83 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2011
If you want to make truly amazing frozen desserts at home, you not only need good recipes -- you also need good equipment to get the job done. This machine is just that. For years I attempted making ice cream, sorbet and other frozen desserts with a model that was mostly plastic and required freezing a disk for at least 24 hours prior. The results were mixed at best and frustrating: often somewhat tasty but textures were nothing like I had hoped (either icy hard or soupy) and certainly nothing like I'd get from a store. I'd make a few batches each summer and quickly lose interest. This machine, which I've only had for about a month, produces results that have not only met my standards for what a frozen dessert should be, but at times have pleasantly surprised me and surpassed my expectations. And when was the last time you saw Fig and Port gelato at the supermarket?
I decided to give it another shot this summer when I had seen a sale on a Cuisinart model at Williams Sonoma that was a step up from my original model, but the downside was it required freezing a large canister for 24 hours. Not only was that a problem in that it is a pain to have to freeze it for that long and only be able to make one batch a day, but on any given day I simply do not have space in my freezer to accommodate it. I did some research online and decided to go all out and get a self-refrigerating unit and I am so glad I did. With this unit I can make multiple batches without having to wait (and I have done so) and the results are far superior to all my previous efforts.
Granted, when making frozen desserts it is best to make your base and let it refrigerate overnight (except for some sorbets which don't require this), but having this machine eliminates the task of having to make sure your equipment is cold enough. And there is no worry about the machine losing its cooling power, as with the other models. It is easy to use and makes the process fun and has only helped to increase my motivation to continue to experiment. I have wowed guests with gelatos and sorbets from the Ciao Bella "cookbook" such as the fig gelato, a chocolate sorbetto that is exceptionally creamy and rich without the use of cream or other dairy, lemon and mango sorbettos that were a snap and better than store bought, and a blueberry gelato made with fresh wild Maine blueberries that was exceptional. I've learned a little alcohol in some recipes makes a world of difference. The rum raisin gelato I've made twice was spectacular and every bit as luxurious as Haagen Dasz rum raisin ice cream -- but with less fat and no preservatives ... AND I MADE IT!
With this machine, I no longer worry about whether the equipment is adequate; I focus on the recipes. I've just picked up "Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream at Home" -- a book that has some wild recipes and, more important, enlightens about the technique and chemistry involved in making frozen desserts at home. I can't wait to try them. So if you're serious about making frozen desserts, spend a little time in learning about doing so (which isn't difficult at all and plenty of fun) and definitely invest in a machine like this one that can produce rewarding results. The only downside is the machine is a little large, but it fits nicely in my pantry and is attractive and very professional-looking.
53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2011
Absolutely divine. This is my first home ice-cream machine. I made my first batch on Saturday night, expecting the consistency of soft-serve ice-cream. I was shocked to find that the ice-cream's texture was just like the Super-Premium store bought ice-cream! (Of course, it was a little softer close to the center column that the blades attach to) But for the most part, the ice-cream was creamy and absolutely the texture that I never thought I could achieve with a homemade ice-cream machine. I did ALOT of research before buying this machine, and I'm pleased to know that all that research paid off. I highly recommend this machine.
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2012
In short, worth the money to make small (1.5 qt or less) batches of frozen Custard, Ice Cream, Sorbet, Gelato. Requires no forethought, just plug it in and add your chilled mix and go.
I have made frozen custard, ice cream, gelato, sorbet, and sherbet in this and it all turned out spectacularly! Not sure what recipe the others who had poor results are using, but there may be some minor differences that kept theirs from turning out. I suggest using a recipe tuned for this type of mixer, perhaps from Lebovitz's book "Perfect Scoop" or the Americas Test kitchen recipes, they both use the Cuisinart version of this machine. I also agree with the other reviewer, sometimes a small touch of alcohol in the Sorbet can have good effects, even in ice cream too - both of the recipe sources I mentioned will back this up too.
Basically, make your custard, your gelato or your sorbet base, cool it down in the fridge (I even use the freezer sometimes to save time) and then pour it into the bowl. As another reviewer mentioned, keep the outside of the metal bowl clean and dry or it will stick to the machine like Flick's tongue to the flagpole in "A Christmas Story.".... "...but the Bell rang...."
