Use ice cream to get kids cooking

J.M. HIRSCH, Associated PressJune 5, 2013 

Sometimes it takes the mind of an 8-year-old boy to come up with a brilliant idea. At least when it comes to ice cream.

My son and I were at a Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop when he got really quiet for a moment, which generally is just a pre-storm calm.

"We need to make our ice cream and sell it this summer," Parker began with rapid-fire excitement. "We can make all sorts of varieties like red velvet cake and chocolate eclair and snickerdoodle and chocolate with chocolate pretzels and dark chocolate bits and ..."

And you get the idea.

But his wasn't the only imagination sparked. Because I'm always looking for great excuses to get kids into the kitchen. Generally, anything that is messy, hands on, delicious and invites them to be creative works well. Do-it-yourself ice cream had all the makings of a perfect kid-friendly kitchen project for summer.

Except that neither I nor most parents have the time (nor kids the patience) to truly make ice cream from scratch. And as my son had so wonderfully demonstrated, the fun isn't in making the ice cream base, but in testing all manner of whacky-delicious things you can flavor it with.

The solution? Doctored ice cream. It works like this: Buy a pint of ice cream, then soften it either by leaving it on the counter for 15 to 20 minutes, or nuking it for 15 to 20 seconds. Scoop it into a really big bowl, then add whatever mix-ins do it for you.

Rice Krispies Treat Ice Cream

1 pint vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup Marshmallow Fluff
3 Rice Krispies treats (if homemade, about 2-by-3-inches each), cut into small chunks

Add the Fluff and mix until it is swirled through the softened ice cream. Add the chunks of Rice Krispies treats and stir until mixed into the ice cream.

Quadruple Chocolate Eclair Ice Cream

1 pint chocolate ice cream
1/3 cup chocolate fudge sauce
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 chocolate eclairs, cut into small chunks

Add chocolate fudge sauce and mix. Add chocolate chips and mix again. Gently stir in chunks of eclairs.

Snickerdoodle Red Velvet Ice Cream

1 pint vanilla ice cream
2 large snickerdoodle cookies, broken into chunks
2 frosted red velvet cupcakes, cut into chunks

Add the snickerdoodles and mix well to softened ice cream. Gently stir in the chunks of cupcake.

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