I’ve had making home made ice cream on my list of things to try for a while, since watching an episode of Good Eats. Just never got to it as kid, seemed like a good thing to do now with my own children. I spent all of 5 minutes browsing Amazon before settling on the Cuisanart ICE 21 ($47). It’s not a complex device. It has an on/off switch on the base, the base turns the frozen canister, and there is a top that holds the scraper still as the canister revolves. More details over on the product page.
So far we’ve made two batches, one vanilla and one chocolate, both from the recipes that came with the machine (free PDF). Neither require any cooking, just mixing a few common ingredients with heavy cream, we substituted 2% milk for whole and it worked fine. Once we experiment some more we’ll try to move away from the heavy cream to reduce the fat.
The flow is get the ingredients together, mix them together reasonably quickly, grab the fully frozen canister and fill it, put on the base and let it run. The last batch I let run for 21 minutes. A minute one way or the other won’t matter,though next time we’ll go 25 to see if changes the consistency some more. At 21 minutes it’s a little firmer than soft serve,they recommend a couple hours in the freezer to fully harden it, but it’s definitely fine to eat at 21 minutes!
I also ordered Jeni”s Splendid Ice Creams at Home ($16), which has a bunch of recipes – most if not all require some cooking – all tested on a consumer grade maker like the ICE 21. Haven’t tried any of them yet, but they look good, going beyond ‘plain’ vanilla and chocolate.
As a family project its not bad at all. Assuming (and making sure!) you have the ingredients on hand ahead of time, it’s no more than 10 minutes to measure and stir the ingredients for the simple recipes and then 20 or so minutes for it to freeze. Kids sitting on the counter beside it watching it spin, sticking their fingers in through the open top to see how its coming along – good family time.
The maker works well, was worth the $50 to me. Extra canisters are $18, but I’m not expecting to need one, at most we’ll use it once or twice a month, no plans to go into production mode.