Make it a Sweet Labor Day

It’s hard to believe that Labor Day is almost upon us and, with it, the end of summer. Labor Day weekend is the perfect opportunity to get friends together and enjoy one last summer celebration.

What better way to cherish summer for a just a bit longer than with summer’s sweetest treat: ice cream.  Here’s some inspiration for hosting an Ice Cream Social both children and adults will love:

1) Start with great ice cream.

Your obvious options here are store-bought or homemade. If you go with store-bought, stop by your favorite local ice cream parlor and buy a few of your favorite flavors. Nielsen’s Frozen Custard (technically different from ice cream, I know…) in Vienna, VA is my go-to place (the staff are on a first-name basis with me and my husband — scary!); I love the bumbleberry custard.

If you go the homemade route, Buttermilk Ice Cream is a satisfying choice and a great foundation for sundaes. Offering more “avant garde” flavors is a way to insert a little “chic” into the Social. Try something like Basil Ice Cream
or for a “grown-ups only” selection, why not Jack Daniel’s Ice Cream With Jack Daniels Fudge Chunks?

For even more bespoke options, check out Fine Cooking‘s Ice Cream Recipe Builder and get creative!

Finecooking's Ice Cream Recipe Builder

Finecooking's Ice Cream Recipe Builder

2) Offer Tasty Toppings

To “dress” the ice cream, you’ll need three categories of toppings: 1) mix-ins or toppers; 2) sauces; 3) whipped cream. For the latter, my preference is always homemade (That’s my mother’s influence. We NEVER had anything but homemade whipped cream growing up — hence, my longstanding disdain for Cool Whip…).

Get creative with your toppings but be sure to also include the standards like M&Ms, crumbled Oreo cookies, chopped nuts, and diced fruit.

For sauces, homemade is also best. If time is an issue, however, you may want to enlist the help of  Knipschildt who offers a wonderful selection of artisan sauces.

Knipschildt artisan sauces

Knipschildt artisan sauces

3) Make it Pretty.

Lastly, consider some fun ways to set up your ice cream smorgasbord extravaganza. I love these fortune cookie topping holders; the instructions look very easy.

Ice Cream Social inspiration from Martha Stewart

Ice Cream Social inspiration from Martha Stewart

Because Summer is over and stores have already moved in Fall merchandise, you may find deals on ice cream bowls and other ice cream accoutrements. For example, sundae glasses are on sale at Sur La Table. Snatch them up!

For more ice cream inspiration, check out this previous post and enjoy a sweet Labor Day!

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