“Looking out of the window onto the snow covered yard hit a sweet tooth like no other.”
The first time my mother made snow ice cream for my sister and I as a child was a life changing moment. From that point on, looking out of the window onto the snow covered yard hit a sweet tooth like no other. Was this too good to be true? Was all the snow I saw before me really ice cream? The short answer is, yes.
First, let’s take a look at ice cream. Although food historians are still searching for the true origins of it, the dessert has been around for some time. It’s said that the great explorer Marco Polo saw ice cream being made on his trip to China and took the recipe back with him to Italy. The Queen consort of France from 1547 until 1559, Catherine de Medici, had her Italian chefs carry on the ice cream recipe to France when she went there in 1532 to marry the Duc d’Orléans. One hundred years later, Charles I of England was supposedly so impressed by the “frozen snow treat” that he offered his own ice cream maker a lifetime pension in return for keeping the formula secret, so that ice cream could be a royal prerogative.
But ever since people have been living directly alongside snow and ice, things have been added to the mix – honey and fruit juice, just to name a few. A popular New England late winter treat is maple toffee, where boiled maple syrup is poured over fresh snow, congealing in a toffee-like mass and eaten from the wooden stick used to stir it. Sounds pretty good to us.
But it is snow ice cream that puts the fire in our eyes, realizing that the six inches of snow built up at the front of our doorstep can almost instantly turn into a delicious treat. If you go out and get it, mom will usually do the rest. Snow ice cream has been a traditional wintertime treat in the United States for some time, and it’s really quite simple. Slowly add in a small amount of sweetened dairy-based liquid into a mixing bowl of fresh snow. The dairy will partially melt the snow and then congeal into what we know as snow ice cream.
Here’s all you need to know:
1. First you’ll need some snow. Some people claim that you should never eat the first snow, but if the world is going to end soon, then you should take what you can get.
2. Grab a large mixing bowl and run outside (preferably barefoot) to grab 8 cups of fresh snow. Please remember to avoid any yellow areas.
3. 1 cup of sugar. We like to use a good raw cane sugar, the real stuff.
4. 1/2 cup of organic whole milk. If you’re near any farmer’s markets, go there or get some from a milk share. The difference is night and day. Some people use sweetened condensed milk here instead and leave out the sugar. We like both methods. Some people also use chocolate milk, which we can’t argue with either.
5. Lastly, you’ll need 2 tablespoons of vanilla.
Mix in the snow, sugar, vanilla, and milk until you reach the desired consistency. It’s really that simple. Serve in a cold bowl and eat immediately.