Over the summer, two of my friends and I decided to take an afternoon class where we would learn to make rolled ice cream. At first, my friends wondered what rolled ice cream was, and if we would be able to make it independently, since one of my friends is blind with no usable vision and I have low vision. Even though there was a bit of a learning curve, this ended up being a great way to spend an afternoon, and all of us were able to successfully create our own flavor combinations of rolled ice cream. Here are tips that I came up with for making rolled ice cream with low vision after participating in the activity myself and getting feedback from my other friend.
Have someone go through the instructions verbally
When we first got to the class, the host verbally went through instructions about how to make rolled ice cream, while making an ice cream roll of their own. I ended up documenting the steps as they talked so that I could review the notes after they finished, in this case writing the notes down on my phone. I also was able to write down how much time it took for certain steps so I could figure out if I was moving too quickly or too slowly.
Become familiar with the layout of things
When I first started making rolled ice cream, I made a note of where different tools were located. For example, the two spatulas I needed were on my right side, and the cooling pan was directly in front of me, with most items in the center. I also knew that my friend was directly next to me making their own ice cream so I could ask them for help if needed, or at the very least avoid bumping into them as I made the ice cream.
Pick toppings with high contrast
Since the cooling pan was solid gray, I wanted to use colorful toppings that would easily pop against the background so I could tell where my toppings were. I also wanted the toppings to pop against the base of the ice cream and provide lots of contrast. Since I had access to lots of delicious toppings, I chose colorful Cap’n Crunch cereal and mini strawberry Kit-Kat bars, which was an extremely delicious combination.
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Use sound as a guide
Another benefit to using these toppings is that I was able to listen and hear how much I was crushing the toppings as I smashed them into a fine powder. I used sound as a guide for the majority of my ice cream rolling experience, because it was an easy way for me to tell how frozen my ice cream was as I progressed through the different stages. I listened for the scrapes of my spatula against hardened ice cream, the crunch of the toppings, and the sounds of my spatula pushing the ice cream base together- all very distinctive sounds.
Tips for pouring the base
When pouring the rolled ice cream base from a squirt bottle, I aimed for the center of the cooling pan where my toppings were located. Before I did this, I pushed down on my spatula just to make sure I knew where the toppings were, and it surprisingly went where it was supposed to go. Since the ice cream base was a creamy white, it was easy to see my toppings through the base.
Moving the ingredients around
In order to get the ice cream to harden, I had to move around the base and toppings with my spatula, spreading them flat as I went. My friend with no usable vision used a sighted guide to help with this part, but once they became oriented with how large the ice cream would need to be when flat (which depends on the pan), they got the hang of it fairly quickly.
Rolling the finished product
I was really worried about rolling the finished product, because I thought I wouldn’t be able to cut through the ice cream. By holding the spatula at a very high angle and pushing down the ice cream, I was able to cut the strips and roll them into shapes. Again, I heavily relied on sound feedback to tell me if ice cream was forming rolls, but once I rolled it, I got the hang of it pretty quickly.
A note on eating rolled ice cream
While this didn’t happen recently, the first time that I ate rolled ice cream, I had no idea that it’s supposed to be eaten with a spoon. Instead, I decided to pick it up and eat it with my hands, which was fairly difficult and messy. My friend decided not to correct me because they thought it was super funny, and I think I’m now the reason my local rolled ice cream place makes a big deal out of handing customers spoons so they know that’s how it should be eaten.
Moral of the story- don’t make the same mistake as I did, eat rolled ice cream with a spoon.
Making rolled ice cream was a super fun way to spend an afternoon, and I’m glad that I was able to learn how to make rolled ice cream with visual impairment. If you have the opportunity to take a class on how to make rolled ice cream, I highly recommend trying it out- it’s a lot of fun!