(Family Features) - Americans love ice cream. In fact, we each eat an average of 25 pints of ice cream annually. That makes each of us a Californian at heart, because California is the country's largest producer of ice cream. So bring a little California cool to your next summertime event with ice cream, the fun, effortless, crowd-pleasing dessert that is perfect for any party, cookout or family night.
Dazzle friends and family by reinventing the classic flavor combination of creamy, luscious ice cream and sweet cherries. More than just a garnish, sweet red cherries - available canned or as beautiful bottled maraschinos - add vibrant, fresh-picked flavor and vivid color to any ice cream treat.
Wow guests with these ice cream dessert tips!
Personalized Ice Cream Flavor Combinations - Express your inner chef by combining your favorite ice cream with surprising ingredients to make a flavor that is all your own, such as Sweet Cherry Pie ice cream (featured in recipe).
Hold an Ice Cream "Churn Off" - Challenge your friends to bring their own ice cream flavor combinations and hold a taste test for dessert. It is sure to be an unforgettable event.
Spoon Required Ice Cream Sandwich - For a quick treat, roll a scoop of ice cream in crushed cookies. Top with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry, grab a spoon and enjoy a unique ice cream treat.
Jazz Up an Ordinary Scoop - Line fun-shaped molds with plastic wrap; fill with your favorite ice cream and freeze until firm. See the Seaside Sundae recipe for plated sundae ideas.
Did You Know?
It takes about 12 pounds of whole milk to make one gallon of ice cream. California produces more milk (40.6 billion pounds in 2007, or 22 percent of the nation's milk supply), butter, yogurt and ice cream than any other state.
The More, The Cherrier!
Research shows kids love maraschino cherries. When given the opportunity to add their own maraschinos to foods and drinks, kids include an average of 3.5 maraschinos. Enjoy extra large smiles around your table this summer by adding a few extra maraschinos to your favorite desserts. With just 2 grams of sugar in each maraschino, they are the perfect topper to any ice cream scoop, sundae, float, shake or cake.
For more easy summer entertaining recipe ideas visit www.realcaliforniamilk.com> and www.nationalcherries.com.
Very Cherry Berry Ice Cream Parfait
In a parfait glass, layer maraschino cherries, vanilla or Sweet Cherry Pie ice cream, fresh blueberries and canned Bing cherries in heavy syrup. End with a scoop of ice cream; top with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.
Line a star-shaped mold with plastic wrap; fill with Chocolate, Sweet Cherry Pie or Fudge Ripple ice cream. Freeze until firm. Sprinkle a plate with graham cracker crumbs, unmold ice cream star and arrange on the plate. Garnish with seashell-shaped chocolates, gummy sharks and/or Swedish fish and caramel sauce.