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Ice Cream Ready

You know summer is just around the corner when you start to get cravings for ice cream.  In winter, I can’t even stomach looking at a picture of ice cream, much less eat it.  But as the months get warmer, the once intolerable now becomes a pleasure (or an obsession, take your pick).

This year it started during one of those morning shows.  You know the ones.  The shows where they have a short segment during which someone comes in and cooks something.  And that food is usually not breakfast fare, but it usually looks so good that it gets you craving it anyway!

So, yes… this year it was during a segment where the reporter paid a visit to a new ice cream place in town.  And during the show, they actually mixed all kinds of chocolate and fruit and nuts (and anything else your heart desires) into the ice cream on some kind of cold surface, and then put the whole thing into a cone.

Oh my gosh, that was it!

I am now officially ice cream ready.  If you can understand where I’m coming from, then you might want to continue reading for some awesome ice cream-related products that are out there, just waiting for you to discover.

Ice Cream Maker

In terms of ice cream makers, I really like the looks of this one.  It’s the Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker.

Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker

With this machine you can make your favorite flavor of ice cream/frozen dessert in about 30 minutes!  It can handle custard-based ice creams (with eggs) or non-custard ice creams.  If you prefer, you can also use the Cuisinart to make soy-based ice creams, sorbets and frozen yogurts as well.  Anything you want to add in, like crushed cookie pieces, fruit, chocolate pieces, nuts, etc…, can be added in the very last stages of the process.

The included 2-quart freezer bowl is nice and large, but, if you are interested in making more than one flavor at a time, or you need to make ice cream for a large crowd, you will need to get another bowl.  Also, the best, and most convenient way to ensure the machine is ready to use is to store the bowl portion in the coldest part of your freezer.  That way it is cold enough to use whenever a craving hits!  It is also recommended to chill your mixture well (about 15 minutes in the freezer) before putting it in the bowl and starting the machine.

If you have the space in your kitchen, this is one appliance that looks really cool to display as well.  It is made of brushed stainless steel, has a large 2 quart capacity, and the footprint of the machine is only (approx.) 8″ x 8″, so it will not take up that much space on your countertop.  This ice cream machine is definitely my pick.  You can check it out at Amazon at this link.  (The last time I checked, it was on sale for over 50% off!)

Waffle Cone Maker

After deciding on a great ice cream maker, I got to thinking—is there a way to make those delicious waffle cones that you can get at Baskin Robbins and Ben & Jerry’s yourself?  I mean, if you are going to have homemade ice cream, then you might as well have homemade waffle cones too!  It turns out that there is such an appliance, the Chef’s Choice 838 Waffle Cone Express Ice Cream Cone Maker.

Chef's Choice 838 Waffle Cone Express Ice Cream Cone Maker

And what a great machine it is!  Using its 7″ non-stick waffle plates, you can make a waffle cone in 2 minutes flat.  And because of its “instant temperature recovery” system, you can make one cone after another without any waiting.  All you have to do is pour a small amount of batter onto the waffle plate and wait for it to set.  Then remove the waffle, roll it around the cone-shaped form provided as you fold the end closed.

That being said, it does help to spray/brush a bit of vegetable oil on the plates so that the batter does not stick.  Also, there is a temperature control dial so you can adjust the darkness of the cones to suit your own taste.  If you want, you can get fancy and fill the bottom of the cone with caramel or chocolate or rim the top of the cone with chocolate and sprinkles!

In my opinion, the best part about this machine is the unbelievable caramel aromas that end up filling your kitchen, and beyond, as you make each cone.  Talk about fresh!  And the cones end up tasting just as good as the ones from the ice cream parlor.  If you are interested, check out Amazon for the latest pricing and buying info.

Soft Ice Cream Maker

If soft serve is more your thing, there’s something for you too!  It’s the Cuisinart Ice-45 Mix-It-In Soft-Serve 1-1/2-Quart Ice-Cream Maker.

Cuisinart Ice-45 Mix-It-In Soft-Serve 1-1/2-Quart Ice-Cream Maker

This machine makes and dispenses soft ice cream with relative ease, in the comfort of your own home!  The process takes about 20 minutes to make 1.5 quarts of ice cream.  There is also three separate dispensers for toppings, like sprinkles, nuts, and mini M&Ms, that can be added to the top of your soft ice cream dessert creation.  This would be especially fun with kids.

Just like the ice cream maker above, the machine requires the use of a freezer bowl and your prepared mixture to get the process started, both of which needs to be really cold in order for your ice cream to come out properly.  In fact, the freezer bowl needs to be frozen SOLID, which translates to up to 24 hours at the back of your freezer.  My best advice is to leave the bowl in the freezer all the time, so that it is at the right temperature any time you may want it.

At the time of writing, Amazon carries this unique soft serve ice cream maker at about 50% off the manufacturers suggested retail price!  Check out current pricing here.

Ice Cream Recipes

For some tried and true recipes, check out the following books that are highly recommended by the reviewers at Amazon:

Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert BookThe Best Ice Cream Maker Cookbook EverThe Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet AccompanimentsThe Ultimate Ice Cream Book: Over 500 Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, Drinks, And More

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