With summer nearly gone, I thought it was time to pay tribute to one of summer’s treat heroes…the ice cream cone. I don’t know about you, but whenever I want to feel like I just won the “Best and Most Fun Mom of the Year” award, I give my kids a good old fashioned sugar cone piled up with their favorite flavor of ice cream. Let’s face it…it’s fun to lick your food, and the packaging is oh so convenient. Who doesn’t love portable dessert? Frankly, I think more things should come on a cone….Towards that end, I have a few alternative dessert ideas for you that center around the cone.

(I feel like I should insert some little history lesson about the cone here, but I’m just not Alton Brown..)

1. Cake Ice Cream Cones – These are great, and so much fun for kids. If you’ve never done this before, it is really fun to trick your kids, and give them a cakey surprise as they bite into what they are expecting to be ice cream!

To make these adorable and delicious treats, simply prepare your favorite cake batter. Fill up your flat-bottomed cake cones about 2/3 full with the batter. It works really well to place your cones in a muffin pan. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. If you don’t want to try to bake these standing upright, simply line your muffin pan with cupcake papers as usual, and fill each about 2/3 full of batter. Place your ice cream cone upside down on top of the batter. Bake as mentioned above. When cooled, simply take off the paper and frost. It is fun to make your icing look as much like ice cream as possible. Using a swirl tip frosting applicator makes your cone look like soft serve. You can also embellish with sprinkles or candies to make the treats that much more special!

2. Cookie Dough Cones!

Okay folks, I will say right up front that I do NOT wish to receive any emails about how you should not give your kids anything containing raw eggs. Frankly, life is too short to worry about that, and children (and their mothers) should be allowed to indulge in one of life’s greatest taste sensations…raw cookie dough! On we go!

This is a dessert that pays homage to one of the finest stores to ever grace Vancouver Mall (No, I will never call it Westfield Shoppingtown!) There used to be a great little cookie shop called “Cookie Cutters.” Aside from making EXCELLENT cookies, they also sold dough cones. You could choose from any flavor of their dough, and they mounded it up onto an ice cream cone for you. It was my very favorite treat as a kid at the mall. I think sometimes my mom would make up reasons to go to the mall, just so we could have one. =) When they closed, we started doing this at home, and it is a tradition I have continued with my own children. It is way more fun than licking a beater, and is to me, the best part about baking cookies. My favorite dough cone flavors: Oatmeal Scotchie, Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip, Sugar Cookie, and Chocolate Chip.

3. Home-made Drumsticks! I adore Drumsticks…They are utterly delicious, and one of summer’s finest frozen treats. However, I do not enjoy paying four dollars a box for them. So, this last summer, I figured out a way to make my own home-made version. To start, use your favorite brand of sugar cones. Fill the bottom of each with a bit of melted chocolate chips, and allow them to harden. (It works well to fill them up with the chocolate, and then lay them on a cookie sheet in the freezer.) Next, fill with your favorite ice cream flavor. You can be as creative here as you wish to be. I like to use Cookies and Cream, or a Chocolate/Vanilla combo of some type. Round off the top with a generous scoop of the ice cream, and put them in your freezer to harden. You can use a narrow glass or jar, punch holes in an egg carton, or lay them flat on a cookie sheet (they will disfigure just a bit though.)  Once your ice cream is hardened, dip each cone in melted chocolate chips (it works best to melt a little shortening in with the chocolate chips..it makes it a bit runnier and easier to work with, and gives you a nice sheen.) Don’t worry about your ice cream melting, as the chocolate will freeze quickly. If you wish to use a topping, simply sprinkle it on after the chocolate has been applied. You can use chopped nuts, broken up pieces of Oreo cookies, sprinkles…you name it! Put your cones back into the freezer until you are ready to enjoy them! DELICIOUS!

And, if you would rather, simply scoop on your favorite flavor, kick back on your porch (I usually make my kids eat ice cream cones outside!), and lick up the last bits of summer with your family!

If you would rather go out to ice cream, here is a list of some neat ice cream shops in our area.

Ice Cream Renaissance on 2108 Main St in Vancouver

Papa’s Ice Cream at 1700 Main St. Suite 130 in Washougal

Cool Moon Ice Creamery on 1105 NW Johnson St. in Portland

And, though there is no timeline other than “as soon as possible,” it is said that Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour will be returning to Portland! Wahoo!

Happy ice-creaming everyone!