Customer Reviews: Hamilton Beach Half Pint Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker
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on October 27, 2010
I really love this little ice cream maker. I live alone, but often have an extra for dinner, and this is perfect. I had a larger one from when my kids were all at home, and when it died, I knew I wanted a way to make small batches. Homemade ice cream does not store well. I searched for a long time before I made my decision.

This little one is perfect, and it works like a charm. I keep both bowls in the freezer, so I can make two different flavors if I choose. I can't understand how anyone could claim it is hard to clean. The paddle and lid pop apart easily, and into the dishwasher. The freezer bowls take a swish of hot water, dry them and back into the freezer.

Most important -- it works. I make my own yogurt, and easily make frozen yogurt in minutes with no strange ingredients. I set it running while we eat -- usually takes about 10 minutes. I hop up to take the paddle out, and let it sit until we are ready for dessert. A quick stir, and it is perfect consistency. You can make up to 12 oz in one bowl -- perfect for two people. I especially love that it works equally well when I am making just a tiny amount for just me. If you love to experiment with exotic flavors that may be wonderful or awful (or expensive), you can make tiny batches to perfect your recipe.

I've been making ice cream for over 20 years, and I am having more fun than I ever did with my big machine. Easy to use, easy to clean, easy to store, makes great ice cream, and is as cute as can be -- what's not to love.
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on February 24, 2011
There are a number of reviews here where people have had the frozen bowls crack open, and the freezing liquid leaks out. I thought perhaps the people were careless with the bowls, like dropping them or washing them in a dishwasher. I was wrong to believe that. I too never misused the bowls at all. On only the second time I made ice cream, while the machine was in use, one of the bowls cracked down the side, and the freezing liquid that was inside leaked out, all over the place. There is a design flaw, or a quality control issue with the plastic that is being used to make these bowls. It's too bad because I really like the size of this machine, and the quick time it takes to make good, tasty ice cream. I wish Hamilton Beach would redesign the bowls. Please be aware that if you purchase this product, there is a chance that your bowls will also crack down the side, even if you handle them very carefully.
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on November 11, 2010
My husband and I have used this little guy a few times now and it couldn't be easier. The directions are really simple (almost annoyingly so) and include pictures for every step. There aren't really a lot of steps. You freeze the little bowls for at least 12 hours, mix up some ice cream mix (recipes included - takes about 4 ingredients,) pour 6-12 oz of the mix in the bowl, put the little lid on - it's kind of ribbed so it will stay put while it churns, then turn it on. And then you wait a few minutes and you have soft serve ice cream.

Clean up couldn't be easier. Since it's ice cream it just rinses off with hot water. You can't submerge the motor, you just wipe that off, the paddle detaches and can be rinsed off. If you do it right away, dripping isn't a problem getting it to the sink, even if you're on the other side of the kitchen.

As for the consistency of the ice cream, you just have to figure that one out for yourself. You can get anywhere from milkshake to regular soft serve. If you want it harder than that, just put it in the freezer for a while.

I did find their recipe for chocolate ice cream to be a bit grainy and way too chocolaty. But the next day the graininess was gone as everything had had a chance to dissolve. I then mixed it 3:1 with the vanilla ice cream mix to cut down the chocolate and it was perfect. Also, they suggest that to make frozen yogurt you can just put in a container of yogurt. That tasted just like... yogurt. It won't be TCBY by any means. I won't try that a second time.

As for the ice cream sticking to the side of the bowl. This is how these ice cream makers work. The bowl is frozen, the side of the bowl freezes your ingredients. Naturally the ice cream on the wall of the bowl is going to be the coldest. Wait a few minutes and the ice cream peels off the walls easily with a spatula. No big deal and it makes some pretty ice cream curls.

This is my third ice cream maker, my second of this style - where you freeze the bowl. This is by far the most fun and easiest of them all. Just make sure your ingredients are very cold and your bowls are very frozen (24 hours in the freezer is best.)

It's nice to be able to mix up two different bowls of ice cream and have it be ready so quickly. In the past we always had to compromise, as we have one chocolate lover and one not-so-chocolate lover.

All in all, it's a fun and simple machine. Now I just need a couple of extra bowls!
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on July 28, 2012
For our 6th batch of ice cream in this maker we Finally got it right! And it's fantastic! Now when we use this little ice cream maker there is a thin layer of frozen cream on the walls of the bowl (just like in regular large-size makers) and the ice cream is perfectly thick & creamy home-made ice cream consistency, and we love it! We eat it out of the frozen-bowl so the ice cream doesn't melt quickly, it stays very thick and creamy while we slowly eat & enjoy it.

In the first five batches our results ranged from unfrozen soupy liquid after 15 minutes of churning, to a thick frozen shell on the bowl-walls surrounding soupy liquid with ice-pellets in it, to a thick frozen shell so thick that the lid no longer made contact with the bowl that contained about 3 tablespoons of thick ice cream and after letting it sit 2 minutes as per the instruction the beater was frozen into the cream and shell so that the lid could not be removed.

