(2 images after the jump)
The first fruits of her labor were two loaves of delicious homemade bread.
The mixer kneaded the dough easily and powerfully with hardly any noise, and it cooked exactly perfect. It looked so easy, I might even try it one of these days.
The next thing was an apple pie, which went off without a hitch. The processor sliced the apples like a dream — it took mere seconds to do something that previously required nearly half an hour. The crust was homemade as well; and only required a few minutes.
Then homemade biscuits. Twice.
Then homemade strawberry ice cream.
In texture and taste, it wasn’t like the homemade ice cream I’ve always had before. It felt and tasted just like Blue Bell strawberry ice cream. (And calculating the cost of ingredients, actually cost less than Blue Bell, though more than a generic ice cream brand.) One bonus is that the recipe actually made about 0.65 gallons instead of 0.375 that you’ll get at the store for most brands these days.
My wife has already been asked by friends and relatives how this method differs from using a traditional electric or hand-crank ice cream maker. But since she’s never used one of those, she wasn’t sure how to answer. I’ll try.
Those old ice cream makers (you can still get them; they don’t cost much), require bags of ice to cool the inner bucket as you’re mixing. And because the ice freezes back together to create a shell that just slides around, it requires rock salt to force continued melting (which draws heat from the mix). And of course, it doesn’t require long periods of hand-cranking or constant attention.
The ice cream maker attachment is a double-shelled bowl which contains refreezable fluid similar to what you’d find in lunchbox ice packs. Once that bowl is frozen, it takes the place of the ice and rock salt. The stand mixer’s 325-watt motor is quite a bit more powerful than what you’ll get with an electric ice cream maker.
I’ve helped make lots of homemade ice cream in the past; this was easier, and the result tasted better.
(One disadvantage of doing it this way is that you’re limited to just over a half-gallon at one go; some of the ice cream makers on the market can make a gallon or even 1.5 gallons at a time.)
My wife’s happy, and I’m happy.
It should also be noted that I helped a bunch. She defers to me when it comes to attaching mechanical pieces or moving heavy objects (and these appliances are heavy). The instructions are admittedly not that helpful, so I just had to look at the parts and figure out how they attached. Additionally, I saved time by coring the apples, washing attachments as she finished with them, and so on.
Except for the ice cream, these are all things she’s made before, but it used to take a lot of time away from the baby — meaning we’d have to wait for a nap. Now she/we can do this while Rebecca’s awake, because it only requires a few minutes.