Perhaps you’ve seen those colorful plastic ice cream balls that purport to double as easy ice cream makers and delightful playthings your children will love.
The box promises you 1 pint of ice cream in 20 fun-filled minutes, no electricity required. It’s perfect for camping trips!
The most popular one is made by a company called YayLabs and can be had for about $25 at stores such as Bed Bath and Beyond.
Such a fun idea. Such a dreamy summertime concept.
Such a pain.
I experimented with the ice cream ball during our quest to find all things needed for a perfect summer, but this item is not one of them.
The ball has two openings, one on either end. One takes the ice cream mixture. The other is for ice and rock salt.
Ice cream ball users are instructed to fill both ends, shake the ball for 10 minutes, add more ice and salt and then shake 10 minutes more.
“This is a perfect time for kids to sings songs, tell jokes, or come up with some fun games while shaking and passing the ball around,” the instructions read.
First problem: That ball is awkward and heavy when filled with ice.
Second problem: My kid lost interest after about one minute, leaving me there to shake, shake, shake, shake, shake until my arms were literally aching.
Third problem: It never froze. The ice cream is supposed to be ready to eat after 20 minutes of shaking (which will be the longest 20 minutes of your life). But it was still completely liquid after 20 minutes. After 30 minutes, the ice cream was frozen around the edges of the cylinder but still liquid in the center. And the frozen stuff on the edges was so frozen, it couldn’t be loosened.
We gave up. The ice cream, er ice soup, tasted good, as do most things consisting of cream and sugar. But it was not ice cream.
Best advice: Skip the ball and buy the electric churner that takes ice and salt. Things get done just as quickly with half the effort and results in the correct texture. Camping? Buy a converter and plug the electric version into the car. Better yet: Just make S’mores.
Buy the ice cream ball if you’re interested in toning your arms and expanding your waistline with a summer full of sweet ice soup.