We read the instructions repeatedly and kept adjusting the icebox temperature, and read the reviews here repeatedly looking for tips, and finally we make the perfect bowl of ice cream every time with this ice cream maker.

What works for us:
1) the proper temperature setting on the icebox [our choices are between 1 and 5, and our setting is now 4.50],
2) leaving the bowls in the freezer for 24 hours [we wash & dry them after eating the ice cream and put them right back into the freezer where they stay until the next day when we're ready to make it again--we just leave them in there all the time now when we're not making & eating ice cream],
3) once a week mixing enough of the recipe for two servings daily & leaving it in the icebox all week so it's always cold enough to use in the maker,
4) when we're ready to make the ice cream we assemble the lid and have it ready to immediately put in the bowl BEFORE we take anything out of the icebox,
5) take the bowl out of the freezer & immediately take the recipe out of the icebox & immediately pour enough liquid to come up to one-half inch below the inner rim of the bowl & immediately put the lid on top & immediately turn it on,
6) set the timer for six minutes,
7) after six minutes turn off the lid & unplug & take it out of the ice cream & no we don't leave the lid on per the instructions because it isn't necessary as it is the perfect consistency and ready to eat.

It was worth sticking with it and making the adjustments, because we are really, really enjoying the results!
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on December 7, 2012
After reading through a lot of these reviews, I went ahead and emailed hamilton beach out the issues described here.. Below are the responses I received:

Dear Jeryn,

Thank you for contacting us.

We will be happy to assist you. We have not had any issues in 2012 of the bowls cracking on the ice cream makers.

I sent an email back stating that these reviews stated otherwise.. Below is the email followup:

Dear Jeryn,

Our engineers revise these units every two to three years.

Unfortunately, we do not have any control over how long Amazon keeps our units in stock.

Thank you again for contacting Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc. Please let us know if we can further assist you.

I talked to amazon to see if they knew what time they reveiced their current stock of this product, however, they were not able to help me. I then went to the Hamilton Beach website to check their "newer" products and matched up Product IDs (I'm assuming the newer models will have different IDs). I found that the blue bowel here did not match the blue product ID on their website, however the rest did which could mean the blue one might be an older model, but the other colors are the new models as they have matching IDs on Hamilton Beaches website.

I went ahead and gave it a show and ordered the corded green model.. I will update this post one I get it in and try it out a few times at which time I will change my rating. Just thought this might or might not help other people looking to buy this product.

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on February 22, 2012
I LOVE making homemade ice cream and also own the KitchenAid KICA0WH Ice Cream Maker Attachment, but I have to say, I actually prefer this little guy by a long shot. It's small, convenient, and makes outstanding ice cream. Unlike the Kitchen Aid, the little bowls are easy to fit in my limited freezer space, so I can always keep a bowl frozen and ready for when I get the itch to make super-premium homemade ice cream. Keep in mind, though, if you've never made ice cream before - there's a trick to it. Here's my recipe (meant for use with the Kitchen Aid, so this actually makes about 4 bowls worth with this Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker):

> 2c heavy cream
> 1c whole milk
> 3/4c sugar
> salt
> 5 egg yolks.

Before we start: Make sure the mixing bowl has been freezing for at least 8 hours. If it's not frozen solid, you can't make ice cream. Let's get started...

Combine the heavy cream, milk, and sugar in a sauce pan or pot. Give it a good dash of salt (about 1 tsp). Carefully scald the cream mixture (heat it over medium-high heat, while stirring, but turn the heat off BEFORE it starts to boil - do NOT let it boil). Lightly whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl, then slowly drip about 1.5c of hot cream mixture into the eggs, while stirring vigorously until it's well mixed (this is called "tempering" - you want to be careful not to cook the eggs with the hot mixture to quickly or you will end up with bits of scrambled egg in your ice cream). Now, slowly add the egg-cream mixture back into the sauce pan. Turn the stovetop back on and set to low-medium heat. Keep gently stirring until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (not watery, but not anywhere near pudding either - you want a gravy consistency). You can test by drawing a line on the spoon with one finger. If it doesn't drip right away where you scraped the spoon, the custard is finished.

Once the custard is done on the stove, pour it into a sealed or covered container and let it sit until it's room temperature. Next, move it into the fridge and leave it there until it's cold all the way through (this can take a couple hours, but is extremely important!). If the custard isn't cold-cold-COLD (not frozen - just cold), it will thaw the mixing bowl too quickly and it will never set into proper ice cream! You also want to ensure that the mixing bowl is absolutely frozen solid. This generally takes about 8 hours in the back of the freezer. Don't rush either the custard chilling or the bowl freezing (Keeping everything super cold is THE key to ice cream fluffing up properly).

Sidenote: You now have a basic custard. It tastes great just as it is, but makes even better ice cream! You will get about 4 batches of ice cream out of this custard (you won't use it all at once), so keep the extra in the fridge for up to a week and make batches of ice cream as you need it... or eat the custard as-is!

