Good Food Blog
The scoop on the best ice cream gifts and gadgetsPosted at 12:02PM, 13 July 2012 by Sarah Sysum - Assistant editor, Easy Cook magazine
Craving homemade ice cream but don't know where to start? Sarah Sysum lists her top tools for the tastiest frozen treats, whether you're a novice or experienced ice cream maker.
Cuisinart Mix-It-In Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker
Who doesn't love a traditional cone with a flake? This machine is a fully automatic, soft-serve ice cream maker. You chill the bowl (less chilling required than some, only an hour in the freezer), pour in the ingredients and turn the dial. It has three built-in dispensers and a unique pull handle that sends ice cream swirling out. It also includes a cone holder that holds a stack of pointed or flat-bottomed cones and a drip tray.
Spoon Straws, pack of 250
I can't be the only one that finds trying to scrape melted ice cream from the bottom of the bowl annoying. Luckily, there's now a spoon straw made to do the trick. It's, quite simply, a long thick straw with a spoon shaped scoop at the end. Great for shakes but could also be fun for a cold summer soup.
Original Zeroll Scoop, size 12, blue
A food stylist, who's also a self-confessed ice cream addict, told me that although pricey, she'd never be without this gadget. It uses heat from your hand to warm the defrosting fluid inside the handle and scoop. This makes for a clean, easy scoop every time - even with rock solid ice cream. Expensive, but if you eat lots of ice cream it's definitely a good investment.
Ice Cream Set, four bowls
If you're buying a gift for an ice cream lover, this dinky little set should fit the bill. It consists of four porcelain 'tubs' and matching spoons in Neapolitan ice cream colours. The tubs aren't too small (8.5cm diameter); I managed to fit two decent-sized scoops into mine.
Play and Freeze Ice Cream Maker
Want to offset the calories from your ice cream? Well this could be the gadget for you. Simply bung your ingredients in one end, cram ice and rock salt in the other and then play with the ball (although no booting it around Beckham-style). After about 20 minutes you'll have ice cream. I found that the consistency varied depending on the ingredients, ice/salt mix, outside temperature and shaking frequency. And, if you're thinking 'Yuck, rock salt in my ice cream', then don't worry - the salt itself never actually comes into contact with the ice cream.
Moroccan Coloured Sundae Glasses, pack of four
The whole nostalgia thing is still in vogue, and what better way to join in than with a good old-fashioned ice cream sundae. These glasses bring the trend up-to-date with their bright coloured glass and clean styling. Working out at £2 each they're a bit of bargain as well.
Pack of four: £8, http://bunce-co.co.uk
Let's Make Ice Cream, mould set with four moulds and storage tray
These are my favourite moulds for kids. Simply fill the mould, insert the 'cone' handle, place onto the storage stand and then put into the freezer for easy and delicious results. The built-in drip guard puts an end to sticky fingers and ensures clean fun for all.
Kitchen Craft Silicone Ice Cream Scoop
Another easy way to serve up your favourite flavour. Simply scoop the ice cream and then push it out into a serving dish by pressing on the flexible silicone base. The acrylic handles are remarkably sturdy and the scoop is dishwasher safe too.
Lock & Lock, polypropylene large rectangular food storage container
You've made your ice cream, now you need something to store it in. Whilst this won't win any awards for its looks, it doesn't leak and keeps the contents air and moisture tight in the freezer. The lid design means you can stack them if freezer space is tight, and they clean up easily.
Kenwood HM326 Hand Mixer
If you're making ice cream without an ice cream maker you will need to churn the mixture by hand every so often to stop the ice crystals forming. A hand mixer takes out a lot of arm ache. I like how the handle fits snugly into your palm on this mixer - and it's not too heavy to hold for long periods. It also has a low speed setting, which is ideal for churning your ice cream.