Hi folks. Hope you are gearing up for the holidays. Today I want to talk about selecting unique gifts for people. Personally, I like to give gifts based on the recipients’ personal interests and hobbies.
The problem starts when you have to figure out what to give someone who has everything. What do you get for a certified foodie? Someone who not only loves to eat, but is always on the lookout for new and challenging recipes to prepare?
Real foodies have superb culinary skills and are also always on the lookout for gadgets and tech to make cooking easier and more fun. From convection ovens to good old stainless steel pot sets, they are ready to take on any cooking challenge. There is no separating a foodie from their favorite gadgets, no matter how bad other people think they are.
An argument I had with a fellow foodie, gave me an idea for this post. I like to think of myself as a kind of ‘purist’. I believe most things; be it clothes or gadgets are generally made to fit one purpose. Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are gadgets with multiple uses, but I always have this nagging feeling that a tool works best when it is used solely for what it is made for.
So, back to the argument, my friend was raving about the KitchenAid ice cream maker and I had to bring up my puritan view on it. Sure, KitchenAid makes totes awesome kitchen tools like stand mixers, blenders even compactors, but I hadn’t really tried their ice cream maker attachment for their stand mixers, but I knew it wasn’t going to be my cup of tea.
The purist in my says ‘Yuck. It cant be done. Get a ‘real’ standalone ice cream maker’. To illustrate my point, lets compare a proper ice cream maker that is in the same category as this ‘hybrid’ kitchen tool. I’ll make it easy. We’ll go with the Cuisinart ICE 21.
This stainless steel workhorse comes in 11 different colors to match any decor. The 120W motor is capable of easily producing 2 quarts of dessert on demand in about 20 minutes. It is a very popular model that was developed from the also-popular ICE 20 model.
Now, some people may not like it for the noise level it produces or the fact that you have to freeze the bowl for up to 24 hours before use. I agree that those points can be annoying, but one thing you absolutely cannot fault is the price point. For less than 60 bucks, you can get a machine that will consistently deliver 2 quarts of whatever, I repeat WHATEVER frozen concoction you can dream up. Personally, I cant argue with that.
That being said, many of you already have a stand mixer. From whipping batter for cakes to rolling pasta to grinding food, stand mixers are a kitchen staple these days. The leading brand in the kitchen stand mixer space is KitchenAid. Boy, they really got that name right. Their gadgets really aid in the kitchen (geddit? LOL), and even at the prices they retail for, people do not blink when shelling out for these. I guess people equate price and a good brand with excellent products. And they are quite right.
Back to my comparison, the KitchenAid stand mixer has an attachment bowl you can buy, that helps to churn, fold and whip any ice cream base into a delightful dessert. It works with either tilt or bowl-lift mixers.
The idea behind this attachment is great, I guess KitchenAid is trying to make their gadgets even more awesome by having multiple uses. While that is fab, (Thank you, KitchenAid!), the question here is that can an attachment to a device make ice cream as good as a machine solely created for ice cream? Lets find out.
To make it easier on your pretty eyes, I set up a quick comparison table so it is easier to see what factors matter to you and what each device ranks:
|FEATURE||CUISINART ICE-21||KITCHENAID ICE CREAM MAKER ATTACHMENT|
|TYPE OF ICE CREAM MAKER||Freezer bowl model||Attachment is freezer bowl model|
|EASE OF USE||Easy to use||Easy to use|
|EASE OF CLEANING||Easy to clean||Easy to clean|
|CAPACITY (Quarts)||Up to 2 quarts||Up to 1.5 quarts|
|SIZE||10.8 x 10.8 x 15.8 inches||10.9 x 10.3 x 10.3 inches|
|MULTIPLE COLURS AVAILABLE?||Up to 11 different colors||The stand mixer has up to 25 different colors|
|PREPARATION TIME||20 minutes||25 minutes|
|MOTOR STRENGTH (Watts)||120 W||325 W|
|TASTE TEST||Light and airy ice cream produced||Denser and silky ice cream produced|
How does the Kitchen Aid attachment fare in my tests?
Whilst they both score similar ratings for many important factors, the KitchenAid starts to differ when it gets to price. Sure it is part of an existing piece of kit i.e. the stand mixer (which isn’t cheap), and KitchenAid themselves have gone to great lengths to make the gadgets available in an astonishing range of colors, but it is still basically a freezer bowl ice cream maker.
Now for the most important part; how does the darn ice cream taste? Well folks, I will admit it, the stand mixer does a fine job at replicating the churning movement of a standard ice cream maker. The 325 watt motor and up to 10 different speeds will whip any consistency of ice cream mix into a lovely dessert.
The KitchenAid also has a unique mixing motion where the beater spins in one direction, and the shaft spins in the opposite direction, generating a proper whirl in the bowl for your mix. this allows the paddle to touch up to 60 different points in the bowl. This creates a much better whipping effect.
A few things that tick people off though is the fact that the head of the mixer gets in the way when you are trying to pour in your ice cream base. One particularly irking problem is that the paddle on this device doesn’t perfectly fit with the machine itself. It is a design element that bear a little thinking. With the beast of a motor attached to this, why would KitchenAid use a plastic bit to join the accessory to the beater?
As the ice cream gets thicker, you find yourself wondering just when it would shear off. That’s so uncool. For a machine of this pedigree and price, I think another, much stronger material should have been used for the dasher attachment.
Regarding the price, the Cuisinart ICE 21 is cheaper than the KitchenAid attachment. That wraps it up for me, folks. I mean, why pay more for the same quality of dessert? One argument says that using the KitchenAid ice cream attachment saves you from having 2 large machines (they both weigh over 5 pounds and stand at over 12 inches in height).
True, but that argument disregards the fact that you have to already own a KitchenAid mixer, which isn’t cheap. I just can’t justify the cost of the attachment. Don’t get me wrong, it is a damn fine product and excellent at what it does (making yummy ice cream for me), but if you don’t already have a KitchenAid stand, it doesn’t make much sense to buy this attachment.
If you have the KitchenAid and are short on space, go for the mixer attachment, it will give you a lovely yummy airy dessert every time (remember to stick it in the freezer to ripen). If you have small digs or are on a budget, the Cuisinart is the way forward. It has the same basic features as the KitchenAid attachment and it costs less.
What do you think? Have you had any experiences with either one?