Oh… I am giddy just thinking about this topic. Today we’re talking SUNDAE BARS. The kind that are just as much a treat for you as they are for your guests. We’ll go through set up, toppings, quantities, decorations, chilling, cleanliness, and fun alternatives. By the end of it you’ll be able to make a fabulous sundae bar in your sleep, so get your spoons ready.
What is a sundae without ice cream? A cup full of sprinkles, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream with or without chopped nuts or cherry on top. Incredibly delicious…just not quite what your guests are expecting. ;)
You have GOT to start with the ice cream! And don’t let anyone tell you that vanilla is a synonym for boring. It is actually the perfect base for everyone’s favorite toppings – but I am getting ahead of myself. Back to the ice cream, you can keep it agreeable and delicious with classics like chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla; you can get outrageous and eclectic with favorites like mint chocolate chip, cookie dough, or rocky road; or mix in one or more of both.
You don’t want to overdo it (or do you?) or underestimate and not have enough for all your guests. So before you go get your frozen pints from the store, be sure to plan out how much you’ll need for the occasion. A good rule of thumb for a sundae bar is approximately 1.5 to 2 scoops of ice cream per person which equates to roughly a cup per person. How do scoops translate to our standard ice cream containers? There are approximately 4 scoops per pint, 8 scoops per quart, or 32 scoops per gallon.
If you plan to have guests serve themselves, you will certainly go through more ice cream so steer towards the higher end. However, if you plan on serving the ice cream yourself or serve your sundae bar alongside other desserts or after a savory meal, you can certainly plan for less.
The variety you choose will help here too! If people want seconds (or thirds – no judging!) they might come back and try something different. Or better yet, get some extra vanilla for the sundae bar regulars. You won’t regret having a little extra if they cut back anyways, right? You can always enjoy a celebratory sundae after the party is over just for you!
You can’t top toppings. Well… you CAN but… you know what I mean. Choosing toppings for your sundae bar can get overwhelming with all the amazing options available, but that just means more creative freedom for you!
There are the essentials that we all know about: rainbow and chocolate sprinkles, whipped cream, maraschino cherries; all of them timelessly tasty. But the hallmarks of an overachieving sundae bar architect like yourself? I’m talking crushed Oreos, crumbled brownies, Reese’s Pieces, butterscotch or mini chocolate chips, gummy worms, your favorite chopped nuts, granola, crushed pretzels …the list goes on and on! And don’t forget about the fruit. Aaahh, the fruit. Strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and maybe even some juicy peach or kiwi slices.
If you want to go above and beyond with sauces too, we recommend favorites like hot fudge, chocolate orange sauce, warm caramel, warm hazelnut sauce, and even marshmallow sauce.
Just keep your guests’ allergies in mind and your toppings will be superb. We wouldn’t want Jimmy-with-the-peanut-allergy to be mistaken for a party .
Be as creative as you want…keep your guests and theme in mind to spark some inspiration! For instance, consider selecting sprinkles and toppings in colors that complement your theme and decor. Or, add a special indulgence for the adults with some liqueur, such as Irish Cream, Kaluhi, or RumChata to drizzle over their sundae.
Remember those videos of people grabbing ice cream from the ice cream side instead of the cone side? Let’s not do that. Your guests need a creative container for their mountain peak of a sundae.
Sugar cones are perhaps the most classic option for your sundae bar. They’ll have everyone in a nostalgic mood while they eat their chilly creations, and their lightweight and sturdy structure allows you to have fun with their display. Try stacking them in a pyramid shape for extra fancy points.
As far as other edible containers go, waffle or chocolate cups are also a festive option. Take them to the next level, by dipping the edges in chocolate or vanilla candy coating and sprinkling them with your pick of sprinkles or other adornments. Just like your sundae toppings, you can get creative by adding food coloring to your candy coating or using sprinkles to match your color scheme or theme. Put some out for your guests and they’ll be scooped up faster than you can say “Who wants seconds?”
Of course, dessert and ice cream cups are going to be your best bet for both a decorative and less messy option. Everyone will be sticky-less with their aesthetic cups. Plus, they fit more ice cream. YUM!
Speaking of themes, you’ll want your whole sundae bar to be consistent with the look and feel you’re going for. That includes cups, utensils, and display stands.
For your toppings, you’ll want a matching set of cups or ramekins. We’ve got you covered with our Treat Cups at Fab Fête. They’re a great way to organize all your toppings and keep everything at your party on theme.
While you can find entire flatware and cutlery bundles on the Fab Fête website, you can also find some spoon-only sets that are perfect if you just need some for your sundae bar.
Our cake stands also work amazingly as holders for your topping cups and bar-centerpieces and add some height to your display.
Keeping it Clean
Let’s face it. Ice cream can get super messy, especially when there are kids at the party. But we’ve got solutions.
First, consider keeping a jar or a bowl of warm water near the ice cream to hold the ice cream scoops between uses. It’ll keep it clean and help the scoop glide its way through the ice cream like butter. You may want to use an opaque vessel as your water will quickly become cloudy.
When it comes to sauces and syrups, go with the plate strategy. Keep them all on top of either a disposable plate or a big sheet of wax paper covering a plate or platter for easy clean up. The curved edges keeps any spilled sauce or syrup from dripping off the table.
Last of all is obvious, but worth-while advice: keep a big stack of napkins on your sundae bar. You’re going to need it.
The Scoop on Sundae Bars
A wise woman once said, “Sundae bars…are awesome.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. If you want to add a touch of sweetness to the occasion you’re hosting, go with a sundae bar, and check out our party collections to make hosting that party even more of a breeze.