One of the quintessential sounds of summer, drawing the attention of children all over the country, is the joyful tune emanating from an ice cream truck. You may have seen the joke circulating around Facebook about ice cream trucks: It says something like, “My dad always told me that the ice cream truck played music to let people know that they were sold out. Well played!” If your kids clamor every time they hear the characteristic melodies coming from the ice cream shop on wheels, you may be tempted to use this approach. Unfortunately, the kiddos probably won’t believe you!
Instead, you could devote a few hours on a weekend to putting together several imitations of the delicacies sold by your local traveling ice cream salesman, store them in your freezer, and give them their choice when he drives into your neighborhood. Not only will this save you money, but also the frustration of dealing with bad attitudes when you don’t have cash on hand to fund your children’s expensive ice cream habits!
Here are a few popular ice cream truck favorites, and ways for you to replicate them at home.
- Nutty Buddies. These are waffle cones filled with ice cream, drizzled with chocolate, and served pre-packaged. Buy a package of sugar cones and stick a few M&Ms or chocolate chips, or a piece of candy such as a Hershey’s Kiss or a Rolo, in the bottom. Then fill with your kids’ favorite flavor of ice cream. Drizzle with chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup or caramel. Lay these on a cookie sheet and freeze for a little while to harden them up, then wrap them in plastic wrap or foil.
- Ice pops. You can buy popsicle molds or just use disposable paper or plastic cups. Fill with a variety of liquids or near-liquids: drinkable yogurts, fruit juices, iced tea and sodas have all been hits in my house. Add some excitement by including a few jelly beans, dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, a squirt of chocolate syrup or whatever else your kids like. Plop in a popsicle stick, and freeze. If you’re using plastic or paper cups, cover the cup with foil, then poke the popsicle stick through; this will hold it in place while the solution freezes.
- Character ice cream. This is probably the hardest to make at home, but not impossible. Buy silicone molds of character faces, butterflies or whatever shapes you can find. Use gum balls, candy or ice cream sprinkles to make designs on the mold (better yet, let your kids do this part), then pack in softened ice cream. When you pop the ice cream creation out later, you will end up with ice cream on the bottom and a cool design on the top.
- Candy bar ice cream. This is an easy one: Either just freeze the kids’ favorite candy bars (use the fun size bars if you’re worried about portion control), or unwrap them and serve them on top of a small serving of ice cream.
You could also make some fun treats that aren’t anything like what ice cream trucks sell; try making chocolate-covered strawberries, and serving those on top of vanilla ice cream, for example. Or set up an ice cream sundae bar on occasion and let the kids go wild, topping their frozen yogurt or ice cream with a variety of fun toppings.
Do you keep sweet treats on hand to ward off the ice cream truck blues?