My batches have been averaging about 30-45 minutes from fridge to soft frozen. I then pack it into a container and freeze for a few hours before serving. I have been manually stopping the machine about every 10-15 minutes and using a silicon spatula to scrape the sides a little, it does develop a frozen film. My temp gauge goes down to -10 to -20 in just a few minutes.
Its a machine, so expect a little noise from it, but I have found that it is bearable to continue working in the same space and still carry a conversation. Its about the same noise as a kitchenaid stand mixer on slow speed.
I like the small batch size, it encourages making ultra rich and flavorful ice creams, without thinking that you are going to have to eat a whole gallon of it. Also, the speed and convenience of it encourage making two flavors where before I would only make one. The churning time of the first batch is about the time it takes to make another custard and put it in the freezer to chill. If I do want to make a gallon, I still have my big electric tub with ice and salt. Really... 1.5 qt is a lot of ice cream, its THREE Haggen Das or Ben and Jerry pint size containers. (BTW - get the Sweet Bliss white paper containers - fill three pints, give one or two away, you can draw pictures on them etc... your friends will love you.)
Cleanup is easy, the bowl, the paddle, the lid all hand wash quickly. After the machine warms up a bit, I just wipe out the place where the bowl sits, there is always a little frost there.
PRO: Ease of use! Excellent/professional results with the right recipes. Small batch size. Easy Cleanup.
CON: Expensive. Large heavy appliance takes up storage area, hard to lift to upper cabinet shelf. worst of all... you will eat more ice cream!
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2012
August 1, 2012 After spending a year paying attention to various Ice Cream Maker reviews from various web sites, and then waiting for the sale price I wanted, I was able to get Whynter ICM-15LS Ice Cream Maker in Stainless Steel from a major retailer for two hundred including shipping and tax. This unit is normaly 250 to 335.
Well the good reviews are right!
I LOVE THIS MACHINE!
It really works exactly as advertised. I have had it now for three months and have made 16 batches. It has performed perfectly.
The one thing I don't understand is why it has a delayed start. It's in the directions so this is a normal function, I just don't know why it is necessary. So,... I start the machine and then turn off the Dasher and let the machine run through its refridgeration delay (or startup process) while I mix the ingredients. When I'm done mixing I pour in the mixture and start the Dasher, the refridgeration starts soon then.
When it starts, the temperature display is 78 degrees room temp and I don't bother pre-chilling mixture either. The unit cools it all down properly as advertised and finishes in 45 to 60 minutes at -25 degrees. The consistancy is perfect too.
Clean up is easy too. I remove the container imediately after completion and turn off the machine. I lift out the Dasher and set it in my storage container and use a spoon to remove the Ice Cream and then I run tap water over the outside of the frozen container for 10 seconds and dump the whole thing out into the storage container. Give it a stir and a push to be able to put the lid on and pop it into the freezer while I spend 90seconds to wash and clean up. Typing this out takes longer than what I do.
Then back to the freezer to get the 1qt ziplock plastic container I use, and it's time to start scooping and serving.
:) I'm really happy I chose this one and would recommend it to all. :)
***March 1, 2014 UPDATE ***
Wow, how time flies. Just thought I would take a moment to say I STILL LOVE THIS WONDERFUL MACHINE!!! Not a single issue with it.
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2011
I have owned four or five ice cream makers over the years, and this one is the best. I got tired of waiting for the Cuisinart ice cream maker bowl to properly freeze (it takes at least 24 hours), and so I decided to buy a self-refrigerating model. This one seems a bit obscure compared with the other brands; it didn't initially come up in my online search. I was looking for the DeLonghi self-refrigerating machine, but they discontinued it for some reason and now they only manufacture a gelato maker (which you can't use to make ice cream, as it doesn't allow for air expansion). I'm so happy I found this because I love the way it looks, its functional design and the ice cream it makes. Beautiful texture, easy clean up and it's not quite as noisy as the other ones. I am never buying ice cream at the store again.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2012
We have had this ice cream maker for 1 year. I bought as a birthday gift for my wife. Besides the toaster, it is the only appliance we keep out on the counter. Yes it is heavy to move but we just use it more often than the toaster. It is sturdy and reliable. It isn't quiet but you can certainly carry on in the kitchen as usual will it works away. A batch takes ~40-45 min.
