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on May 30, 2013
I've used this at least 15 times since I purchased it. I haven't had a single problem with it. The machine is very easy to clean and doesn't take up a lot of counter space. The only con I can think of is the initial freezing time. It took a day and a half. Once I got the ice cream bowl frozen I was good to go! I've used the Cuisinart recipes for vanilla, vanilla bean, butter pecan, and strawberry ice cream. The recipes are basic but good. I added an extra vanilla bean to the vanilla bean ice cream because I like the flavor. I also cut my strawberries smaller than the recipe recommended. I'm glad I did. Big chunks of frozen strawberry isn't what I consider delicious. LOL I keep my ice cream bowl in the freezer so it's always ready. It refreezes quicker that way. I've been able to make 2 batches of ice cream within 5 hours (25-30 minutes for each batch and 3-4 hours in between the batches to refreeze the bowl a little). I'll be making my biggest quantity next week for my daughter's 2nd birthday party. I'm going to make 5-2 quart bowls. We'll see how long that takes. I recommend getting a second ice cream bowl as well. That's what I plan to do soon.
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on January 30, 2011
I had been using a Donvier hand crank machine to make a fat-free ice milk recipe once a week for the last year, and I was perfectly happy with it, but it didn't make enough to last through the entire week, so I decided to spring for a 2 quart electric model. After some serious research, I gave this a try.

If you've ever made a lowfat recipe, you know that homemade ice milk turns into a brick when fully frozen, and the best you can hope for is to scrape off a spoonful at a time. (Or, defrost it for a couple minutes in the microwave, so you can get a spoon into it.) Very tedious. The continual turning action on this machine makes a much lighter, more aerated version of the ice milk, so it CAN be spooned out after being completely frozen! Awesome!

The canister is about the size of a half-gallon carton of ice cream, so you need enough space in your freezer to store it, but the result is worth the effort. It's a bit noisy, but not more so than any other machine.

If you've had trouble getting the machine to freeze for you:

1. Make sure your freezer canister is completely frozen. Buy a freezer thermometer, lower the freezer temp if necessary, (should be at, or preferably below, 32°F, 0°C), and keep in mind that opening the door frequently raises the temperature dramatically. Storing it in the back helps. Making the ice cream in the morning after leaving the freezer closed all night also helps.

2. Make sure your ingredients are thoroughly chilled. (Not warm. Not room temperature.)

3. To speed up the freezing process, (which would normally take about 35-40 minutes for a full 2 quarts), I covered the open hole at the top with a flat silicone trivet, to keep the temperature stable inside the machine. (Worked like a charm - only took about 25 minutes to reach soft-serve consistency.)

4. If you want firmer ice cream, STOP the machine after you reach soft-serve consistency, take the paddle out, quickly scrape the sides, cover the top, and let the ice cream sit undisturbed in the canister for another 10-15 minutes or so. Rotation slows down the freezing process, but makes the ice cream lighter and fluffier. The ice cream directly in contact with the canister will get really hard, and you might need to scrape it off into the center area once or twice during the hardening-off process. Use a stiff silicone spatula or spoon to scrape down the sides. (This is normal for canister style ice cream machines.)

5. If you can't get the ice cream to reach soft-serve consistency, which can happen if your canister wasn't frozen enough to begin with, try turning off the machine for 1 minute intervals every 5 minutes or so, AFTER the first 20 minutes of processing. It gives the ingredients more contact time with the frozen canister sides, and speeds up the freezing process. But you need to give the machine time to partially freeze the slurry first, or you might freeze the paddle into place.

You can also scoop the soft ice cream into your freezer storage containers and let it finish freezing in your main freezer. If you use small containers, (1 cup), that will take an hour or so. Large containers can take several hours to fully freeze, depending on how cold your freezer is. (Which makes freezing your ice cream in the morning very practical.) Again, this is normal for canister type machines, you just need to know what to expect.

5. A full recipe takes longer to freeze than a half recipe. If you need it quicker, or want it firmer, you can try removing about a fourth of the liquid before starting. It keeps in the fridge for a couple of days. (Or just reduce the recipe.)

6. Use a recipe you are comfortable with. I just about choked when I saw a couple of recipes in the Cuisinart cookbook that called for over a full Tablespoon of vanilla! That's ridiculous and has to be an editing problem. (Vanilla is made with alcohol, and alcohol doesn't freeze.) I find that 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla is plenty, but never more than 2 teaspoons of extracts, total. (By the way, flavor oils make a great addition to your recipes. "Loranne Oils" or "Superior Products Oils" are fabulous, and really add depth. Use sparingly though, just add a drop or two of the concentrated Loranne oils or you'll mess up your ice cream. Try the Loranne Eggnog oil. Yuuuummmy!)

