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What is it about ice cream that makes it one of the world’s most loved comfort foods? Many nights, after having a hard day, I’ve cuddled up on the sofa with a small tub of ice cream after everyone else is asleep (I’ve eaten more tubs of Ben & Jerry’s than I care to admit!); it always makes me feel better. There’s just something special about ice cream.
I’ve tried making my own ice cream before, with the “hand-churning” method, but never really got excellent results. This is where you prepare your ice cream mixture, freeze it, then every 2 hours, take it out, scrape it into the bowl of an electric mixer, mix it to break up the ice crystals, scrape it back into the freezer bowl, freeze it, and repeat the entire process another 3 times. How annoying! And can you believe I have never owned an ice cream maker in my entire life? Yes, I do live under a rock.
Ice cream makers basically do the “hand-churning” method for you. All you need to do is turn it on, pour your ice cream mixture in, and leave it for 15-20 minutes to churn the mixture, in a way that is similar to a stand mixer. After that you’ll have a soft-serve consistency, and if you would like it to be firmer, just pour it into a freezer-safe container and freeze for a few hours, scoop it out and enjoy.
If you were to take a look at my Firefox bookmarks, you’d find heaps of ice cream recipes. Even though I’ve never had an ice cream maker, a girl can dream, right?
Last week, my dreams came true, when Kitchenware Direct, my go-to shop for kitchen supplies, heard my ice cream maker pleas and sent me one of my very own (and they have one for you, too!). I immediately gave my red Cuisinart ice cream maker a test run with this dark chocolate sorbet…
I used my cherished Valrhona cocoa powder for this recipe and the results were spectacularly dark and delightfully creamy. This was an easy recipe, consisting of pantry staples (cocoa powder, sugar, and vanilla) and water. I wasn’t sure what to expect with my first go at sorbet and found that when the ice cream maker had been going for 20 minutes, the consistency of the sorbet was like a super-thick milkshake. I froze it for a few hours (it was about six, I think) to get it to scoopable consistency. It was really silky and smooth, I was quite pleased with myself!
I didn’t realize what an ice cream maker actually was. It reminds me of my Zoku Quick Pop Maker; they both have a silvery surface that freezes liquids instantly (and wet fingers!). The ice cream maker has a big paddle attachment (sort of like a stand mixer) to keep the mixture constantly moving, ensuring the end result is creamy and smooth. There’s only one button on this machine, which is the on/off switch.
While I gave the ice cream maker a test run with a sorbet, I wanted to make ice cream for my official review post. I chose a recipe in the latest issue of delicious. magazine for strawberry, basil and black pepper ice cream by one of my favorite food bloggers, Katie Quinn Davies from What Katie Ate. I had never tried basil and strawberry together before, although I had heard it is a great combination. But what is this about black pepper? I couldn’t resist making this recipe.
Fresh strawberries, lemon, lime and basil! The strawberries will need to sit in the refrigerator to macerate with a bit of juice from the lemon and lime and some sugar for 2 hours. Afterwards, half of the strawberries will go in a blender, along with a few basil leaves and fresh finely ground black pepper to puree. The rest of the strawberries are to be crushed with a potato masher and set aside. Milk, cream and vanilla beans are added to the pureed strawberries. This mixture then goes into the ice cream maker.
Don’t be too concerned about the size of this machine, by the way. It’s actually quite compact and fits easily into our cabinets. Compared with our kettle, it isn’t too much larger.
According to reviews of this product on Kitchenware Direct, a common complaint seemed to be the noise of the machine while it was churning. Personally, I didn’t find the noise to be too loud. My food processor is much louder than this ice cream maker is!
After 10 minutes of churning, the crushed strawberries are added to the mixture. After 20 minutes, I turned off the machine. The ice cream was at a very soft, soft-serve consistency. I had a taste and was surprised at how wonderfully tasty it was! I scraped out the ice cream into a freezer-safe container and froze it overnight.
Scraping out the ice cream from the freezer bowl is a little tricky. You’ll need to use a silicone spoon or spatula as a hard plastic or metal one will damage the bowl. And once the machine stops churning, the ice cream starts sticking to the bowl. So I’ve discovered that you have to be pretty quick to scrape out the ice cream easily!
