This summer has been a hot one, especially in Atlanta. And one of my favorite treats when it’s super hot out is ice cream. Who doesn’t love ice cream, right?
So, I partnered with Nestlé to host an end of summer get-together for friends, featuring two of my fave Nestlé brands, Häagen-Dazs and Edy’s
Creating a Cool Atmosphere
To create a cool, casual vibe, skip the typical table and bring the indoors out. Grab rugs and pillows from inside the house and bring them outdoors to create a comfy, cozy seating area for guests to gather. If you have any floor poufs inside, be sure to grab those too. They make great seats for guests to sit around a low table.
Speaking of low tables…I actually made this one in under 10 minutes, using scrap wood I already had. Just grab 3 pieces that are of similar length (you can cut them down to size really quickly too if you’re handy with power tools) and add three wood braces spanning the 3 pieces of wood – in the center and on each end. Nail them into place, flip it over, and you have yourself a tabletop. The process is really similar to the way I made my DIY workspace tables at the studio, only on a smaller scale, without the wood glue or putty, and using nails instead of screws.
To give the tabletop a teeny bit of height, I tossed a couple of wood crates underneath to act as the ‘legs’, which you can see peeking out in some of the photos. It’s so, so easy and guests will love the casual vibe that a low table like this one provides.
Next up is the menu! I kept the menu super light with a salad and fresh tacos, so we could really have some fun with decadent ice cream desserts and ice cold treats at the end. It’s all about balance, right?
So what was on the desert menu?! I recreated all three of the ice cream recipes from the summertime sweet treats post, which included donut sundaes, homemade matcha cones for scoops of ice cream, and peaches and cream soda floats. Then to finish things out, I made simple summer affogatos using cold brew coffee instead of hot coffee, a heaping scoop of Häagen-Dazs Vanilla and a homemade chocolate waffle cone wedge. It was the best last minute addition. Coffee and vanilla ice cream are the perfect pair.
Iced Coffee Affogatos Recipe (makes 1 serving)
- heaping scoop of Häagen-Dazs Vanilla ice cream
- 4-6 ounces of cold brew coffee (I like Blue Bottle or Chameleon Cold-Brew)
- chocolate waffle cone wedge for garnish*
*The chocolate waffle cone wedges are made from scratch and super easy. I used the same recipe as the homemade matcha waffle cones, but replace the matcha powder with 4 teaspoons of cocoa powder. And then I cut them into wedges instead of forming them into cones once they’re baked.
To make cold brew affogatos at home, scoop ice cream into a small glass, pour cold brew coffee over the top, and add a homemade chocolate waffle cone wedge. That’s it!
Ice Cream Essentials
For a casual get together like mine, having a few summer staples on hand is key. And in this case, my main summer staple was ice cream….and lots of it. So, if you’re only stocking up one ONE ice cream for the masses, my number one recommendation would be Häagen-Dazs Vanilla. It’s made with just five simple ingredients, but is still super creamy. And aside from being delicious, it’s super versatile – you can serve it on its own, add toppings to bring in other flavors, and top pretty much any other dessert item with it too (like donuts, pie, cake, etc). It also works great as an addition for drinks – I used it for the affogatos and the soda floats.
Beyond a creamy / yummy vanilla, my next recommendation would be to go with a non-dairy option so that all guests feel included. My non-dairy pick is Häagen-Dazs Non-Dairy Chocolate Salted Fudge Truffle. It tastes amazing – there are chunks of fudge truffle and sweet salted fudge swirls mixed in. So, even guests without dairy restrictions will love it, I promise. I buy it pretty regularly.
And then for additional flavors, you can’t go wrong with Häagen-Dazs Caramel Cone and Edy’s Slow Churned Mint Chocolate Chip. Mint chocolate chip was my favorite when I was a kid and I always think about my childhood when I eat it. Does anyone else have fond memories that get triggered by foods?
As for toppings to keep on hand, I just stick with the basics – hot fudge, caramel sauce, and sprinkles. But when I have time to make little waffle cone wedges, like the chocolate ones I served with the affogatos, or homemade cones for ice cream scoops, like the matcha cones, I’ll make ’em to have on hand.
Photography Amelia Lawrence
Planning your own summer celebration? Stock up and save on Nestlé ice cream products when you click here for $2 off the purchase of any 3 participating Nestlé ice cream products.
That’s a wrap on my end of summer get-together. What are your tips for easy entertaining at home? And more importantly… What’s your favorite ice cream flavor to keep around for parties and everyday celebrations?
This post is sponsored by Nestlé. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Paper and Stitch running.