We use ben & jerry's vanilla recipe. 2 eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 cups cream, 1 cup half & half (ok its is a bit richer) and about 3 shakes of vanilla which we get at costco. My wife, who really likes her ice cream, says this is even better than the sore bought super premium ice creams. Candidly we don't eat as much at a time because it is so fulfilling. This ice cream maker makes a nice dense ice cream. It isn't full of as much air as the store ice creams. We make some other flavors also (mix in kahlua for a treat) but vanilla is just so easy and quick!
This machine makes ~3 cups at a time. Out of the machine the ice cream is a rather soft set. I wish it was just a little bit easier to get the ice cream off of the beater when I move it to a container for the freezer but I don't know enough about the shape of the mixer blade and whether it needs to have all of those hard to scrape places. Non-the-less my wife is glad to lick the 'beater'. Once in a freezer ready container we give it an afternoon in the kitchen fridge freezer or, if we are in a hurry, a couple hours in the basement deep freezer. Generally the high fat base keeps the ice cream the right consistency for eating if stored in the fridge freezer. If wtored overnight in the deep freeze it grts harder than we like.
My wife has a rule, no presents that have a handle or an on/off switch. Well she made an exception for this one. She loves this thing! The nice thing is whenever I make a batch for her it is like getting credit all over again! I would buy this again. By the way, we never buy store ice cream anymore.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2012
I really love this ice cream maker. I've tried several recipes, they all work about the same. For being such a heavy duty unit, my only complaint is the size of the bowl (small)... but actually it's fun to make different kinds,and so easy, I don't mind making it more often. BUT IF YOU MAKE BACK TO BACK BATCHES: MAKE CERTAIN THE BOWL INNER CHAMBER IS DRY! I rinsed the bowl, and A few drips of water got into the freezing chamber. We'd really struggled to get the second batch out, as the bowl froze to the inner chamber. Since then, I've learned to dry it well, and have had NO problem. I've only had it 2 months so can't speak to the durability of it yet. So far, so good!
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2012
This will, in fact make ice cream, but I've previously tried two other machines with better results (a Simac, which includes a compressor, and also a Kitchen Aid freezer bowl which doesn't include a compressor, but made smoother ice cream more quickly). I found this machine takes about 45 minutes to freeze a quart (after pre-chilling it in the freezer until it got very cold), and the result is somewhat icy each time. [I actually had to purchase a second machine--the first one I got off of Ebay didn't work at all.] I would definitely try a different mixer if I got another--much too expensive for mediocre results.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2011
I had a gel type ice cream maker previously and got rid of it, so I was a little reluctant to buy another. However, I tried some homemade ice cream at my sisters and wanted to try again. Ice cream is my weakness and this ice cream maker is so easy you can gain weight without effort, which isn't a good thing. But anyway, it is easy to use, the ice cream is delicious, it stops when the ice cream is too thick, and the digital readout lets you know how cold the temp is. Mine has gotten down to -12. It seems to depend on the consistency of the ice cream and the room temp. If there are additives like fruit or chips it doesn't get as cold. I have used different recipes from the web, all have been good. I don't like to cook a custard so have used the ones with raw eggs. No problems. And of course you can make another batch immediately. It does make some noise, but it's worth it to me. I am very happy with my purchase and would recommend to all ice cream lovers.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2011
I really couldn't ask for this to be any easier to use. Just put your ice cream ingredients in there and turn power on. Within 2 minutes the temperature is below zero degrees. We've made four batches now. If I have to fight with having to freeze the container - forget it! I won't do it. One of the nice things of this is that you can make up one batch right after the last. You have to go to the company's web site to download recipes for it.( I do think they could have included them with the unit) Packaged by Amazon very good, I opened three boxes, one inside another before I got to the ice cream maker. Seems a bit pricey at first but I think it's worth it to have the freezer unit inside.