Saturday, August 14, 2010

Double Ice Cream Maker

Once again the nice people at contacted your Chocolate Priestess about teaming up with us to promote some of their products.  While a bathroom sink isn't really something that relates very well to chocolate, their range of stores includes a lot of items that can be used to create or enjoy our Sacred Substance.  Since they contacted me in July, National Ice Cream Month here in the USA I looked for something to do with ice cream that fit in the budget they set.  I found this "Total Chef Deluxe Double Treat Ice Cream Maker" for $30.

The product arrived in a box simply wrapped in bubble wrap.  That was weird.  The last product I received came in it's own box, inside a shipping box.  Does this product not have it's own box?  It turned out that this machine didn't work at all.  We look at the battery compartment and saw that the contacts were bent. But CSN has great customer service and they quickly replaced the first one with a second one that arrived in the same fashion.  I wasn't very hopeful at this point.

This machine has several parts and accessories that came with it.  First it has the two compartments that you put 1-2 different flavors in. The top part has two plastic combs that stir the mixture and window you can slide back to examine the ice cream through without stopping the process.  It has a little booklet with instructions and some recipes which I followed.  A scoop designed to fit into the bowls and a shaker for 4 different toppings you might want to put on your ice cream.

The first time, in keeping with healthier eating I want my family to do, I tried the fat free recipes.  I had darker cocoa so the chocolate would be darker and I used cinnamon in place of other flavors for the second flavor but otherwise I followed the direction exactly as printed.  Here you can see the two flavors in the bowls.

The trick with this maker is that it uses batteries that slip into the side of the machine.  Note the curve of the machine and the compartment.  This made it very difficult to get the batteries into and incredibly hard to get them out when the process was finished.    Ultimately the batteries jiggled around so much that they lost their position and the machine would stop.  I used cotton balls to hold them in place and the machine kept going at least until the internal thermometer told it to stop.

That I had to go to this length to get the machine to work is a huge disappointment.  The reason you get an ice cream maker is so you can have homemade treats without having to make it really by hand.  Think of the hour plus of hand cranking you'd normal do with an old fashioned ice cream maker.

You place the machine into your freezer where it will gauge the temperature and stop mixing at a certain point.  It is supposed to turn for 10 seconds then rest for 10 seconds and repeat this process until that temperature is reached.

With the fat free recipes this temperature was reached when the products were really in the milk shake phrase of freezing.  I hope you can see that in this photo.  Shakes are good but these were not supposed to be shakes and given the shape of the bowls the product needed to be scooped out, it could not be poured without mixing the two flavors together.

I thought that maybe it was the fat free recipes at fault so I tried the regular recipes a week later.  The difference is really the milk product you use.  In the fat free you use skim or low fat half and half.  In regular you use heavy cream and regular half and half as you see in this photo.

Changing to the regular recipes did help a bit but the mixer stopped churning before the ice cream was truly solid.  This photo shows the mixture after the blades stopped turning. No, you can't restart them once they stop because that would entail getting the product warm enough to restart them and you want cold ice cream, right?

But you also want ice cream that is smooth which means the ice crystals have not formed so large that they are obvious in the treat.  As this photo shows the product melted very quickly because so much of it was ice crystals instead of creamy, smooth ice cream.  It also tasted a bit off as well.  Texture and scent are a huge part our of food enjoyment as human beings. If one or two of our senses are offended, the entire experience can be ruined.

While I can't recommend this particular machine, the site called has a lot of ice cream related products you might want to check out.  Just remember: Sometimes something can be too cheap to be much good just as sometimes products are very over priced.


Anonymous said...

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TheChocolatePriestess said...

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