What do Alexander the Great and my Kids have in common? They both love desserts made with snow. This old-fashioned snow cream recipe uses simple, real food ingredients for a delicious snowy day treat!
An Ice Cream History
Cultures have eaten snowy treats since Ancient times. Supposedly Nero frequently sent runners into the mountains to gather snow and mixed it with fruit. Alexander the Great liked his snow mixed with honey. And a little bit later in history, Oyster ice cream debuted in the 1800s. I think I prefer the fruit and honey versions.
Old Fashioned Snow Cream Recipe
There are multiple versions of snow cream, but essentially it’s snow with sweetener, milk, and a bit of vanilla. Some recipes call for sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk, but we don’t regularly use either of those in our home. You can also make a creamier version with eggs.
We try to stick to whole, natural foods as God intended (though I do love me some cheddar cheese chips!). So my version of snow cream uses maple syrup, grass-fed cream, organic vanilla, and fresh snow. The kids like putting some sprinkles or chocolate chips on top too. If you don’t have maple syrup, then honey is also an option.
I’m not using processed sugar since it’s not as smooth and we don’t keep it in the house. Sweetened condensed milk is smooth and has sugar in it already, but again, it’s not something we ever use. And I’m skipping the eggs because that requires cooking and more work.
The result is a simple recipe that takes minutes to stir up and even my preschooler can make it!
Snowy Day Activity
When snow finally hits my kids are ready to go outside and play. We take advantage of the weather to look for animal tracks and look for signs of birds during nature study time. Hot cocoa, snowmen, and old fashioned snow cream are all on the agenda too. We recently got a pocket microscope and my kids have fun looking at the snow crystals with that. Sometimes its nice to slow down and take a break from checking off boxes to enjoy the season.
Is Snow Cream Safe?
Safe is a relative term. Driving in a car isn’t safe, but we do it every day. Even breathing air in many areas isn’t that safe due to high levels of air pollution. In the broader scope of things, yes, I feel safe eating freshly fallen snow from my yard.
Here are a few kinds of snow to avoid though:
- Don’t eat from snow that’s been plowed, especially by the roadside. This can contain de-icing chemicals and road pollution.
- Obviously don’t eat any snow that looks dirty.
- Don’t eat yellow snow either.
We take a bowl and scoop a thin layer off of the top, then use what’s underneath that. Don’t dig too far down though or you’ll get dirt, grass, and old leaves in your snow cream.
Can You Freeze Old Fashioned Snow Cream?
The sad answer here is no. Old fashioned snow cream must be served fresh or the texture becomes hard like ice. My son did an experiment where he left a container of snow cream out in the snow. It still turned hard and unusable. The good news is that gives you an excuse to finish off all of the snow cream in one sitting.
Milk Options for Old Fashioned Snow Cream
We use heavy cream that’s skimmed from the top of raw, grass-fed milk. There are so many nutritional benefits to local raw milk and we’re blessed to have access to it! If you want to use sweetened condensed milk that’s an option, but I’d at least go for organic.
If you’re stuck inside in a blizzard and only have milk at home, then that will work too. Just make sure it’s full fat milk or it won’t be as creamy.
Dairy Free Snow Cream Recipe Without Milk
If you or your little ones can’t have dairy (like my husband), then you can still enjoy some old fashioned snow cream. Canned, full-fat coconut milk is my favorite replacement here. It does add a bit of a coconut taste, but if you add a pinch of salt and extra vanilla it tastes just fine.
Or maybe you’re weird and like coconut flavored things.
We’ve made several batches of old fashioned snow cream every time it’s snowed this winter. Now that you no longer have to be a Roman Emperor to enjoy snow ice cream.
Old Fashioned Snow Cream
- large bowl
- wooden spoon
- 4 cups fresh snow
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup cream or full fat coconut milk for dairy free
- 3 TBSP maple syrup
- sprinkles optional
- Combine all ingredients (except toppings) into a bowl and stir well to combine.
- Top with sprinkles, chocolate chips, or other toppings as desired and eat immediately.
Have you ever made snow ice cream before? Leave a comment and be sure to share with a friend!