7. Don't put more than roughly 7 cups of liquid ingredients into this machine, or they will expand right out of the top of the machine as they start to freeze! Whoops! This was very amusing, but due to the design, I was able to just scoop the soft ice milk out of the center hole as it expanded and pack it into the freezer containers. I like the open hole design, it makes for easy addition of fruits/nuts/coconut at the end. And the fact that the canister rotates, and not the center paddle, makes it easy to carefully scoop a bit out if necessary, without stopping the machine.

8. Either store the canister inside a large double bread bag in the freezer, with a twist tie and a bit of bag at the top to use as a handle, or take a pair of potholders or rubber gloves with you when you go to remove it from the freezer. It gets VERY cold. And touching directly with warm hands will lower the temp of the canister, if you don't drop it.

9. Always make sure the canister is completely dry before storing in the freezer.

Finally, here's a healthy-ish ice cream base recipe to use in it:

Ice Cream Base (2 quarts)
8 generous 1 cup servings

Ingredients:

6 cups Lactaid reduced fat milk w/extra calcium. (Ain't cheap, but you get the eXtra calcium. You can substitute whole milk or half & half for richer ice cream.)
1 1/4 to 1 1/3 cups "WheyLow" for ice cream. (Lower glycemic index sugar. 1/4 the calories of regular sugar. [...] ) Or use sugar.
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla.
2 small pinches of salt.

Mix everything vigorously with a wire whisk in a large Pyrex measuring cup or bowl until the sugar dissolves completely. Use this as the basis for all ice creams, varying by the addition of pureed fruits in season, coconut flakes, or nuts. If you use flavor oils, add a few drops to the mixture above, if you add nuts and fruits, put those in through the opening during the freezing process, in the last five minutes. (Fresh strawberries or peaches macerated with a bit of sugar is a spectacular add-in.) If you want to use cocoa to make chocolate ice cream, use about 2 heaping tablespoons of cocoa, dissolved first in 2 TBS hot water, and then stirred into the liquid mixture before freezing. Add chips, crushed cookies or flake chocolate at the end. (Liquids go into the mixture before freezing, solids go in at the end.)

It's pretty hard to mess this one up. Since there are no eggs in the mix, you can taste it to see if you like it, before freezing. Just keep in mind, the flavors and sweetness will intensify after freezing. Start sparingly and add more to the next batch if it needs it.

Give it a try, and don't be afraid to experiment.

Okay, that's enough. Hope it helps. This machine is an excellent value.

Update:
Okay it's three years later and this thing is still going strong....approx 50 batches a year/3 years = Over 150 batches. This was definitely one of my better buys. :)
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on June 3, 2013
It may have been me...but when I used my Frozen Dessert Maker for the first time yesterday, I found that even after 35 minutes, my raspberry frozen yogurt was about the consistency of a "soft serve" ice cream, not firmer as I had anticipated. I poured it into a container and put it into the freezer compartment of the fridge for a couple hours and it was fine. Perhaps still a bit more like sherbet than frozen yogurt, but still was firm, and very good. I don't know if the fact that I used frozen raspberries caused this because they may have been too "wet" when they thawed, or if perhaps the canister wasn't as thoroughly frozen as I believed it to be when I began (it did not "slosh" when shaken so I assumed it was ready...maybe not!)

I do like the appearance and ease of use, and anticipate many more attempts at making ice cream and sherbet this summer.

07/09/13 EDIT: Since posting this, after my initial use, I have made several more batches of ice cream. I can now say, the frozen yogurt was a bomb. The quick ice creams are fine, but lack a little something. But if you take the time to make the custard and cool it before putting it into the machine, you will not be disappointed. And...freezing time of these is 25 minutes, every time. I'm delighted with this machine now!
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on November 1, 2013
Right from the start, I'd like to say I am very happy with this ice cream maker. Going back to the 1960s, I have used two electric models, the kind that need ice and salt, the same technology that goes back over a hundred years, just with a better power source than my dad had when he had to hand crank the freezer to make ice cream when I was a kid.

My old one was making the kind of noises that an electric motor emits when crucial and expensive parts are wearing out, and the idea of no salt, no ice, was irresistible. Besides, my doctor told me to cut down on sugar, so I figured a 2-quart model was better than a 1-gallon machine.

