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Sherri Richards, Published June 05 2013

Thursday review: Ice cream maker a lot of work

FARGO – Ever since my 5-year-old daughter saw a TV commercial for Ice Cream Magic, she’s been like a walking infomercial.

“You shake it to make it!” she recites excitedly, trying to convince me we need one.

And when I brought one home to test the personal ice cream maker, she quickly ran through the checklist of ingredients from memory: “ice, salt, cream and your favorite flavor.”

That was all we needed to make soft-serve ice cream, along with some vigorous shaking.

Ice Cream Magic, for ages 4 and up, isn’t really magic, just an old idea in new packaging. But the packaging – it looks like an ice cream cone with a handle – is cute, compact and seemingly durable. I paid about $10 for it at Wal-Mart.

Crushed ice, 4 tablespoons of water and 4 tablespoons of salt go into the cone-shaped ice chamber. A plastic lid presses on to the metal freezing bowl. The scoop-shaped cover lid is more for decoration than anything.

I thought we’d need to freeze the freezing bowl before making the ice cream, but it was ready to go.

The directions do suggest mixing the ingredients (¼ cup cream, ½ tablespoon sugar, ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon strawberry syrup for our first batch) in a separate bowl before pouring into the freezing bowl.

I then handed the container to my daughter, putting her excessive energy to good use.

“This is fun,” Eve shrieked as she bounced around the kitchen, burning more calories than she’d consume. “Shake it up, shake it down, shake it all around.”

And after three minutes, we had ... soup. Cold, creamy soup.

The directions said to shake for an additional minute or so if the consistency was not to our liking. So I took my turn at it, working out my triceps while I was at it.

After about five more minutes of shaking, we did make ice cream with a soft texture typical of homemade ice cream.

The amount, however, was not anticipated. The freezing bowl held about five large spoonfuls.

“I expected more,” Eve said disappointedly. She was convinced there should be ice cream underneath the freezing bowl.

Still, it was tasty, as was the batch of vanilla we shook up next. That took slightly less time. I had put the whipping cream in the freezer for a few minutes beforehand, as using very cold ingredients is recommended.

The directions included several recipes, though most involve mixing ingredients into a basic flavor like vanilla, chocolate or strawberry. Two call for canned coconut milk instead of cream.

Eve was also disappointed with the directions/recipe pamphlet, convinced this was not the “recipe book” the commercial promised.

She was pleased with the ice cream cone-shaped spoon. She used that and the Ice Cream Magic as a serving dish for some store-bought ice cream after our two batches of homemade weren’t quite enough for her sweet tooth.

Bottom line: Ice Cream Magic is a fun way for kids to make homemade ice cream, but it takes a lot of shaking for a small scoop.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556