One of the key criteria that influences peoples’ ice cream maker purchase, is the size of the machine. It doesn’t make sense buying a 6-quart monster, when the kids have flown the coop, and you are at home with your partner.
There are some REALLY small ice cream makers on the market, as small as half a pint (quarter of a quart). The Hamilton Beach Half Pint soft serve Ice cream maker is one of such. Read on for a full review.
This is a freezer bowl model, but unlike many other ice cream makers, this freezer bowl is a mere 7 inches in diameter, allowing it to fit in a corner in your freezer. The freezer bowl is one of the 4 parts of this gadget. It also comes with a 12.5W motor that fits into the lid from the top and a plastic paddle that is attached to the lid from the bottom.
If you have young children at home, this appliance is one that you can have fun using with them. Its’ small size will let your kids have fun with experimenting with flavours and you only have to keep a minimum level of supervision. The small size also ensures that no matter the size of your freezer, you will have a space to stick the freezer bowl in.
The smaller half pint batches also let you experiment and whip up different flavours.
To use this ice cream maker effectively, you have to ensure that the freezer bowl is well frozen. The manual says freeze at 0 oF for 8 hours, but realistically, I would advise up to 20 hours. This is because the freezer will probably get opened a couple of times, making the temperature surrounding the bowl fluctuate.
Once your Hamilton Beach half pint freezer bowl has been thoroughly chilled in the freezer up to 20 hours, whip together the ingredients you want. Assemble the motor, lid and paddle together. Pour the ice cream base in the freezer bowl and screw the lid on. Flick the switch to turn on the macine and start counting down to enjoying your frozen dessert.
This ice cream maker is fast. It makes dessert in between 8 to 12 minutes. Like the name says, it makes dessert of soft serve consistency. Some people, like me, do not mind this, but if you want your ice cream much harder, stick it in Tupperware container and in the freezer for one hour.
Tips for best use
- Some people advise leaving the bowl in the freezer all the time, but I don’t agree. Doing this causes the cooling liquid to freeze rock solid. On removal for use, the sudden change in temperature will lead to expansion of the bowl and the formation of hairline cracks in the freezer bowl. This can make the cooling liquid in the bowl leak out, rendering the ice cream maker useless.
- Most of ice cream makers require you to use the bowl as soon as it is out of the freezer so that it doesn’t start to defrost and lose its cool. With this one, you actually have to wait for about 10 minutes before using it. This is because it is usually so cold inside the bowl that if you pour in your ice cream mix immediately, it will immediately start to freeze and stick to the sides of the machine. With the small size available, why waste any of the frozen treat?
- Do not fill the machine over half an inch below the inner rim of the bowl. This gives the mix space to fluff out. It also lengthens the span of the motors’ life, as it doesn’t have to struggle to churn the dessert.
Folks, I know the lure of the ice cream is great, but please do not eat your dessert out of the bowl. This is due to the fact that the bowl is made of aluminum, and will definitely scratch when you try to scoop out with a metal spoon.
Cleaning up the Hamilton Beach is easy. You just have to be mindful of one thing in particular. The freezer bowl with this machine is delicate and should be washed separately AFTER the temperature has stabilized. When you scoop out all your ice cream, fill the freezer bowl with room temperature water and let it stand. Separate the paddle from the lid. Separate the motor from the rest of the lid. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the motor. Wash the paddle and lid in the kitchen sink. After about 10minutes, wash the freezer bowl by hand. Dry them all and you are ready for the next batch.
Whilst this may seem like a ton of work, it is to prevent the freezer bowl cracking and spilling the cooling gel inside, thus making it useless. Doing it this way, allows the bowl to evenly cool down to a temperature where you can wash it. If you pour hot water into the freezer bowl immediately after scraping out your frozen dessert, the sudden change in temperature will cause the bowl to crack.
At 9″ by 7.2″ by 7”, this kitchen gadget will fit most table tops and can even be taken out for a picnic if you can find a power outlet to plug it in. It comes in a range of 5 cool colours, that will match the existing colour scheme of your kitchen.
The Hamilton Beach Half pint ice cream maker is delivered in a tall, cylindrical container that reminds you of a big carton of ice cream. There is a manual and recipe booklet included, but you can always buy a proper ice cream recipe book. I will recommend these two: Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book and also The Best Ice Cream Maker Cookbook Ever
Some people didn’t like this Hamilton Beach Half pint ice cream maker because of the way the bowls ‘suddenly cracked’. I can bet that many of those cracks are not due to shoddy product manufacture. Mishandling during shipping is a major cause of product destruction in transit. I can also bet that many of the cracks occurred due to people plunking the bowl straight into a sink filled with warm to hot water, after use. The sudden difference in temperatures will cause structural stress on the bowl. The bowl will start to expand too rapidly and will lead to cracks. Sometimes the cracks are so small, you may not notice till the next time you want to use it.
With some care and patience, you can get good use out of this machine. I personally do not like having to wait on a freezer bowl before I can enjoy my ice cream, but if you want to buy the Hamilton Beach Half Pint Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker, it is available here on Amazon, with free shipping.
Thanks for reading.