Here's How To Make Cold Stone-Style Ice Cream At Home

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In the summer, when the weather is hot, ice cream is a must. In addition to being refreshing, it's also nostalgic, especially when we hear the siren song of the ice cream truck coming down the street.

Growing up, there were mom-and-pop ice cream stores and regional franchises like Carvel, Dairy Queen, and Baskin-Robbins. Opening in 1934, Carvel was the first commercial retail ice cream store, made popular with novelty soft serve ice cream creations like "Flying Saucers" and "Fudgie the Whale." Dairy Queen followed with their "Dilly Bar," then the world's largest chain, Baskin Robbins, with 31 flavors. Those retailers sold hard-packed or soft serve ice cream in cups, cones, sundaes, and shakes.

It wasn't until 1973 when Steve Herrell revolutionized the industry by grinding up cookies and candies to mix into his homemade ice cream. Herrell called this creation "smoosh-ins," introducing us to popular ice cream flavors like cookies and cream. Still operating as a mom-and-pop store today, Herrell's didn't franchise, leaving room for Cold Stone Creamery to introduce the masses to this new style of ice cream.

With over a dozen ice cream flavors and almost four times that amount of cookies and candies, Cold Stone Creamery has an ice cream flavor for everyone. However, this irresistible treat can be made at home, allowing every family member to create precisely what they want.

How to make a smoosh-in

There are several ways you can make your smoosh-in ice cream at home. If you have room for it, expensive ice cream machines can mix for you. You can track down dry ice and freeze a baking sheet to dazzle the kids, or if you have a marble slab, you can mimic Cold Stone and freeze it. Some companies even sell a cute ice cream mixing set, perfect for someone who likes to make dreams come true. 

Perhaps the easiest method is to use a loaf pan and some store-bought ice cream. The supermarket has excellent ice cream choices, so buy a pint of your favorite ice cream, gelato, or non-dairy ice cream. Since you will be adding toppings, you may want to stick with classic vanilla or chocolate. Bon Appetit recommends putting the ice cream in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to soften up versus using the microwave, which can result in melted edges and a solid core. While the ice cream softens, grab your toppings and a loaf pan, then layer; softened ice cream, toppings, softened ice cream, toppings — repeat until you run out of ice cream. 

You could even personalize a container for each family member! Freeze the loaf for an hour and scoop the treat into cones and bowls when you need it. There are endless possibilities, and this is a great way to use up cookie crumbs, the broken chips in the bag, the last brownie, or the Halloween candy still lying around.