The boys have been on an ice cream kick so for Christmas, my youngest received this Ice Cream maker that I found at MindWare.com. It is quite an interesting concept and the yield was just enough to keep everyone happy.

The way it works is that it has a stainless steel tube in the cavity of the ball. You fill this with cream, sugar and flavorings (for us it was simply vanilla for the first try). It has a cap that screws on to seal it all in. On the other side of the ball is another cap that allows you to pack the rest of the ball with ice. You then add a little rock salt (the hardest thing to find in our preparations) and let the melting of the ice freeze the cream.

The next step is to keep it moving for 10-20 minutes. The directions state that if you use a heavier cream you can shake it for less time (we used half and half and it took about 25 minutes of shaking). As the directions state, you can shake it, roll it, toss it – anything to keep it moving.

So with all that said, how did it work? Once we found all the materials and loaded it up, we tightly screwed on the caps and the boys got to work. They shook it for a while, they passed it back and forth, they rolled it on the floor between them. And then my oldest gave the announcement “It’s leaking!”.

Cream was bubbling around the cap on the top of the steel tube. It wasn’t pouring out but was seeping enough that we had to wipe it down and stop the rolling. I am not sure if we overfilled it (we followed the directions) or if we didn’t have it on tight enough (although I think it would have snapped if we cranked on it much harder) but for the rest of the “keep it moving” period, it seeped a little and required constant attention.

With the rolling option out of play, we had to maintain an attentive shake of the ball. This meant the kids would shake it for a few seconds then pass it off to me. I considered it my arm workout for the day (like those shake weights you see on TV) and took to it but it was tiring. Luckily there was football on and with a paper towel in had I was able to sit on the couch and keep it moving, working into a spinning motion as the ice melted enough to move around inside the ball.

The results: we opened it after 20 minutes and although the ice cream seemed firm along the walls of the cylinder, the center was still fairly liquid. We shook longer and eventually determined it was good enough. The center was still mainly liquid and foam but the outsides were very firm, requiring a scrape with a spoon to loosen the treasure.

I found that if we scraped some then mixed it with the soft center, it make for a good consistency. Our total yield using a pint of cream per the directions was about 3 bowls – enough for the boys to get their fill and for me to enjoy some too. It was good and did taste like homemade ice cream so we will do it again, I just hope the leaking can be avoided because the kids rolling it on the floor is a lot easier than the shake weights method.

So an interesting product that we will continue to use. There are various recipes that include other flavors of ice cream, frozen yogurt and other deserts. Again, aside from our leaking it was nearly perfect and with the New Year, I can always use the extra exercise so at least I felt like a burned off some of the treat during the making of it!