The summertime is great thanks to the long hours of daylight, the time away from school, the vacation days off work, and all the recreational activities you can do outside. But you know what's not so great about the summer? The heat. Hot weather can put a damper on your fun, causing you to sweat, grow fatigued, and feel generally unpleasant. But with a sweet, frozen treat, you can cool down and perk up even during those sweltering dog days of summer.
Why pay the ice cream truck driver all your hard earned cash when you can make delectable frozen desserts at home using one of the fine frozen dessert makers in our guide?
We found dessert makers that are perfect for all sorts of ice-cold goodness, from ice cream makers to vegan-friendly fruit-based treats to boozy adult frozen beverages that will have you feeling cooler and more relaxed at the same time. We even have a dessert maker that will help the kids burn some energy before they load up on sugar.
And hey, even after the summer winds down and the weather cools off, you can still enjoy a fine frozen desert. Why? Because this is America, and in America, we eat what we want when we want it ... for better or for worse.
Here's the problem with the Yonanas Classic Healthy Frozen Dessert Maker: Ever since we got the thing, our 4-year-old son asks for a bowl of Yonanas every single night. Which is fine in theory, because that means a healthy dessert made using frozen bananas, strawberries, pineapple, mangoes, and whatever other fruit we have in the freezer. The issue? At the time that I'm writing this piece, we have literally no frozen fruit left. The kid has eaten all of it. (OK, my wife and I had some too.)
Using the Yonanas dessert maker is remarkably simple. You load your chosen frozen fruit down into the chute (let it thaw for a few minutes first, though) and then switch the unit on while applying steady, gentle pressure with the included plunger. Out of the chute comes a thick, smooth, and creamy soft serve concoction that has the mouthfeel of ice cream and the flavor of sweet, tasty fruit.
If you're feeling adventurous, you can also add ingredients ranging from chocolate to frozen cubes of wine to a liquid dose of rum to nuts and more, creating fabulous desert blends of your own design or made following an included Yonanas recipe book.
When the desert making session is over, the unit easily disassembles for cleaning, and all of the parts that touch food are dishwasher safe.
There's nothing like fresh, hand-churned homemade ice cream, is there? The Cuisinart ICE-30 Pure Indulgence can churn out as much as two quarts of fresh ice cream, frozen yogurt, or fruit sorbet in as little as 25 minutes, making it a perfect appliance for the family with multiple sweet tooths or even for use at a larger party.
Using the Pure Indulgence ice cream maker couldn't be much easier: You freeze the freezer bowl for a few hours prior to use (or overnight, if you can spare some room), then add the ingredients into the freezer bowl chamber, then you turn the thing on. And ... that's that. In less than a half hour, boom, fresh, homemade frozen goodness. If you want to get wacky with things, you can add fruit, chocolate chips, sprinkles, and so forth right into the large ingredient shoot.
The machine is covered by a three-year warranty and will last many years beyond that if you treat it properly. Which basically means hand washing the freezer bowl and mixing components.
The ILoveIceCream.net blog called the ICE-30R Pure Indulgence "the best of the freezer canister style ice cream makers" on the market and noted that it's "simple to use" and durably built. Dream Scoops blog said, "The Cuisinart ICE-30BC is probably the best of the ice cream makers with removable bowls."
First, a nod to the purists: The proper name for the traditional Hawaiian sweet crafted using ice and flavoring (and sometimes sweet condensed milk, bean paste, and fruits) is shave ice, not shaved ice. Call it what you will, but there are few better, tastier ways to cool down on hot summer days than by chowing down on a pile of fine ice particles infused with sweet syrup.
And there's no better way to enjoy that cold sweetness than by making it yourself with the Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900 Shaved Ice Machine, an affordable, reliable device that cranks out perfect shave ice every time when you use the included ice molds.
The Shaved Ice Machine comes with three sweet syrup flavors, paper cones, straws, and pouring spouts, and with two large ice block molds that will allow you to produce plenty of treats at a time. Perhaps best of all, as the primary ingredient in said treats is frozen H2O, they are a great way to cool down and curb your sweet cravings without many calories involved.
One Amazon customer wrote that the included molds are rather flimsy, but you can easily replace them and you can also make shave ice with regular ice cubes.
Pros: Creates tasty low calorie treats, works with ice blocks or cubes, kit comes with flavoring and paper cones
The Margaritaville Bahamas Frozen Concoction Maker really sells itself, because margaritas. And to be specific, that's restaurant-quality margaritas made at home that will come out perfect every time thanks to the step-by-step, no-brainer process involved. If you can read a measuring cup and flip a switch, then you can make perfect adult frozen beverages by the pitcher any time.
The device can be used as a blender alone, but it's at its best when it creates genuine shaved ice that it then mixes with your favorite tequila, triple sec, lime juice, or of course a pre-made margarita mix.
Yes, you can also use the Margaritaville Bahamas Frozen Concoction Maker to make other frozen beverages, such as iced mojitos, daiquiris, or even non-boozy concoctions for the kids. Most components of this easy-to-use device are dishwasher safe, so cleaning up after your party is easy even if you had a drink or two while hosting.
Insider Picks Guides Editor has attended several family gatherings hosted by one person whose Margaritaville Bahamas Frozen Concoction Maker is always the highlight of the party. For such an expensive device the machine should have nicer build quality, he said. However, the machine doesn't seem to have issues churning out drink after drink, party after party. For years now, the frozen drink maker continues to make an appearance, a testament to the durability despite the plastic exterior.
A review from KitchenGearPro called this drink maker easy to use and praised its ability to "make delicious drinks for adults" and tasty treats for kids and nondrinkers, too.
OK, a few issues to get out of the way here: First, the Yaylabs! SoftShell Ice Cream Ball makes a relatively small serving of homemade ice cream per use compared to most ice cream makers. And second, the thing leaks pretty heavily, so you need to use it outside. But guess what? All big rubber balls are best used outside anyway, and not all such balls make ice cream while you kick or toss them around. And besides, it leaks salty water, not sticky ice cream, so it's not that big of a deal anyway.
Here's how you use this thing: Add your cream, sugar, and flavoring into the chamber on one side, put ice and rock salt into the other, close the lids, and play around. Kick the ball, throw it, roll it — you can do pretty much whatever you want with the thing as long as you keep it moving.
After about a half hour of play, you will have worked up a sweat and an appetite. Take care of both by opening up the end into which you put that cream and sugar and vanilla or chocolate or whatnot and scoop out some fresh, cold ice cream.
Commercial Flake Ice Machine
Is this partly a novelty item? Sure. But the ice cream tastes great. And yes, I know that first hand.
One Amazon customer calls the Ice Cream Ball a "great idea" that makes tasty desserts and is "easy to clean," though you should note that multiple people mention the leaking issue. If you have decent outdoor space, it's not that big of a deal, really.
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