Favorite Things: My new ice cream maker

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It’s one of those things I’ve been pining after for as long as I can remember. I hadn’t even used an ice cream maker before I went to culinary school, and there tried out both high (no freezer necessary; the machine does it all) and low (rock salt, ice, outside) machines. It didn’t seem to matter all that much which machine we used—the results were always smooth, luscious ice cream. Maybe this is because all ice cream makers are created equal and you either pay more or less, or maybe it’s because any ice cream with the words “ice cream” in the name makes me happy.

Here’s what I knew when I bought my machine: I wasn’t going to spend much, and I didn’t want it taking up a lot of space. I love the old fashioned looking machines, wooden with a crank you can use for about two minutes until the novelty wears off and you plug it in. They’re so Waltons-esque. But dealing with the salt and the ice up here where we have no ice maker other than cube trays negated the romance of that machine.

I went to one of my favorite sites for kitchen gadget comparisons and went for their recommendation on an inexpensive machine that makes great ice cream. Their only drawback on the Cuisinart Ice Cream, Sorbet and Frozen Yogurt Maker was that the ice cream comes out a touch soft and may need additional freezing, depending on how hard you like it. That bothers me not at all. I was always the kid who stirred my bowl of ice cream until it was soft and smooth—still frozen, but less cold and hard—every time before I ate it anyway.

Receiving the machine was like getting bonked in the head. Why’d I wait so long to get one? It was so not a big deal selecting then buying an ice cream maker, especially when the stakes ($50) weren’t that high.

Must be I enjoyed the pining after, the longing, the “someday I’ll do it.” Little did I know that couldn’t hold a candle to churning out small batches of what my nephew calls “free ice cream!” on a whim.

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  1. Renee says:

    Your post reminds me that I haven’t pulled mine out this summer. I should do that for the 4th, especially since temps are expected to be in triple digits by the end of this week.

    In my mind, I have a fantasy flavor that I keep hoping to make reality: it’s a gelato with saffron and pistachios and perhaps tiny bits of candied ginger. So far I haven’t been able to get the flavor I fantasize about to happen in real life. Close, but not quite.

    Yeah, really need to pull that ice cream maker out now….

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Your ice cream flavor sounds very intriguing!

  2. Susan Marmé says:

    Beautiful blog…
    Is the freezing unit integral to the machine or is it one of those cylinders I never have space for in my freezer??? Thanks.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Thank you Susan! This machine has a unit that has to be frozen, yes, in the already-crowded freezer! That was one of the trade-offs I made in buying a less expensive machine.

  3. Roger Toomey says:

    What I grew up with as Ice Cream is just too expensive to make. We had our own cows and chickens and a cream separator so didn’t consider cream and eggs to be a problem.

    We made ice cream mostly in the winter because we could use the ice cut from the cattle tanks. We would gather it in “gunny” sacks (also known as potato sacks or burlap bags) and crush it by beating the bag with the flat side of an axe.

    I wish I could give you the exact recipe but it’s another that I didn’t write down. But I do know that Mom bragged that she used HEAVY cream. I don’t mean heavy by any standards you will find in a store. Our cream was the consistency of soft margarine. It couldn’t be poured it had to be scooped out with a rubber spatula. And that was half of what went in. Then she added raw eggs. (No we didn’t even think that there could possibly be a problem eating raw eggs.) Sugar and vanilla. If there was any space at the top of the gallon container she added just a little milk. That was it. Nothing else.

    We had what was called a “triple action” freezer. The outside can turned one way, the edge of the beater the opposite and the inside of the beater the opposite of the edge of the beater. This kept everything well mixed so there wouldn’t be any large ice crystals.

    The secret to smooth ice cream was the amount of “stock salt” poured over the ice. One didn’t want to be chintzy. The faster the ice melted the colder the water around the can, the faster the ice cream froze the smoother it was. Plus the less turning the crank.

    When it was done the beater was removed and it was always a treat to “lick the beater”. Actually we used a spoon to scrape the ice cream from it. This was considered a privilege given to the children because the rest of the can was left in the salt water to “ripen”. for a half hour. I don’t know exactly what this “ripening” actually was supposed to have done for the ice cream but it was considered essential.

    Back in the day when neighbors would just stop in and spend the evening visiting. (No one would have even thought about calling ahead.) Pulling out the ice cream freezer gave the men something to do while the women could set inside and discuss —— Well, whatever they had to discuss.

    I always said that if I got condemned to death my last meal would be real homemade ice cream. But with my luck they would give me something made with Half and Half. Believe me, it ain’t the same..

  4. Gregory Jarous, Lawrenceville GA says:

    A good price and not much hassle, I to stir my ice cream until it is soft and smooth I don’t like hard frozen ice cream either. Have done this since I was little. I also eat cake in a bowl poor milk in it and mush it up, I figure I always have a glass of milk with cake especially chocolate I just eliminate the glass.

  5. Verna says:

    I have two of these ice cream makers because when my family gets together I make two kinds of ice cream. There is never any left. I use the basic vanilla ice cream recipe that requires no cooking as it does not contain eggs. I have eliminated or reduced the vanilla and added ground expresso to taste to make coffee ice cream, partially frozen berries or fruit, mint flavoring and chocolate chips. Have fun and experiment with your favorite flavors.

    BTW, if you do have any left store it in an airtight container. Take some plastic wrap and smooth it over the top of the ice cream. It seems to stop ice crystals from forming on the ice cream.

  6. Sarah says:

    Well, Cousin, another similarity! I have the same ice cream maker and love it! Last weekend we made Nutella gelato. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy!

  7. Reinventingnadine says:

    I have the same one in red. I have been making ice cream for every dinner party I am hosting.

  8. Amanda says:

    There is nothing like an inexpensive ice cream maker to help summer satiate instead of stultify. Congratulations!

  9. Coco Vance says:

    I have the ice cream attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer, and I’ve been using it like mad lately!
    In my repertoire: lemon, pistachio, vanilla, chocolate, lemon, graham cracker, coffee. I look forward to seeing the recipes you make!