Last summer I bought a Cuisinart ice cream maker with a gift card I was given. It is fun and easy to use, so I was thrilled when I found an identical ice cream maker in excellent condition at the thrift store for only $7. I snatched it up, and now we sometimes have two running at the same time—one with a dairy ice cream and another with a dairy free version.
Dairy free ice cream can be particularly expensive to buy at the store, but it is so easy to make. I prefer coconut milk ice cream, but I sometimes use almond milk.
I cream makers can also be used to make slushies (I use fruit juice) or Italian ice. One of my favorites is to blend up watermelon chunks, add a little sweetener (I use stevia) and run it in the ice cream maker until thick like Rita’s Italian ice.
The problem I sometimes have with ice cream is that once you stop the machine from turning, the outside layer freezes to the bowl. Unless you thaw it completely, it can be difficult to scrape out without scratching the inside of the bowl.
What I found works well is to use a wooden spoon or bamboo spatula. Metal utensils will scratch the bowl, and silicone spatulas or spoons aren’t strong enough. A wooden utensil seems to do the trick. My bamboo spatula is pretty thin at the end, though, and I did crack it slightly by using too much pressure, so be careful!