What happens when you have leftover wedding gift cards burning a hole in your wallet and you’ve been reading too many paleo blogs with drool-worthy dairy free dessert recipes? Well, you’d probably do exactly what I did and dig out those gift cards and splurge on new ice cream maker! Meet the newest member of my kitchen family… I have named her Shirley =)
Shirley came into my family’s life because I am sick and tired of paying nearly $6.00 a pint for So Delicious Coconut ice cream, and with some gentle nudging from my naturopathic doctor, I’m trying to cut out refined sugars and processed food for good. But a life without ice cream is like a life without… LOVE. And who can live without that?
Shirley arrived in the mail on a Thursday afternoon, and as I ripped into my precious package and started pouring over the instructional booklet these words jumped out on the page “Please allow machine to rest on a horizontal surface for 24 hours before use”… WHAT?! I had to wait a day!? Ayyy the agony!! But wait I did, and spent the next 24 hours dreaming up what kind of coconut milk dairy free ice cream to make first! I tackled a few difference recipes the next day, and so far I’m LOVING.EVERY.SINGLE.ONE.
Horray for dairy free desserts!
This is coconut vanilla bean ice cream, and I made this batch with fresh coconut meat from a young thai coconut, in addition to using two cans of full-fat coconut milk.
I’m still tweaking and playing around with recipes before sharing my favorites, (mostly relates to the type of sweetener type and quantity, along with thickeners). So far I’ve been using maple syrup to sweeten, and/or dates (pureed in a blender), along with a little arrowroot powder to thicken.
I scooped up this book on the internet and it’s full of amazing recipe ideas!
Dairy Free Ice Cream, by Kelly Brozyna, is an amazing recipe book full of unique dairy free ice cream combinations and flavors. She has great advice for achieving maximum results using dairy free, gluten free and soy free recipes, that are free of refined sugar (almost all of her recipes use dates to sweeten). My favorite part about the book is the gorgeous photos and the ideas for fruits, nuts and toppings to add in the ice cream and on top—to really kick it up a notch!
I’ve only made four batches of coconut ice cream so far (three of them are pictured in this post!) Coconut, Chocolate Butter Pecan with Chocolate Chunks, & Coffee with Toasted Coconut Flakes. My favorite would have to be the chocolate butter pecan, but in part because I goofed a bit on the coconut batch and didn’t add any thickener, so it turned out a bit icey (meaning you can taste and feel the ice crystals instead of a smooth and silky finish like ice cream normally has). But the chocolate and coffee batches came out absolutely perfect, so I am starting to learn the tricks! Now, a little more about Shirley… (because some friends on instagram asked, and because I’m obsessed with kitchen ware and love sharing my experiences with others!)
I bought the Cuisinart ICE-100 model, which is the fully automatic machine with a built in compressor. This machine does not require you to freeze the mixing bowl before use, unlike the more common (and let’s admit, more affordable) model, the Cuisinart ICE-21. Neither of the machines require salt or ice (like the old fashioned ones!)
I settled on the ICE-100 for a few different reasons. Primarily, because I had a few hundred dollars in gift cards to spend, so I wasn’t counting my dollars as closely. I also read some online reviews that it was a bit of a pain to freeze the mixing bowl insert each time before use with the ICE-21, and the ICE-100 was quieter and more in line with a commercial ice cream maker. So I splurged! With a Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon I ended up using about $230 in gift cards for the machine. For comparison, the ICE-21 is $49 on amazon right now.
So, was it worth it? It’s hard for me to know for sure because I’ve never used the ICE-21 or any other ice cream maker for that matter. My chief complaint is that the Cuisinart ICE-100 is HUGE and takes up a big hunk of counter space. In fact, I still haven’t decided where she will rest. The instructions recommend that the machine is kept horizontal at all times, so that limits the storage options even further. I did get a chance to see the ICE-21 on display in the store and it’s definitely smaller and more manageable in size. Otherwise, this is my only complaint with this machine, and overall I really really love it!
Having a machine that is all set up and ready for use is an added bonus, and because of the timer and automatic “stay cool” function, I don’t have to worry that I’ll forget about a batch of ice cream because the machine does all the work for you, and will keep things nice and cool longer after the timer stops.
After reading all the online reviews about the ICE-21, I kind of wish I had went for the smaller and cheaper version, but only time will tell for sure! This is definitely a quality machine, and it even comes with a 3 year warranty! =)
** I was not compensated by Cuisinart for this review in any way. All views and opinions are my own, and I purchased the machine myself. =)