The Scoop on Ice Cream and Frozen Treat Tools
Canadians love ice cream and frozen treats. In fact, we rank #6 in the world for the highest average consumption, almost 5 L per person! And we really don't care about the temperature outside - summer or winter we can't get enough.
Yes, we love enjoying our favourite ice cream or frozen treat at an ice cream shop on the way home from a baseball game or as the perfect finish to a delicious meal at our local restaurant. But let’s face it, we also love to eat ice cream at home. Sure, we want it scooped but Canadians also crave it blended, sandwiched, smoothed, topped, dipped and sprinkled.
Whether you prefer to make your frozen treats from scratch, doctor up store bought to make it your own or proudly serve a delectable locally made gelato having the right tools is like the cherry on top.
Types of Ice Cream
Ice Cream, traditional ice cream, has no less than 10 percent milk fat also referred to as butterfat.
Gelato is made without eggs but has more sugar than ice cream. The milk fat percentage is lower than ice cream and there’s less air whipped into it during the churning process resulting in a thicker product.
Soft serve, made popular by Dairy Queen and now seen at almost all ice cream shops, has the same ingredients as regular ice cream but the soft texture is the result of more air whipped in during the churning process.
Chef Tip: Make soft serve at home using store-bought vanilla (or chocolate) ice cream. Place ice cream into a bowl and use either a spatula, hand mixer or stand mixer to mix until soft. If you want that piped look you get at your local ice cream shop, quickly transfer to a piping bag with a large star tip. Put it back in the freezer for a bit then squeeze some delicious into a cone or bowl.
Frozen yogurt contains less milk fat than ice cream and the yogurt gives it a tart taste.
Sorbet contains little to no dairy. It’s made from sweetened water and frozen fruit.
Sherbet is similar to sorbet but contains dairy and is made from fruit juice, milk or cream, egg whites, and sometimes gelatin.
If you and your family scream for ice cream all the time, these smallwares should be close at hand.
Ice cream scoops or dippers When you are pulling scoops all day, these specially shaped spoons are imperative. Typically made with metal that prevents ice cream from freezing to the scoop, they are available in many sizes for the perfect scoop.
Scoops with a press, also called a disher, can be used for ice cream but are best for those frozen treats with softer consistencies. These scoops have a large round bowl and when you press the handle activate a scraper that neatly removes the ice cream.
A disher is also great for scooping cookies. Chocolate Chip Cookies Ice Cream sandwiches? Yes, please!
Having a container of hot water near by makes scooping easier if the neighbourhood kids think you are running an ice cream truck and lining up for their treat.
Ice cream spades This indispensable tool is perfect for cutting into hard ice cream and popular with many professional shops. Their unique shape allow you to cut into and scoop and form frozen treats. They are also perfect for adding mix-ins.
Digital scales Every ounce or gram costs money in a professional kitchen but accuracy is also key for consistency and keeping customers happy. That's why chefs rely on digital scales. A scale takes the guesswork and "eyeballing it" out of preparing recipes and can help your
Dessert dishes A sundae or banana split just tastes better when served in a classic dessert dish. Don’t forget the sundae spoon (also called an iced tea spoon) so you can get every last drop.
Glass fountainware Kick it old school and serve your signature Cookies and Cream Milkshake in retro looking glassware. Perfect for a Rootbeer Float or a Strawberry Slush.
Knives From prepping ingredients to cutting a perfect slice of your Salted Caramel Truffle Frozen Yogurt Pie knives are a necessity for every kitchen. Having one long enough to cut cleanly through a batch of Five Layer Frozen Chocolate Bars will save a lot of hassle.
Chef Tip: When cutting frozen treats, fill up a pitcher with hot water and carefully put in your knife. The warm blade will give you nice clean cuts. But wipe off the water before cutting with a clean dry cloth so it doesn't drip all over your creation.
Cutting boards No matter what you are cutting, chopping or slicing for your frozen treat menu, save your counters (and knives) with cutting boards.
Spatulas Getting out every last delicious drop of frozen yogurt is imperative when your family is clamouring for more. Spatulas, rubber or silicone, get every little drop of goodness out of containers and dispensers saving you money and reducing waste and keeping your guests happy.
