In honor of National Ice Cream day, I thought I'd share an easy, crowd-pleasing dessert idea perfect for summer gatherings - a sundae bar!
Sundae bars allow guests to customize ice cream to their liking. It's simple to gather ingredients, set up, and clean up - all important criteria when you're hosting but still want time to enjoy your guests. You can even ask guests to bring their favorite toppings to share!
Start with a few basic varieties of ice cream. You can't go wrong with vanilla, chocolate, and coffee for flavors that pair well with most toppings. It's easiest to buy ice cream from the grocery store, but if you're feeling adventurous and want to make your own, here's a great recipe I use for classic vanilla. Also, don't forget to include a dairy free variety for any lactose intolerant or vegan guests. Most grocery store stock dairy free alternatives (typically made with almond, coconut, or soy milk) alongside regular ice cream.
Next is the fun part - toppings! Here's a list of some of our favorites, but feel free to customize however you like:
- Chocolate chips
- Candy (M&M's, Reese's Pieces, gummy bears)
- Crumbled cookies
- Graham cracker crumbs
- Toasted coconut flakes
- Brownie bits
- Waffle cone pieces
- Chopped nuts
- Toffee bits
- Chopped fruit
Don't forget to include syrups and sauces such as chocolate, caramel, and berry.
Set up the sundae bar assembly line style in this order:
- Individual bowls for each guest.
- Ice cream containers with scoops (it helps to place each ice cream container in a bowl of salted ice to help slow down melting)
- Syrups and sauce
- Bowls with each topping, each with its own spoon
- Napkins and spoons
That's it! It doesn't get much easier than a sundae bar for summer dessert. If you want to carry the theme, check out my post about hosting your own burger bar. Both are great options for large gatherings, but also a fun treat for your family on a regular summer night.
toppings image: Baked Bree