For close to 25 years I have been using a recipe that friends, family and co-workers rave about (in a good way). It's nothing particularly special - I merely kept tweaking the recipe that came with my ice cream freezer until it was "just right." For the Vonnegut fans among you, the name of the recipe is Ice Cream Nine, and two years ago I put it on line at [...]
Getting to the point: For my first batch, I used my recipe for vanilla, cutting everything in half, and reducing the eggs from 3 to 1. This mix should be heated, so I have always been in the habit of mixing it up the day before I want to freeze it, and chilling it overnight.

I followed the freezer instructions carefully, and within ten minutes or so I could see slush forming. One of my favorite features of this product is the open top. When the freezing is close to done, this allows you to spoon out a sample to make sure everything is going well.

Although my reduced size recipe produced a tiny bit less than two quarts of liquid, filling to the recommended level left a cup or two unused. And since the mix expanded to where I had to spoon it off the top, I would recommend filling to an inch below the top instead of a half inch.

The instructions had said something about making two batches one after another, without specifically saying this was OK, so I scraped out the finished product, put in the leftover juice, and it came out fine, despite filling only the bottom inch or so of the bowl. As it froze it seemed to pile up on one side, so I stopped the machine, swirled the slush around a bit, and re-started the freezer.

I live alone and know better than to eat two quarts of ice cream all at once, so I always put it in the freezer (except for the "test bowl" that you are mandated to eat immediately). I don't know if this means anything, but I put the containers of ice cream into plastic bags, and it was always scoopable without having to sit out and soften.

Of course, it was incredibly delicious as expected. I make homemade hot fudge sauce using a recipe that came with my first microwave oven 30-plus years ago. Although the vanilla is delicious plain, it's heavenly with the fudge sauce. Next up will be my chocolate toasted almond, which will be served to a group of friends, the first true test of whether this was a good idea. Oh heck, I KNOW it was a good idea.

UPDATE FEB 2014: I have found that trying to make a second batch right after the first does not really work that well. The ice cream at the bottom of the container gets so hard that it fills in the slight depression where the dasher sits, so unless you wait till it melts free, the dasher is not positioned correctly. I have reduced my total milk/cream/half and half by a cup to make the entire batch fit in the freezing bowl.
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on May 15, 2014
very disappointed. I froze the tub for over 24 hours. I just made the simple vanilla ice cream recipe to start out with. The machine ran for 40 minutes the liquid never froze it came out like soup very very disappointed. the Cuisinart recipe in the book that came with the Machine called for one and one half tablespoons of vanilla I am wondering if this is a typo due to the alcohol content that may be why my product did not freeze I will try one more time before I return all of this
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on September 11, 2013
I have tried a few different types of ice cream with this beauty, and I have yet to be disappointed. My favorite it, by far, my dark chocolate peanut butter with a custard base. YUUUUM! I've also tried some low fat ice creams, and have gotten what I expected- tasty, but definitely not creamy. I've read to try adding a bit of alcohol to these flavors to keep them from setting like a rock, but I have yet to try it. Perhaps a low fat piña colada ice cream is in my future?

The ice cream making is exactly what I was hoping for. It's great to be able to make ice cream in flavors that you can't find in the store, like lemon custard for my brother who has been settling for sorbet all these years. The open top design is great for adding in extra flavors throughout the churning process. Bottom line, I am completely satisfied with this ice cream maker, and would recommend it to anyone. And the price was oh so right!
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on November 30, 2013
This is SO much better than the old hand crank, or even the wood electric ice cream maker. No more ice, salt or salty ice cream! ( from the salt accidentally getting into your mix. We keep the bowl in our freezer for whenever you have the hankering for ice cream. 20 minutes is plenty to make a batch and we have found that you can do back to back batches. Just need to make sure your ice cream mix is ready and chilled. The second batch may not be as stiff as the first, simply store it in your container and pop in the freezer. It is quieter than expected, clean up is easy.

Best of all, use your own ingredients! I'm finding better chocolate cocoa that makes store bought chocolate ice cream seem pathetic.
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on December 18, 2013
I've tried several recipes and this machine doesn't work. I've had the base in the freezer for a week and the mixture refrigerated overnight. The center is open to the air, I've even tried covering it with something cold in hopes of improving the result. The mixture never sets enough to make it into ice cream. This machine is a total rip off.
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on October 1, 2017
What a treat to make homemade ice cream. We just love this machine. We store the inside bowl in the freezer so it's ready to make ice cream when we want. Great buy!
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on August 25, 2017
It works beautifully. The directions could be written better.
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