Metal spatulas are great for spreading soft ice cream, sauces and icing if are making an ice cream cake or pie for a special celebration.
Chef tip: Make a simple ice cream cake in minutes. Line the bottom of a springform pan with crushed shortbread cookies. Top with your favourite store bought ice cream (let it soften slightly so it's easy to spread), drizzle with a complimentary sauce and put in the freezer until solid.
Squeeze bottles are great option if you like to have several sauces available to serve over, under and around your frozen treats. Squeeze bottles are available with various nozzle sizes which will regulate the flow/speed that the sauces are dispensed.
Make a batch of your Maple Bourbon Caramel and it will only be a squeeze away.
If you are using fruit sauce, squeeze bottles may not be the best choice as particulates will clog the nozzle.
Whipped cream dispensers are a favourite tool of chefs and pastry chefs nationwide. These units keep your cream cool and ready for use at any time. Pour in fresh whipping cream (or a plant-based option), charge it up with a cylinder of compressed gas and press the nozzle. The compressed gas mixes and aerates the liquid. Your family and friends will be amazed.
Up the game further by infusing your cream first - cardamom orange, lime coconut cream, amaretto or even spiced maple.
Dry Topping Dispensers are a fun addition for your kitchen. Yes, they are perfect for setting up a make your own sundae bar with small sections to offer a variety of toppings, but can also be used as a bar caddy. Or how about an oatmeal power up and your next brunch gathering.
These tools are meant for ice cream aficionados. You know who you are. If you are serious about your ice cream and frozen treats, if you serve the neighbourhood kids on a regular basis or if take your dinner parties and gatherings above and beyond, some of these professional tools might appeal to your inner chef.
Who doesn’t love blended drinks on a hot summer day, especially those with crushed ice or ice cream? A good, solid countertop blender is great for everything from milkshakes, blended coffee and tea beverages or even vegan smoothies.
Using an immersion blender, also called a stick blender, might be all you need depending what you are blending but if ice is part of your blended frozen treat preferences, a countertop blender is the best choice.
Yes, a knife and cutting board can do the same thing, but a food processor saves valuable time and can allow for large batches of ingredients to be processed and stored for those days the temperature skyrockets and everyone is craving a delicious cool-down treat.
The right attachments can make a batch of your homemade ice cream base to grating chocolate and nuts and chopping frozen fruits in seconds. You will run out of prep before you run out of tasks a good food processor can help with.
Some processor can even blend and puree similar to a blender, but be cautious of using ice.
Homemade ice cream or sorbet is hard to beat. All ice cream machines work by transferring heat away from the ice cream mix and freezing it in the process. The transferred heat is removed from the machine by either water or air.
There are many units available designed for home use, but you can step up your scooping game with a professional unit. Typically able to make a batch in as little as 30 minutes in much larger quantities without the need to pre-freeze your recipe nor the bowl. It's maybe a little to easy to spark up a batch whenever you have a craving.
Fitted with mixing paddles that scrape and stir for you and incorporate air for the best texture, some units also have clear lid with a mix-in section so you can keep an eye on your creation and add those extras like nuts, pieces of fruit or chopped cookies and chocolate bars.
Whether you are serving frozen yogurt, house-made gelato or ice cream from a local creamery, you should consider a waffle cone maker. One of the most popular types of ice cream cones with an unparalleled flavour and texture. A commercial waffle cone maker allows you to only make the amount of cones you need to keep them fresh.
Waffle cones are very thin waffles molded into a cone shape. The machines work just like an everyday waffle maker. Once the waffle is cooked, you simply roll into shape and allow to cool. But you can mold them into any shape you want - drape over a small square bowl or a tall glass for a dramatic presentation.
Another note about waffle makers, if you have one you use for making regular or Belgian waffles, why not make Waffle Ice Cream Sandwiches? You're welcome!
Elevate your ice cream sandwiches with the newest addition to restaurant dessert menus - a gelato panini. A specialized panini maker that you can turn ice cream, gelato, soft serve, or frozen yogurt into a frozen delight sealed in a toasted bun!
Caramelized Lime Banana with Candied Ginger Vanilla Ice Cream in a Brioche Bun anyone?
You can never go wrong serving ice cream and frozen treats to your family and friends. So start scooping and bring on the brain freeze!