Does it Work: Kids’ play yields sweet reward
The kids were extremely happy with the result, and the adults were surprised at how frozen and creamy the ice cream turned out.
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I was fortunate to be able to spend time with my cousins’ daughters one weekend, and after basking in their youthful energy, I thought they would enjoy making ice cream using Yaylabs SoftShell Ice Cream Ball. The girls — Kalie, 13; Leialoha, 11; Anela, 9; and Leila, 5 — were obliging. After all, the outcome was going to be ice cream (I hoped).
How it works: Combine ingredients and pour into a metal cylinder. Secure lid. Fill the opposite end of the ball with ice and ice cream salt, aka rock salt (not the kind used to season food). Tighten lid. Roll or shake ball for 15 minutes, then scrape down ice cream from the sides using a nonmetal utensil. Add more ice and salt. “Play” again for 15 minutes.
Because the instructions say “do not drop, kick, throw, or bounce” the ball, we played several rounds of Hot Potato by vigorously rolling and shoving the ice cream maker to each other. Note: The ball weighed a little over 9 pounds, so while the older girls were having fun pushing the ball with all their might, littler Leila took herself out of the game after it hit her knee.
DOES IT WORK?
The kids were extremely happy with the result (we used heavy whipping cream for the base) and the adults were surprised at how frozen and creamy the ice cream turned out. However, the ice cream scraped from the sides of the metal container was hard; the middle was softer. The instructions say that the longer the ball is agitated, the firmer the ice cream.
We then tried using chocolate almond milk, extending the playing time to 40 minutes. The end product using this nondairy milk was a cross between a popsicle and fudgesicle. Again, the outer parts were hard, while the middle was a little runny. And I did have to run the ball under hot water because the cover froze shut.
A third test using heavy whipping cream but no girls to play with — meaning I rolled the ball with less vigor — produced a liquidy ice cream that we spooned-poured into a container to set up in the freezer.
Simple to use. The instructions include a few recipes and a list of milks and creams with agitation times. Makes nondairy ice cream. Easy to wash. Everyone liked how creamy and rich the first batch was, and it cost less than $6 a quart — the quart of cream was about $5 and the box of salt about $2.50, but I made three batches with the salt and there’s still some left. We already had ice, sugar and vanilla extract. Note: It took almost all of a 7-pound bag of ice for one test.
Water leaked a little so I put the ball in a trash bag before rolling it around on the third test. Ice cream salt isn’t easy to find: I went to Longs Drugs, Target and Don Quijote before finding the salt at Safeway, and only two boxes were left on a bottom shelf. (Regular or kosher salt can be substituted, but more is required.) The ice cream freezes onto the metal cylinder, making it hard to remove. The recipe calls for a quart of base liquid, but after adding all the ingredients about 3/4 cup of mixture doesn’t fit in the cylinder — a waste.
COST AND AVAILABILITY
$46.99 on amazon.com (a pint-size ball is $34.99)
The three older girls said they had fun and really liked the first batch they made. Anela even called it the best ice cream she ever ate. Leialoha was intrigued by the process, watching me from beginning to end. Kalie, the typical teenager, was on her cell phone until it was time to play Hot Potato, which she said was good exercise, and then went back on her phone until the dessert was scooped out and ready to eat. Anela and Leila wanted to help mix and pour in the salt and ice.
I like the idea of making nondairy ice cream and would like to play around with flavors and add-ins, but I don’t have the energy to vigorously roll the ball like the girls did. Cuisinart has an ice cream maker for $44.95 on amazon.com, no manual shaking required. Maybe I’ll try that out.
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