The next morning, I sampled some ice cream. The texture was just like the ice cream I’m used to and scooped out easily. The flavor was brilliant! With the first bites, you can really taste the basil, and as you eat more, you start tasting the fresh strawberries. Every few bites, there’s a slight tingle from a piece of black pepper. My only complaint is that it left a sort of greasy-mouth feel for some reason, which was a little odd.
((Update: I’ve discovered a possible cause or two of this greasy-mouth feel. It could be that there is too much fat content in the ice cream, however, I doubt this is the reason in my case as I was just simply following a recipe. The other cause is over-churning, which could turn all that cream into butter! Just like how you’re not supposed to whisk cream too much, otherwise it’ll turn into butter? It appears the same thing goes for ice cream makers, and this, I believe, is the cause of the greasy feeling I experienced. Since writing this post, I have made two more batches of ice cream; one was matcha, and it had the greasy feeling as well. The next batch was peanut butter, and I was sure not to over-churn. I churned the peanut butter ice cream for only 15 minutes, whereas I had been churning my ice creams for 20 minutes. The peanut butter ice cream did not have a greasy feeling whatsoever. Problem solved!))
But I can overlook that because this is some mighty delicious ice cream.
I am absolutely thrilled to own my first ever ice cream maker and am now looking forward to working through my extensive list of ice cream recipes that I’ve bookmarked. I can guarantee you that there will be Biscoff ice cream, peanut butter ice cream and matcha ice cream to begin with, then I’ll work on some more interesting flavors.
Recipes for the dark chocolate sorbet and strawberry, basil & black pepper ice cream are at the very end of this post.
— THIS GIVEAWAY HAS NOW ENDED —
Here are the rules:
- Open to Australian residents only.
- Prize is one Cuisinart 1.5 litre ice cream maker in the color of the winner’s choice, provided by Kitchenware Direct.
- Leave one comment only on this post and tell me your favorite ice cream flavor – for extra entries, as below, please leave a separate comment.
- For one extra entry, tweet about this giveaway and be sure to tag me (@jamieanne), then leave another comment here telling me about your tweet.
- For another extra entry, post about this giveaway on Facebook by liking my page, The Sweetest Kitchen, and tagging it in your post, then leave yet another comment here telling me about your post.
- This giveaway closes on Monday, October 29 at 11AM (AEST).
- One winner will be selected and notified by email, after which the winner will need to respond within 3 days or another winner will be selected, so be sure to include an active email address.
This competition & review is made possible by Brad from Kitcheware Direct.
Congratulations, Virginia Mason! Your tweet earned you a free Cuisinart ice cream maker in the color of your choice!
Adapted from Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker instruction booklet
Makes about 5 cups
3 cups water
1 2/3 cup caster sugar
pinch of salt
1 2/3 cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)
Combine water, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook mixture, stirring often, until sugar is completely dissolved.
Gradually add cocoa powder to sugar mixture while whisking constantly until smooth. Add vanilla and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours, or overnight.
Churn in an ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The sorbet will be soft and creamy; transfer to an air-tight freezer-safe container and place in the freezer for a few hours until desired consistency is reached. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving.
Adapted from Katie Quinn Davies & delicious. magazine, October 2012
Makes 1.5 litres
195g fresh strawberries, hulled, quartered
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
165g caster sugar, divided
about 7 medium-sized fresh basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon fresh finely ground black bepper
190ml whole milk
250ml thickened cream
150ml thin cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
Place strawberries in a bowl with the lemon and lime juices and 55g sugar. Mix well, then cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours to macerate.
Place half the macerated strawberries in a food processor, along with the basil and pepper. Whiz for a few minutes to form a juicy pulp, then set aside. Crush the remaining macerated strawberries with a potato masher and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, whisk the milk and remaining 110g sugar together for 2 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Add creams, strawberry and basil puree, and vanilla seeds, then gently stir together. Chill overnight, if possible, or for at least 6-8 hours.
Churn the chilled strawberry mixture in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions, adding the crushed strawberries 10 minutes before the end of churning. If you prefer a firmer ice cream, freeze for a few hours before serving.