I have the Cuisinart 1-1/2-Quart Automatic Ice Cream Makers. It seems to be a really popular machine. Lots of great reviews on Amazon, and can be found at most any store. It is very easy to use. It has a bowl that has some special freezing potion inside it. You keep the bowl in the freezer all the time and pull it out when you are ready to mix up the ice cream. It is open on top so you can peek inside and see how the ice cream is doing. It is big enough to make about 4 - 5 generous servings of ice cream. It takes about 15 - 30 minutes for a batch of ice cream to thicken up. My only complaint is that some of the non-stick coating has scraped off when I scoop the ice cream out of the container. I am sure that the stuff is not good for you to ingest.
I bought Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments and Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book. I first started reading these recipe books and it talked about how much better homemade ice cream was than store bought and I didn't exactly agree with them as my ice cream hadn't turned out that great so far, but then I tried the Lemon Ice Cream recipe in the Perfect Scoop and changed my mind. The Strawberry Sour Cream one is also a favorite of mine. The flavors are really strong. The strawberry ice cream really tastes like strawberries and the lemon ice cream really tastes like lemon. Mmmmm. I prefer the Perfect Scoop over the Ben and Jerry's book.
So far I have made strawberry, plum, mango, lemon, peach, fresh mint, chocolate fresh mint, chocolate, mint chocolate chip, peanut butter and chocolate, mixed fruit, roasted banana, chocolate banana, and chocolate chip ice cream. I am looking forward to making my own ice cream sandwiches, and pumpkin, ginger, and strawberry apple ice cream.
- All ice cream comes out soft serve, even what you buy in the store. Putting it in the freezer before you eat it will harden it up.
- When you harden the ice cream in the freezer many times it comes out icy. I kind of like the icy taste for fruit ice creams, but for chocolate I do not. Recipes that have you make a custard with a minimum of 5 egg yolks makes for the creamiest and least icy ice cream.
- Chilling the mixture in the fridge for at least a few hours, preferably over night, before you churn it, will help make stiffer ice cream.
- Keeping the ice cream in the ice cream maker longer also makes for stiffer and creamier ice cream. I keep it in till the ice cream starts climbing up the paddles and is fluffy not runny.
- Filling the ice cream maker no more than half way allows for more air to be whipped into it and also makes for a creamier, more scoopable, less icy ice cream.
- The Ben & Jerry's ice cream recipe's have you use raw eggs. Catching Salmonella from raw eggs is really quite rare and eating raw eggs doesn't bother me, but it does bother some people. If you don't want raw eggs, you can make a custard first, but raw egg recipes are a lot easier to make. The Perfect Scoop describes how to make a custard very well. I could not taste the difference between using raw eggs, or making a custard when only using two eggs. I have not tried using a 5 egg recipe with raw eggs.
- To chop chocolate or to make chocolate chips you can put a chocolate bar in the freezer and then grate the chocolate with a cheese grater.