Pros: makes ice cream, looks attractive
Cons: length of time to make, only makes 1 quart.
I am brushing up on my summer cooking skills by making ice cream! Ice Cream seems to be a favorite around here especially when the spring and summer arrive. I thought that it might be beneficial to make our own ice cream. Little did I know how much work was involved in making ice cream!
I chose the VillaWare Ice Cream Maker because well it was the only one to choose from at Target. I have been wanting an ice cream maker for awhile but never had the gumption to crank a lever. When I saw this automatic one I figured I was on easy street and put it into my cart.
I opened the box up at the store so I could see the ingredients in the instruction booklet because I wanted to start making ice cream as soon as I got home. I picked up heavy whipping cream which is around $5.00 for 1 quart and usually make 3 batches of ice cream. Half-and-Half is another common ingredient for the recipes. I also purchased chocolate squares, frozen strawberries, and plain yogurt so I could make several different kinds.
I got home and was ready to start but that idea was quickly foiled by the 6 hour minimum time frame that the freezer bowl needs. To prepare the freezer bowl, wash and dry it and place it in a bag (I use a grocery bag) and put it in the freezer until it is frozen solid which takes 6-22 hours depending on each freezer.
I never bothered to read more of the directions so when it came time to make the ice cream I was in shock to find out that I had to cook the mixture on the stove and then let it cool down before continuing. For some reason I thought I just poured things in and waited. It took some time to add the ingredients, bring them to a certain temperature, cook for a few minutes and then allow to cool and clean up the mess.
Once the ingredients were cool I placed them into the freezer bowl, inserted the paddle, placed the cover over it, and turned the appliance on to low speed. There is an opening at the top of the cover that they claim is for adding more ingredients like nuts to the ice cream near the end but I think the real reason its there is for taste testing. My first batch of ice cream was old fashioned chocolate ice cream and we were off to a rough start. After all the work and waiting the motor of the ice cream maker did not start. I would definitely recommend plugging the appliance in a making sure it runs before beginning. We ended up getting it going and have not had any problems with it since then.
I could hear the motor running but it was not loud or annoying. The ice cream churns for 25 minutes or until it is turned off; it does not have an automatic shut-off. It doesnt really matter that it doesnt have automatic shut off because ice cream cant sit out anyway. After the ice cream was finished it was still too runny to eat so I poured it into a freezer safe bowl and put it into the freezer to harden. We came back a couple hours later to find perfect ice cream.
I was a little surprised that our first batch turned out so well but theres not much to it. I have never made ice cream before so I was pleased to see a large selection of recipes included in the instruction booklet such as:
Ice creams: Chocolate, Strawberry, Peanut butter, Peach, Vanilla, Sugar-free Black Walnut, Holiday eggnog
Frozen yogurts: Sugar-free Raspberry Frozen Yogurt, Chocolate, vanilla, Blackberry, Strawberry
Sherbet: Raspberry, Pineapple
Gelato: Chocolate, Gelato de Ricotta, Hazelnut
Sorbet: Bittersweet, chocolate mocha, Apple Juice, Kiwi
Any other 1 quart recipe that you have can be used.
The ice cream maker requires hand washing which I am strongly against but since it is ice cream it washes away easily without scrubbing. Warm water and dish soap is all that can be used with the appliance. The motor should not be put in water.
The ice cream maker is attractive. The motor base is stainless steel and is attractive enough to be on the countertop if necessary. There is an area in the back for cord storage. There is a 1 year warranty against workmanship and defects and shipping is paid by the buyer.
One of the reasons I wanted an ice cream maker was because of food allergies. When you make your own ice cream you can use the ingredients that work best for you. Recipes that call for heavy cream can also be modified with half-and-half or milk.
Making the ingredients for the ice cream is really simple and I havent had any trouble with the recipes coming out right. We go through a lot of ice cream so 1 batch really only lasts 1-2 days for us so we are constantly making more ice cream.
It is very difficult to find a level area in my freezer for the freezer bowl to sit. I had to designate a shelf just for ice cream.
I have tried lots of variations but I really only prefer the full calorie ice cream. We usually eat Bluebell or Ben & Jerrys ice cream. We still think that store bought is better than homemade.
I seemingly dont play with my kitchen toys any more than my kids play with their toys. This is another toy that I had to have but probably dont need. The ice cream maker does make some tasty ice cream but it takes a lot of planning and effort to get one little quart of ice cream. I thought making ice cream at home would be cheaper since it only takes a few ingredients however I have found that I could buy a lot of ice cream for the amount that I spend making my own starting with the $50 that I paid for the machine. Overall the ice cream maker does what it says it will do. Its not the machines fault that Im too lazy to make my own ice cream.
VillaWare Manufacturing Co.
18901 Euclid Ave No. 1
Cleveland, OH 44117
Other fun summer gadgets:
Disney Smoothie Maker
Rival Snow Cone Maker