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What we bought: Cuisinart’s ice cream maker wasn’t my first choice

It’s not the one I wanted, but it’s getting the job done.

Billy Steele/Engadget

Throughout my childhood and much of my adult life, homemade ice cream was something that happened at least once every summer. Whether it was church gatherings or family cookouts, rarely did a summer go by without sitting around a White Mountain ice cream maker chattering away as it churned a batch of banana or peach. I can also recall a few times having to use a hand-crank model, which took about five people tag-teaming to complete the task.

Unfortunately, White Mountain’s products can be hard to find in-stock these days, so after a few weeks of keeping an eye on Amazon, my wife went with a recommendation from Good Housekeeping for Father’s Day. Cuisinart’s Pure Indulgence 2-quart (ICE-30BCP1) ice cream maker is a compact countertop model that takes up about the same amount of space as a food processor. It has a bowl insert that you stick in the freezer to chill and a plastic dasher churns away your ice cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet while you sit on the couch.

My first attempt at using the ICE-30BCP1 wasn’t great. I went by the included directions which said the bowl could be ready for use in six hours. The guidance was if you took the bowl out of the freezer and didn’t hear any liquid sloshing around, it was ready to use. Well, this wasn’t the case for me, and as I would find, it wasn’t for lots of other people on the internet are using similar ice cream makers either. In reality, the bowl needs to sit in the freezer for 24 hours before use, and now I begin the process on Thursday to make a batch on Saturday or Sunday.

Cuisinart ice cream maker
Cuisinart ice cream maker (Billy Steele/Engadget)

In fairness, Cuisinart explains the freezing process can take up to 22 hours depending on the temperature of your freezer, but mine is a chest unit in the garage not the one attached to my fridge. We were also eager to use it quickly the first time we opened the box. As you might expect, the company recommends you just store the bowl in the freezer so it’s ready to go at all times. I don’t have the space to do this, so the Thursday-to-Saturday timeline has served me well in subsequent batches.

Once I figured out the bowl prep, the ICE-30BCP1 was easy to use. I’ve been working through different recipes, some you have to cook and cool, others you simply mix and freeze. So long as the liquid going in is around 40 degrees when you start, this ice cream maker has no trouble completing the churning process in 25-35 minutes. Of course, the texture is still quite soft, which is a trademark of homemade ice cream to me. If you prefer yours a little firmer, a couple of hours in the freezer typically sets everything nicely. So far, I’ve made House of Nash Eats’ peach, Serious Eats’ fresh pineapple and two batches of the peanut butter cup in Cuisinart’s user manual. They’ve all turned out great.

There’s no denying an appliance like the ICE-30BCP1 is more convenient than what White Mountain offers, but there are niceties I miss. The primary one being all the chats around the ice cream maker while you’re waiting for the thing to do its job. You know the ones: the best place to get homemade ice cream if you’re not making it yourself, which place has the best peach and the time we messed up and got salt in the canister.

Indeed, Cuisinart keeps you from a briney final product since you don’t need rock salt and ice (or to constantly monitor both). And once you get the hang of the whole process, the only problem you’ll have is deciding on your next recipe.