Let it Snow

I have a reputation.

Whenever my father-in-law comes over, he knows there are cookies and he knows where to find them. When I babysit, my friend’s son knows exactly where the gummi candies are in the pantry. I’m the one you can always count on to make cookies for a party. Or if we are meeting up for coffee, I’ll just make a quick banana bread or batch of brownies beforehand. My husband accuses me of stashing candy randomly in the house. Do other people not do that? And is it really such a bad thing? As long as it doesn’t attract ants, I say it’s all systems go when it comes to easily accessible candy.

So, when I decided to get a snow cone machine for my daughter’s seventh birthday party last year, everybody laughed and said, “Of course! If anybody’s going to get a snow cone machine, it’s Jessica!” This was in February. I’d be lying if I wasn’t the teeniest bit hurt. Nobody likes being laughed at, even if it is just for having a sweet tooth. I went ahead and bought the snow cone machine anyway, even though it felt like a pretty extravagant purchase at the time. I shopped around and got the Waring Pro Snow Cone Maker  at Sur la Table. There were comparable machines at Target and Amazon, but I wanted to be able to go next door to Cost Plus and get a bunch of Torani syrups to use at the party and I didn’t want to drive all around town to find them.

My daughter’s birthday party arrived, and the snow cones were a hit! Here in the Fresno, California, we often reach springlike temperatures in February, so it was not as if we were getting our tongues stuck on the snow cones like frozen flagpoles. Our trusty little snow cone machine now has a permanent place on our countertop, right next to the pressure cooker, and has earned its rightful place as the second most used appliance in the house.

Last week, temperatures in Fresno (you may have also heard it referred to as the Ninth Circle of Hell) reached 109˚ and nobody laughed at my snow cone machine then, either. Nothing, absolutely nothing, will cool you off faster after walking home in that kind of sweltering heat! Sometimes, all it takes is the walk from the car to the front door.

It’s difficult to perfect a concept already so sublime (sugarwater over crushed ice!) but I do have some tips.

Some people swear by candy flavored syrups, but we like Torani. No corn syrup, just sugar, and they come in really refreshing flavors. We run out of peach and vanilla the most often, but hibiscus, red ruby grapefruit, and orgeat (almond) are also popular. Sometimes I threaten my daughter with bacon syrup, or chicken and waffles (it exists!)– but I don’t think any of us are brave enough for that. I measure my shots in a sake cup– one per serving, which for us is a standard tumbler of snow cone ice.

By Evan Swigart from Chicago, USA (Chicken and Waffles 201) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
How would you like this on a snow cone?Me neither. 

I like to drizzle a little half and half, when we have it, on mine. My daughter and husband think it’s disgusting, but it tastes like and Italian Cream Soda to me. What do they know?

And last but definitely not least– adult snow cones have become a party standard around here, even in the winter. I suppose any sort of vodka would work, but my favorite is whipped cream vodka. Sure, maybe it’s an abomination to vodkas, but you know what? I don’t care, because it tastes so freakin’ awesome on a snow cone! If you wanted to be mature about it, I suppose you could use tequila.  Is tequila more mature? One shot of liquor and one shot of Torani syrup makes the best adult snow cone you’ll ever have!

For the record, over a year after getting the snow cone machine, I still have the same reputation. My father-in-law still knows where to find his cookie hook-up, and my friend’s little boy still knows where to find my stash of gummy cola bottles. But nobody laughs at the snow cone machine. Not anymore!

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