Ice cream makers: there are none cooler
Nothing's better than home-made ice cream on a warm summer's day, and, unlikethe best BBQs, not even the British weather can spoil this creamy treat.
If you fancy yourself as the next Ben or Jerry, we've got the top tech for you, with ice cream makers starting at £30 and ranging up to nearly £1,000 if you really fancy yourself as a Mr Whippy.
Ice cream makers are listed roughly in the order of how much we love them, apart from the very first one, which is there because it's so utterly ridiculous. Read on, brain freezers…
Witt Mycook Touch - coming soon
Clearly, you would have to like ice cream a LOT to buy this, but hey - go big or go home, we say.
Somewhere between an ice cream maker and a Star Trek replicator, the Mycook Touch turns you into a ice cream masterchef with absolutely minimal effort, other than having to shell out a grand for it.
Simply choose your desired ice cream flavour combo on the app, as shown, chuck the ingredients into Mycook's steel maw - there's a built-in scale, so if you're 'accidentally' over generous with the chocolate chips it'll digitally slap your wrist -and it'll thoroughly mix and freeze them, then blend the results into a fine gelato.
The Mycook can also create sorbets from scratch within 20 mins, so it's an easy win if you're short on dinner party prep time and/or freezer space.
Add in the fact it can do hot foods too, and you have something that's verging on a bargain, for the lazy but highly connected professional.
T3 rating ??
£1,000 | Coming soon
Sage Smart Scoop by Heston Blumenthal
Clad in stylish stainless steel, this weighty worktop-gobbling monster not only looks the business, it produces a whole variety of frozen desserts with zero fuss.
Most other ice cream makers require regular checking to see whether the dessert has reached the desired consistency. Not this one. Simply hit the pre-cool button (it has its own built-in refrigerator) and wait ten minutes while the bowl reaches optimum operating temperature. Now select the type of dessert and firmness you require (there are 12 different settings), load in the premixed ingredients and hit the auto button. That's it.
The Smart Scoop automatically senses the firmness of the mixture and stops the process when ready. It also sounds an alarm midway when it's time to add extra ingredients like marshmallows, nuts and chocolate chips. At the end of the whole process it plays an ice cream van tune and, if pre selected, will go on keeping the contents chilled for up to three hours.
We followed one of the instruction manual's own recipes and the Sage whipped up a firm but silky double chocolate rocky road in about 35 minutes flat.
It's not cheap - you could buy 87 large pots of Häagen Dazs for the same dosh - but if you're a serious ice cream fiend, this is clearly the model to go for.
T3 Rating 4/5
Andrew James Ice Cream Maker
At a shade under £30, this ice cream maker is excellent value. It's 1.45-litre pre-freeze bowl will easily provide enough soft serve for an eight-place banquet, yet the whole thing is small enough to leave on the worktop or tuck away in a kitchen cupboard. It comes with two bowls too, which means you can make two varieties of frozen dessert at once.
Yes, it's kind of dull looking but frankly, an ice cream maker at this price seems a no-brainer; after just seven sessions it'll have paid for itself, and then when the one sunny week of the year has ended, you can hide it away in the 'special cupboard'. Top buy.
T3 Rating 4/5
Lakeland Digital Ice Cream Maker 1.5L
Very similar to, and even cheaper than, the Andrew James, this is another budget winner for those who are realistic about how much ice cream they're likely to want to make in their lifetimes.
The Lakeland mafia know a thing or two about kitchen tools, and this economical number has had rave reviews all round. As with most cheapo ice cream wranglers, you'll need to pre-freeze the bowl, but apart from that it's smooth sailing all the way.
Set the timer, bung in the ingredients, and about half an hour of precision churning later you'll have 1.5 litres of silky smooth cold treats to consume. That's about three pints, or just enough for one five-year-old.
For basic ice cream and sorbet churning you could do a lot worse than this cheap-and-cheerful edition from Kenwood. Like most budget ice cream whippers, its 1.1-litre bowl requires freezing for 24 hours before use.
Once cooled, clip on the top which houses the motor and stirring paddle, switch it on and pour in the ingredients. We tried the instruction manual's refreshing frozen raspberry yogurt recipe and haven't stopped stuffing our faces with it since.
Granted, it's a bit messy removing the contents for further freezing but that's the case with all of these models. We reckon each batch is about enough to serve between 4 and 6 people. Cool choice.
T3 Rating 4/5
£30 | Buy Kenwood IM200
Magimix Gelato Chef
The Gelato Chef comes with a built-in freezer so there's no need to pre-freeze the bowl for hours before using. This large but not ungainly appliance will prepare up to 1.5 litres of the soft stuff, 'soft' being the operative word since the finished product might not be quite as firm as you'd expect.
The answer? Scoop the contents into a Tupperware box and pop it into the freezer for a few hours to harden.
We followed one of the manual's poorly-written recipes and produced a very decent vanilla though it did take over an hour to complete the process.
Unlike other automatic machines, the paddle motor here is incorporated into the lid so should you lift the lid mid-way through the process, it disengages the paddle which is almost impossible to re-engage without removing it and getting ice cream all over the hands.
Perhaps that explains the relatively large access hole for adding extra items during the mixing process. The Gelato Chef makes a great soft serve but it's not quite up to the level of the all-conquering Sage Smart Scoop.
T3 Rating 3/5
£255 | BuyMagimix Gelato Chef
KitchenAid Ice Cream Attachment
If you already own a KitchenAid Artisan mixer (both Classic and Pro models) then this handy bowl attachment is all you need for a multitude of frozen desserts.
However, there is a bit of advanced preparation involved: the liquid-filled 1.9-litre bowl requires pre-freezing for 15 hours and the mixture itself needs an 8-hour pre chill.
We can't say we're too enamoured of the Heath Robinson-esquepaddle attachment method , either. Nevertheless, this handy bowl attachment produced a mighty fine custard-based French vanilla without too much hassle.
T3 Rating 3/5
YayLabs Ice Cream Maker
Not the first ball-shaped icecream maker, but one of the best, the Yaylabs Ice Cream Maker turns making ice cream into a fun activity for kids, and indeed adults.
Simply add your flavours and creamy base to one end, ice and salt to the other (don't confuse the two, obviously), then roll your ball around vigorously for 20 to 30 minutes to make nearly a litre of your iced snack.
It may sound like hard labour in the baking heat, but the makers assure us it's fun for all the family. It'll also keep the kids quiet twice, which is impressive VFM.
T3 rating 3/5
Gourmet Gadgetry Vintage Tea Party Ice Cream cone maker
Of course, it's all very well creating huge vats of ice cream, but we all know perfectly well that proper ice cream comes in a cone, not a pot. Thankfully, you can now seriously raise your home gelateria game and construct your own cones using this ingenious device, which is essentially a thin waffle maker.
You pour in your batter, wait around 4 mins and then roll a perfect cone with the included cone shaping device. What could be easier?