Ice cream has been a traditional dessert staple for decades, and why wouldn't it be? It's easy to eat, soft and sweet and a popular treat for any age. Over the years, ice cream desserts have evolved to include essentials, such as nutty toppings, yogurt spinoffs and fruity sorbets. With a few creative touches, you can mix and match your ice cream desserts to create the essential sweets to follow the main course.
Get a little fancy with your sweets by delighting your taste buds with fruit sorbets. At times, this smooth dessert is served between courses to cleanse your palate, but sorbets also offer a sweet treat at any time. Puree soft fruit, add juice of your choice and stir in sugar to taste until it dissolves. Simply freeze before serving. "They taste fancy, but their simplicity to make is second to none," said Laura Fuentes of Momables.com.
Magic Shell Toppers
Ice cream toppers offer a tasty treat to any flavor of your choice. Save time and money with this quick, essential ice cream delight. Add some magic to your treat, too. Simply mix chocolate chips and coconut oil, heat in the microwave and pour over ice cream, said Fuentes. Watch closely as the topping magically turns into a hard scrumptious shell.
For a yummy treat that provides your family with a healthy choice, opt for frozen yogurt. "The healthy ingredients and ease of making it at home is what moms can't get enough of," said Fuentes. Simply mix yogurt, maple syrup and a flavor of your choice, such as vanilla extract, in a medium bowl and mix well. Whip out the ice cream maker and churn until the yogurt is at the desired consistency. Top with fresh fruit and you won't even notice that this concoction is not ice cream.
Fruity Popsicles With Ice Cream
For two treats in one, Fuentes suggests mixing up a cool icy treat that is healthy and sweet. Simply place combinations of fruit, such as strawberries and kiwi, into a Popsicle mold and pour on lemonade, leaving 1/4 inch free at the top. Freeze for at least five hours and then serve with ice cream. "It's super easy to make," said Fuentes.
Ice Cream Poppers
Pop out your most creative creation with homemade ice cream poppers. Dip scoops of your favorite frozen ice cream into melted chocolate and then refreeze on wax paper for a tasty treat later in the day. "These ice cream poppers hit the spot whenever you're in the mood for a little frozen treat," said Chef Jennifer Hill Booker of Your Resident Gourmet.
Rice Krispie Ice Cream Bars
"Rice Krispies add a big crunch to ice cream and Rice Krispie treats are a summer favorite, so why not combine the two?" asks Booker. Simply layer your favorite softened ice cream in any flavor on top of a pan of freshly made Rice Krispies bars. Freeze the concoction for a few hours, cut and enjoy.
Take an ice cream float to the next level by brewing up a sweet treat for the adults. Simply combine three scoops of cinnamon gelato, milk chocolate pop rock shard garnish and Mother's Milk Stout to create a dessert that will chill right before your eyes. While the kids may enjoy seeing the foggy effects of the chill, this ice cream essential is strictly for mom and dad.
Who says you have to settle for store-bought ice cream sandwiches? "Simply sandwich ice cream between your favorite cookies to make a personalized ice cream sandwich," said Booker. Bake your own fresh cookies to surround an ice cream surprise or stock up on your favorites from a local bakery or grocery store.
Sweet and Salty Treats
Sweet and salty is a classic flavor combination. "To get the most out of your ice cream, add a little salty to its sweet by tossing in mini pretzels, salted almonds, crushed potato chips and even a generous pinch of sea salt," said Booker. Your family will love the savory sweetness and salty surprise with this dessert.
For a tasty twist on traditional ice cream, try whipping up a batch of gelato for dessert. This creamy dessert can be made at home by stirring together sugar, cinnamon, milk, cream and egg yolks. Heat until the mixture thickens and then add in a flavor of your choice. Place the saucepan in a large bowl of ice water, let it stand until cool and stir. Simply cover with plastic wrap and chill.
Waffles don't have to be reserved for breakfast. Break out the waffle maker for a midday ice cream treat. Simply beat eggs and sugar until smooth and then add cooled melted butter and vanilla. Stir in baking powder and flour and spoon onto a waffle maker. Once heated, roll into a cone shape and top with ice cream. Spruce up the treat by drizzling on chocolate sauce, nuts and whipped cream. Go one step above the rest by cutting the heated waffle into strips to make waffle spoons.