Delicious homemade ice cream doesn’t only require a great recipe and the best ice cream maker. Other appliances or tools for preparation, storage and serving are just as essential. With them in your kitchen, you can take your frozen treat from basic to pro! Here’s a rundown of ice cream making tools you can add to your arsenal.
Cream, milk and sweeteners give your frozen dessert the perfect flavour, texture and freezing properties. And you need them measured accurately to make delicious ice cream. So, make sure you have your measuring spoons or cups ready. You’ll be needing a measuring jug, too, for your liquid ingredients. But for consistent results, I suggest using a digital scale.
Blenders and food processors
If you love putting mix-ins to your ice cream mixture, be it fruit or nut, these kitchen appliances will make quick work of your prep task. I especially like their manual or pulse button, so I have full control of how small or big the mix-in pieces should be. These also come in handy when you need to make a large batch of ice cream come summer!
Sieve and strainer
Do you love adding berry purées to your ice cream mixture? Those tiny seeds can get in the way of achieving a perfectly smooth dessert, though. So, make sure you have a sieve in your ice cream kit. The fine mesh should let the juices drip without the inedible parts. You can use a sieve when making coffee ice cream, too. A strainer, on the other hand, has larger mesh holes that should work when straining your custard base. For both ice cream making tools, select those with a hook and easy-grip handle.
The number and size of bowls you need depend on your ice cream recipe. But one thing you should have is a bowl that can hold all your ice cream mixture and fit in your fridge. While ceramic or glass bowls are excellent, I prefer using metal or stainless-steel ones for making ice cream. They’re lightweight, thermo-resistant and versatile! Plus, once in the fridge, they’ll cool your mixture faster, too.
Before your ice cream maker begins churning, you need to have a well-mixed base first. To do that, you need a bit of elbow grease and a wire whisk. A balloon whisk (the bulb-shaped one) with a non-slip grip is ideal for the job. Make sure not to whisk too hard, though, so as not to create lots of bubbles. You can also use a stand or a hand mixer if you want. But whenever I can, I prefer using a regular whisk as it’s easier to use and wash.
These ice cream making tools come in handy when you make your custard ice cream base. They’re perfect for making homemade sauces, too. A 3L non-stick saucepan should be sufficient for most ice cream recipes. It will be great if your pan has a side spout for easier tempering.
Heatproof spoons and thermometer
Silicone spatulas or wooden spoons are the best stirring tools for your sauces and custard. They are heat-resistant and can reach the bottom and sides of your saucepan easily. Also, they’re perfect for doing the spoon test where you run your finger at the back to check custard doneness. But for accuracy (and to avoid eggy ice cream), you can also test your custard with a thermometer.
Ice cream tub or container
A bread tin or airtight freezer-safe container is ideal for storing your churned ice cream. But for easier scooping, long and slender ice cream tubs are better. They’re more space-efficient in the freezer, too. Also, these containers are insulated to preserve ice cream quality longer. If you’re thinking of getting one, look for a tub with a non-slip base so it won’t slide around on your benchtop as you scoop.
Ice cream scoop
Ice cream scoops come in all types and sizes. Some have built-in scrapers to make ice cream easy to dish out. But if you want perfectly round servings, I recommend getting the oval-shaped metal scoops. These have specially shaped edge to scoop out ice cream with ease, while the handle gives you a good grip. The bowl shape also makes ice cream curl naturally into a ball. If you’re using this scoop type, don’t forget to dip it in room temperature water after every scoop. It’ll prevent your ice cream from sticking to the scooper.
Ice cream bowls or dishes
Delicious scoops of ice cream need beautiful serving bowls to match. I especially love how vintage ice cream dishes and parfait glasses make you feel like walking in old-style ice cream parlours! Stoneware dishes and ramekins also come in all sorts of designs and colours. When you do buy ice cream bowls, pick multipurpose ones that are oven, freezer and dishwasher safe.
Waffle cone or bowl maker
But if you’ll ask me, I like serving ice cream in containers that I can also eat! And for these, I use ice cream making tools like a waffle cone maker. Specialised baking trays for making edible ice cream bowls are also available. Here’s a neat trick. If you have a muffin tin at home, turn it upside down then press balls of cookie dough to each cup. Bake them until golden and voila! You now have homemade cookie cups to go with your ice cream.
Ice cream sandwich maker or stacker
For an extra yummy dessert, make ice cream sandwiches! Specially shaped silicone baking moulds should make this easy. Ice cream stackers are also available in the market. All you need is to plunge them to your ice cream container to stamp out perfectly shaped desserts. But for a showstopper, I like using a springform pan to make a grand ice cream cake!
Here’s another way to enjoy your ice cream. Prepare a simple crepe batter, cook it on your crepe pan, fill the crepe with ice cream then serve! Don’t forget to top your dessert with chocolate sauce and sliced fruits. If you have a regular waffle maker at home, you can use that, too, to make ice cream tacos or waffle sandwiches.
With the right ice cream accessory, homemade dessert ideas are limitless. Check out this review of the best ice cream makers, so you can make your favourite frozen treats in minutes!