Ok now for making ICE CREAM... Once your custard is cold (it will be the consistency of slightly runny pudding), fill your frozen Ice Cream Maker bowl only half way with the cold custard (leave about 1" at the top). Add whatever flavorings you want (vanilla, cocoa powder, maple syrup, bacon, etc) then stick the top on the ice cream maker and flip it on. Let it churn until the ice cream has fluffed up enough that it's getting ice cream smeared on the top of the ice cream maker (10-15 mins). Don't let it go longer than 15 minutes - the device is simply used to slowly "fluff" the custard into ice cream.

You can eat it now, but it will still be *very* soft, like a thick milkshake (personally, I like it this way). To make this milkshake stuff into "proper" ice cream, there's one final step...

When you're finished churning (and tasting, you cheater) stick the whole thing, bowl and all, back into the freezer and let it sit for at least two more hours (overnight is ideal). While it chills, it will develop even more texture and character - the kind you usually associate with "proper" ice cream.

NOW it's done and you can eat!!!

Just keep the following tricks in mind: The eggs are what keep it from getting "icy" - they stabilize the cream, thicken the custard, and preserve the creamy texture. Leave them out at your own risk (Full disclosure: I have experimented with gelatine as an egg yolk replacement with some success). Also, remember that when you start churning, everything should be COLD COLD COLD. The bowl should have been freezing for a very long time, and the custard should be thoroughly chilled. If you cut corners, you'll thaw the Ice Cream Maker's mixing bowl too quickly and end up with soup, not ice cream. Follow the recipe, and the Hamilton Beach Half Pint Ice Cream Maker will give you amazing ice cream every time. ;-)
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on May 23, 2011
This little appliance makes good ice cream in a few minutes as promised. At first, my bowl was too cold (my feezer is set at -4 degrees). The ice cream mixture froze to the sides and bottom, pushing the paddle and the lid up. The edges were like ice and the middle liquidy. The next time I tried rinsing the inside of the bowl for 1 second with a couple of ounces of cold water and them immediately added the mixture and the lid. This batch came out perfect in a few minutes.
I have added frozen straberries, chocolate, caramel and other things. It is fun to experiment. I find that 12 ounces is a lot for this bowl to hold. I use 6-10 ounces to make 2 servings.
I gave one to my mother for Mother's Day but kept this blue one for myself.
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on December 12, 2010
See my uploaded pictures.
The bowls are NOT dishwasher safe, by the way. Make sure bowls are completely dry before freezing them. It's extremely easy to use. We've tested it 3 times so far.
The 1st time we tried, the ice cream froze to the inside of the bowl. The ice cream had an icy, crystallized consistency. We figured later that we have to let the frozen bowl sit at room temperature for maybe 5 minutes before pouring the mixture in to make the ice cream. Then after making the ice cream or yogurt to just let the ice cream or yogurt sit for for 5-10 minutes before serving. It works and it's a keeper. It's a useful, convenient gadget. We like the fact that we can control the ingredients that we want in our ice cream and it's very quick.
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on January 8, 2011
I live alone and wanted something that would let me make homemade ice cream but not make enough for 12. This fits the bill perfectly.

When I got it home I washed it up and put the bowls in the freezer. The next day I made up the citrus sorbet that came in the manual. 6 minutes later, I had sorbet. It does stick to the bowl but that makes sense--if it didn't, then the liquids wouldn't freeze. :-)

The next day I tried out the chocolate ice cream recipe. While I found it overly chocolaty, the maker did its part wonderfully.

Next up is the frozen yogurt.

Overall, the only gripe that I have with it is that the lid tends to rattle while it is running. I put a bean bag that I had sitting around on the top while running it, and that solved the problem.
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on June 1, 2013
I got this because I wanted to have ice cream but I wanted to control the ingredients. Having a single-serving ice cream maker was ideal. I've been able to make wonderful, creamy ice cream with fresh ingredients and add-ins. The bowl doesn't take up much space in the freezer and it seems pretty sturdy.

Now, my first attempts at making sugar-free ice cream were abject failures. The liquid would just form a solid sheet around the sides of the bowl and the top would just rise as the cream froze. That's because sugar doesn't just make the ice cream sweeter--it actually makes it freeze slower. You know how salt keeps water from freezing? Sugar does the same thing (only much tastierly). So, to get creamy sugar-free ice cream you need to add something that slows down the freezing. Something like.....alcohol. Add about a tablespoon or so of your favorite spirit and your ice cream will come out nice and smooth. Don't add too much or it won't freeze at all (a full jigger is too much. Just sayin). Can you give this to children? NO, it has booze it in! Let em get their own ice cream and leave the grown-ups to their dessert. It's actually fun finding out what goes with what. Flavored vodka, spiced or flavored run, wine. Do lots of experimentation. For, you know, science.
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