Around here there seems to be a fro-yo place in every strip mall. I’m not complaining, I mean who doesn’t love an ice cream bar with 12 different flavors of frozen yogurt and a whole bar of junk food to pile on top of the frozen yogurt? Seriously, as I am writing this I realize the irony of having frozen yogurt with 90% of the toppings offered being pretty unhealthy.
Anyways, who doesn’t love topping their own ice cream or frozen yogurt creation with whatever they want? Each bowl is unique just like the person who created it. I have my favorite, it’s simple, find me a TCBY (which is difficult these days) give me a big cup full of White Chocolate Mousse and only top it with rainbow sprinkles and this girl has a huge smile on her face! I’ve tried adding a few other toppings, chocolate covered raspberries, fresh fruit and Oreos, but when it comes to White Chocolate Mousse, only rainbow sprinkles for me. However, when I visit other fro-yo or ice cream shops, I mix and match yogurt flavors and I try new toppings. It’s all part of the fun of these places. No bowl ever has to be the same.
Create your own Ice Cream Bar
Why not offer this same option at your next party? When it’s time to serve dessert at your party, offer up a fun ice cream bar. You’ll want to have several topping options for your bar, but realize a little can go a long way. You can easily prepare the toppings the day before the party too and store them in airtight containers.
This could be great at a birthday party, instead of serving cake and ice cream. It could also be a great dessert break on game night or movie night. Really, anytime you are having a group of friends over, an ice cream bar would be fun!
To start you’ll need to decide which ice cream or frozen yogurt to buy. You’ll want to provide a few options for your guests. I don’t think you need to get flavors that already have a lot of pieces of nuts or candy miced into them because the toppings will mix in and make the ice cream more flavorful and special.
Basic ice cream flavors you could use
The obvious – chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. I think these are a great base if a lot of children will be there.
If you have more adults you can get a few more options such as
- Black Cherry
- Dulce de Leche
- Cookie Dough
- And, of course, the obvious chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.
Since you will have more flavors you don’t need to buy huge containers of each flavor. Guests may have 2 scoops total not a scoop of every flavor. Then again, you could create one of those kitchen sink bowls of ice cream like in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. But in reality, you guests will more than likely only have a total of 2 scoops. They may have four small scoops of ice cream which would total about two regular scoops.
- Oreos – break the cookies into small pieces. Pretty much good on any flavor of ice cream, right?
- M&Ms – would be great with the basic flavors and cookie dough ice cream
- Toffee pieces – good with cookie dough and coffee
- Mini Peanut Butter chips, if no peanut allergies, these would be great with vanilla, cookie dough, and chocolate
- Mini Chocolate Chips – would be great mixed into any flavor
- Gummy Bears – this is up to you. I love gummy bears, and I’m picky about the firmness, therefore, I don’t ever put them into my ice cream because they get too hard for me to enjoy them. But, not everyone has such strong opinions about gummy bear textures as I do.
- Brownie pieces – These can pretty much go with every flavor
- Crumbed Up cake pieces – this takes care of your cake and ice cream. You can bake up a cake mix of chocolate or yellow cake the day before and crumble it up for a topping. Or go all out and make funfetti cake!
- Nuts, if no one has allergies
- Fresh fruit – strawberries, blueberries, bananas..
- Chocolate covered anything – nuts, raisins, fruit
- Sprinkles – rainbow and/or chocolate
- Liquid toppings – hot fudge, butterscotch and caramel
Don’t forget the whipped cream and cherries! And if you want to get really fancy you can get Pirouline Rolled Wafer cookies. These are the sundae cookies that ice cream parlors stick out of the sundae glass.
How to set up your Ice Cream Bar table:
First place a tablecloth down to protect your table from all the stickiness of melted ice cream and spillovers of toppings. Find a fun tablecloth. Your tablecloth could be a fun, bright solid color or you can use a tablecloth with polka dots, stripes or even ice cream pattern. This will make the ice cream bar more fun looking.
Put all of the non-liquid toppings into small, clear or colorful bowls and have them staggered on your serving table. Also have colorful serving spoons for each bowl.
Now, set up your table for the best flow
- Start with the bowls
- Followed by the ice creams. And be sure to have a scoop for each flavor.
- Next have all the non-liquid toppings in bowls with spoons
- Make little signs for next to each ice cream and topping. This way your guests don’t have to guess.
- Follow the non-liquid toppings with the liquid toppings. A simple trick for making it easy to put the liquid topping onto your ice cream is to put the liquid toppings into squeeze bottles. You can find these in food supply stores or online. They look like red diner ketchup squeeze bottles but they are clear. You’ll want to warm up the hot fudge before placing it into the squeeze bottle.
- Then have the nuts, whipped cream and cherries to help your guests complete their perfect ice cream bowl.
- After all the ice cream toppings have the spoons and colorful napkins available for your guests to take as they walk to their seats. (I always have the utensils at the end of the line of food so guests don’t have to juggle their utensils while preparing their plates.)
To get your guests more involved, you can have a chalkboard or whiteboard setup and people can write their concoctions on the board so others can try their friends’ creation.
Now, sit back and enjoy your personalized bowl of ice cream.
7 tips and tricks to dazzle your guests:
- Provide ice cream flavors in addition to vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. For the ice cream bar, avoid rocky road, mouse tracks or any other flavors that has a lot of items already mixed into the ice cream. I love these flavors on their own, but you want your guests to be able to create their own creation from a basic flavor.
- Provide a wide variety of toppings
- Use a bright colored table cloth or a tablecloth with polka dots, stripes or an ice cream pattern to cover your serving table. Have colourful spoons in all your topping bowls
- Provide ice cream bowls instead of plastic bowls or your everyday bowls. These usually come in bright colors. You could also use sundae glasses.
- Put the liquid toppings into squeeze bottles
- Make little signs for each of your ice cream flavors and toppings
- Provide a decorated chalkboard or whiteboard for guests to write their creations on and share with the group.
Enjoy! And be careful to avoid brain freezes!