Why You Should Buy an Ice Cream Maker

Ice cream is delicious. This is simply a fact of life, like--birds sing, dogs bark, people who live in the Heights think they're superior to everyone else, and ice cream is delicious.

While there are plenty of places around town to acquire delicious ice cream, if you're really hard core, consider acquiring an ice cream maker of your very own. You should also probably buy some bigger pants while you're at it.

There is no way to compare store-bought ice cream to home-churned. The homemade goods have no stabilizers, no weird freezer burn, no artificial flavorings. At home, you can lick the freshly made goodness right off the dasher. (Does that sound dirty? It does, doesn't it?) Plus, when you make your own ice cream, you can control the ingredients and play with flavors -- toss in some liquor, add in more heavy cream, stir chocolate chips into everything!

Contrary to popular belief, ice cream makers aren't even back-breakingly expensive. Cuisinart is our brand of choice; you can find its 2-quart model for less than $75.

The 1 ½ quart version goes for less than $50.

Bonus? Your ice cream maker will pull double-duty as a frozen margarita or daiquiri machine.

Should you have kiddos, or live with someone who acts like a child, we recommend the soccer ball ice cream maker. Fill the bowl with your ice cream ingredients, fill a separate chamber with ice and salt, and kick or roll the thing around for about 20 minutes. We shit you not. It's real, and it really works.

There are plenty of ice cream and sorbet recipes out there. Here's a smattering to get you started:

Vanilla Ice Cream from David Lebovitz

Lebovitz is the ice cream king; his book, The Perfect Scoop, reads like an ice cream aficionado's bible. He also posts ice cream recipes on his website from time to time, along with tips for buying and using an ice cream maker at home. This vanilla ice cream blows Blue Bell right out of the water. Sorry, Brenham cows.

Pistachio Ice Cream from the Gourmet Worrier

Full of actual pistachio flavor, not almond flavor with green food coloring. The addition of rose water is especially nice.

Blackberry Ice Cream from The Pioneer Woman

When Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, posted this recipe last summer, it quickly made the food blog rounds. Happily, blackberry season is back.

Strawberry Sorbet from Use Real Butter

For the lactose intolerant among you, or those for whom the thought of all that cream causes a panic, sorbets are always an option. They're also great when you're feeling lazy and don't want to make a custard.

Bourbon-Cigar Ice Cream from The Dog's Breakfast

Only for the adventurous. Attempt and report back.

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Nishta Mehra