My Cuisinart ice cream maker was a wedding gift; it wasn't something on my list, but I jumped up and down with delight when I unwrapped it. I never would've purchased this appliance on my own because it didn't seem practical, yet I loved the idea of making homemade ice cream.
Fast-forward a couple years, and this ice cream maker has proved to be more than a one-job appliance. In fact, it's now one of my favorite gadgets, and I couldn't imagine my kitchen without it. Here are just 10 reasons (of many!) why I think you'll feel the same once you have one of your own.
I'll go ahead and get this no brainer out of the way: there is no substitute for homemade ice cream, and you haven't lived until you've tried Emeril Lagasse's recipe for vanilla bean ice cream. It's a great base recipe and you can add in seasonal fruit, candies, and cookie pieces to mix things up.
I'm not a regular soda drinker, but who can resist a frozen, slushy cola garnished with some cherries? Make movie night come to life at home: just put any soda in the ice cream maker for 20 minutes for the perfect icy treat.
Indulge in a frozen hot chocolate that's ready to go in 10 minutes. Just add in your ingredients (via this delicious recipe by Deb of Smitten Kitchen) and let the machine do the work. This is much easier then freezing ingredients ahead of time and throwing them in a blender.
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Get the girls together and make large batches of margaritas! Whether you decide to make fresh fruit margaritas from scratch or buy a mix, the consistency is on point after 20 minutes. Any cocktail can easily be turned into a frozen drink—mojitos, coladas, and daiquiris all taste better frozen. (And if you really want to take your alcohol consumption to the next level, try a beergarita.)
Sacrifice calories but not flavor with frozen yogurt. There are hundreds of intriguing recipes out there; this recipe for chocolate chunk cookie dough is just one of many. My foolproof trick is to buy plain Greek yogurt and add in nuts and fruit to make individual flavors. Be your own yogurt mixologist.
Make your own simple syrup with water to create a refreshing slush. A few simple syrups I love include lavender, blueberry, strawberry, lemon, lime, cherry, and orange. Garnish with some fresh herbs or lemon and serve these at your next get together.
Recreate childhood memories of frozen lemonade from the fair. I definitely cut back on the sugar these days, but I loved those sugary drinks as a kid. My ice cream maker allows me to relive those glory days.
Water, lemon juice, and sugar is all you need. Throw in blueberries, mint, rosemary, lavender, and other flavor enhancers.
Creamy gelato made from scratch is always a good idea. From peach to hazelnut, there is a flavor for everyone. Fresh strawberry gelato by chef Dennis is a must-try!
You can turn any flavor pudding into an ice cream. This method provides a creamy kid approved ice cream. Try classic chocolate (like this recipe pictured below by Ann of Nerds and Nonsense), cheesecake, pistachio, or butterscotch.
Creamy or custard-based pie fillings usually require plenty of freezer time. Run your pie filling through the ice cream maker to avoid waiting hours for it to freeze. This hack will guarantee your ingredients are perfectly mixed. For starters, check out this delicious recipe for chocolate ice cream pie from Rachel of Inside the Kaganoff Kitchen.
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Once you've tried these ideas in your ice cream maker, you'll be so glad you bought one. They truly make every day a little sweeter. Just be sure to keep the mixing bowl frozen in your freezer for whenever the mood strikes, and you'll be set.
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