How to Make Snow Ice Cream

Snow ice cream and cutting board

Here in Memphis, we’re prone to a week of yucky, icy sludge per freezing season.  A proverbial snow day is rare.  But when it happens, you can bet the kids fly down the stairs in their winter finest ready to make the most out of their day off from school.  

Both giggle and get along when it comes to making snow angels.  They separately retreat to their own snow piles to jump.  

Tensions ensue after dozens of snowballs are thrown and there is no general consensus about what household items are used to make the snowman’s face.

Ice cream to the rescue!  

Better yet, snow ice cream.  Parents, teachers, babysitters going above and beyond – let’s use the inclement weather to our advantage.  

Not only will it be a fun science experiment that keeps all hands on deck, but it’s quite tasty too.  And extremely easy to make with very little time and effort.

Speaking of Snow

If you are anything like me, the thought of any sort of weather event that falls from the sky is enough to give you pause.  Is it clean?!  I rummaged through one of Adam’s fifth-grade reports to share with you some scientific jargon that should assuage your fears.  

In layman’s terms, snow is water that is crystallized.  Therefore, it is cleaner with fewer impurities than, say, your average rainwater.  Just be mindful of the area from which you collect snow. 

Stay away from any possible pollutants.  Here’s looking at you, Fido.

Obviously the more pristine of an area from which you can gather your snow, the better. Despite the fact that we are in a city, our neighborhood is heavily wooded and our backyard is pristine.

If fresh, clean snow isn’t two steps away from your house, consider strapping on your boots and taking the family on a snow-themed scavenger hunt.

If you are lucky enough to live in an area where it snows regularly or has been snowing steadily for a few days, you always have the option to use a clear pan to collect snow. 

This is an added way to search for any wayward debris.  Yet I can assure you my family did none of these things and we all turned out just fine.  

Snow Ice Cream Recipe

Remember when I said this was extremely easy? Quite possibly this is one of the easiest things my two kids and I have done. Obviously snow is a huge part of the equation, but there are only two other ingredients and some basic hardware. You’ll be able to find most of these in your kitchen.

  • Measuring cup
  • Wooden spoon
  • Large bucket
  • Large bowl
  • Freezer bowl for leftovers
  • 8 – 12 Cups Clean snow
  • 10 oz Cans of sweetened condensed milk**
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  1. Grab your large bowl and tart gathering snow. Depending on where you live, some of the snow might be lighter and fluffier, other times it will be heavier. Do what you have to do in order to fill the bowl accordingly. Even if it does not pack tightly, there will always be the option to add more snow later in the process.

  2. Meanwhile, using a whisk, mix the vanilla extract and the condensed milk into the large bowl. There is always the option to add more vanilla extra later. Set aside.

  3. Leave it to your discretion whether or not you bring the snow inside – Tatum was yelling that her mittens were frozen and was having no more of the outside experience – so we opted to haul our frozen produce into the kitchen

  4. Gradually stir the snow into the milk mixture using the measuring cup. The key is to go slowly here. Stirring too vigorously can take your tasty morsel into a cold soup. Slow and steady wins the race. This is a great opportunity for the kids to be involved in the kitchen.

  5. Keep going until an ice-cream like texted is established. You don’t want it runny, like melted sherbert, but a fluffy-like consistency. It’s slightly different for everyone, but you will know when it’s there.

  6. Add toppings if desired and eat!

This amount creates ten servings of ice cream. Adjust accordingly to fit your needs.

** Unlike other forms of milk, condensed milk is necessary for this recipe. Its texture is thick and does not require refrigeration. Condensed milk is also considerable sweeter, thus eliminating the need for excess sugar. For anyone who has children or relatives who may be sensitive to sugar, this is a way to still give them a bit of dessert without sending them into a sacchine stupor.

Ice Cream

Other Considerations

Much like the snow on the ground, this concoction melts quickly. I suggest eating right away. It is a treat best enjoyed no sooner than the chef creates.

Adam and Tatum licked their spoons clean. We’ve already spent our summers making ice cream in a bag [link here if this is appropriate] but this put a frigid twist on an otherwise sizing activity.

Because my intrepid explorers love to one-up each other they enjoy combining flavors in one bowl or making two entirely separate bowls, hiding their creations, and giving a blind taste taste. The loser gets to clean up– or gather show for round two if they are feeling particularly adventure.

Meanwhile, Mom takes a hot bath….

If the kids– or Mom and Dad– want toppings on their snow cream, have them at the ready before the process even begins.

As always, we have have the chocolate, caramel, and strawberry on standby. Make an assembly line of small bowls with various toppings to see who can create the quickest masterpiece.

Bonus points for the family member who creates the best winter wonderland depiction. Depending on the age of your children; however, it might be wise to come up with an award for all who participate.

Just remember, the snow ice cream melts quickly, so this is not the place for hot toppings. Then again, there is always the option for a cold bowl of ice cream with a hot piece of pie on a separate plate…

A Final Warning

Remember, the condensed milk offers a sweet flavor that regular milk and/or heavy cream do not. It is thicker, sweeeter, and eliminates the need for added sugar.

Between the condensed milk and the naturally occurring snow, there is no need for any salt. In fact, using sugar or salt could actually melt snow, thus resulting in a liquid consistency.

While many ‘nontradional’ ice cream recipes call for these, the snow ice cream recipe does not. That would be a science experiment for a different day!

Also, sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. Any ice cream that is left over, place into the large, freezer safe bowl and cover.

Be warned; however, it freezes to rodk hard state very quickly. If it remains in the freezer for too long, it is either necessary to leave it on the counter for an hour or so or pop it in the microwave for a few minutes.

It is SO GOOD! There’s a bazillion recipes out there, here’s some other things you can try:

  • Add in chocolate chips (or any other candy you like!)
  • Put a little hot chocolate powder in there!
  • Food coloring (I’m thinking pink on Valentine’s day would be adorable!)
Snow ice cream and cutting board
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