It’s February here in Southwestern Ontario, meaning we’re likely to still get a few good snowfalls before spring. I can’t believe I haven’t made snow ice cream yet this year.
Like most Mennonites (and many others, no doubt) living in the northern climates, I grew up making snow ice cream with my mom. So simple, so special, so fluffy and fun.
When I wrote about the history of the Mennonites in North America, I touched on the fact that the past few generations of Old Colony Mennonites have had poor literacy rates. Naturally, then, reading and writing are not a big part of Old Colony Mennonite culture.
Food and cooking, by contrast, are a huge part of Mennonite culture. (Come to think of it, what culture doesn’t have a huge emphasis on food?) So most Mennonite women do most of their cooking and baking by memory and by sight. My mom taught me how to feel when there’s enough flour in the bread dough. She taught me what a proper “handful” of salt looks like when seasoning ground beef.
Likewise, we grew up making snow ice cream in the way I made it today: without measurements. You do it by sight, mixing in cream and sugar until it looks like the right consistency.
I thought about going out and re-doing this recipe with measurements for the blog, but the idea made me tired.
So here you go: snow ice cream, Mennonite-style. I’ll offer some estimated amounts to help.
Note: you want to make this quickly, as snow melts rapidly once it’s brought inside and mixed with other ingredients.
- snow (obvs)
- vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
Step one: go outside and get yourself a bowl of fresh, clean snow. I just made myself a single serving, and I probably scooped about 4 cups of snow.
For the cream, I happened to have half-and-half on hand, but I would have used heavy whipping cream with equal enthusiasm. (Side note to folks watching their weight: fat is not the problem. Go ahead and indulge in some high-fat cream. It’s good for you, especially if it’s organic, and especially if it’s raw!). (What? Yes, I got my cream 50% off because it was about to expire. Ever the frugal Mennonite!)
For the sweetener, I shied away from my Mennonite roots and skipped the white sugar, choosing maple syrup instead. I find that the flavour of maple syrup blends beautifully with cream. Plus, it’s not poison.
(I forgot that a friend once suggested adding a pinch of salt. I recommend it, though I forgot here.)
I removed some snow from my bowl first, to add later if necessary, leaving about 3 cups. I then proceeded by slowly adding some cream (I’d guess about half a cup) and stirring until it reached a thick, slushy consistency.
That looks about right for now.
Next, dribble in a bit of vanilla – about half a teaspoon should do.
Notice how quickly it’s melting. Eat immediately!
Have you ever made snow ice cream? Do you have any tips?