Alicia Notarianni : When life gives you snow, make snow cream

December 24, 2009|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

My husband awakened me and my children with breakfast in bed last Saturday. On the menu was not pancakes or oatmeal, but something much more novel and apropos. In the midst of a wintry blast, he served homemade snow ice cream.

I grew up in a snow belt in the mountains of northwestern Pennsylvania, and went to college in Erie, Pa., where lake-effect snow fell more days than not during winter. I've built countless snowmen and exuberantly flapped dozens of snow angels. I've licked a host of impressive icicles, and - as a reckless teenager - even held on to the backs of cars, "bumper gliding" in snow-packed parking lots. Still, somehow, I had never heard of making ice cream from snow. Neither had my husband.

A co-worker gave him a recipe for "snow cream" last Friday in anticipation of the snowfall. He rose early the next morning, grabbed a big bowl and a spoon, and headed out into the winter wonderland for some clean snow.


Not one for measuring ingredients, he added in some milk, vanilla extract and sugar to taste, and stirred it. The consistency was somewhere between slushy and creamy, and the taste was delectable.

I've since asked around to determine whether I was among a rare few who had never heard of the fresh, icy treat. Among my circles, some people knew of it, but most didn't. Everyone I talked to thought it was an easy and entertaining idea. Those who had tasted it agreed that it was luscious. Better yet, it costs next to nothing to make.

Snow cream is a simple indulgence my family will be enjoying as long as the main ingredient remains on the ground. I've done some research and discovered variations on the recipe. Most of them require little more than a few simple ingredients you are likely to find in your cupboard, especially around Christmas time.

Here are some of the recipes I've found. Some are more specific than others. Tweak them to taste and make them your own.

Tips: Snow ice cream does not refreeze well, so mix it and eat it up. Also, snow must absolutely be clean and free of dust, discoloration or animal debris; emphasize this to children who want to make snow cream by themselves.

Alicia Notarianni is a reporter and feature writer for The Herald-Mail. Her e-mail address is .

Snow cream

4 or 5 cups fresh, clean snow; do not pack it
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (see cook's note)
1/2 cup of sugar

Gather snow and set aside.

Blend together milk, vanilla and sugar. Slowly add snow, stirring constantly, until mixture becomes thick.

Serve immediately.

Cook's note: To make peppermint snow cream, substitute peppermint extract for vanilla.

Sweet, creamy chocolate snow

4 to 5 cups fresh, clean snow; do not pack it
14-ounce can of sweetened, condensed milk
Chocolate syrup or instant chocolate milk powder, to taste

Mix a big bowl of snow with sweetened, condensed milk. Add chocolate syrup or powder. Serve immediately.

Chocolate slushies

5 cups fresh, clean snow; do not pack it
1 cup of instant hot chocolate mix

Gather snow. Add hot chocolate mix, and stir until blended. Serve cold.

Chocolate snow ice cream

5 cups fresh, clean snow; do not pack it
1 cup sugar
1 cup chocolate milk

Gather snow. Blend in sugar and chocolate milk. Serve immediately.

Snow cream variations

Rumrunner snow cream - Blend snow with rum, sugar and milk to taste.

Fruity snow cream - Mix snow with milk, vanilla and sugar. Mash or puree your favorite fresh or canned fruit, such as strawberries, bananas or peaches, and blend with snow cream.

Snow cream root beer float - Use the basic snow cream recipe. Drop several scoops in a glass and fill it up with root beer.

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