. Offer each topping in its own pretty container with a spoon, and label them so that your guests know exactly what they're getting and can mix and match with perfect confidence.