The Madhouse kids are quite used to helping me in the kitchen so they know how to make all sorts of sweet treats, from cupcakes and jelly to cheesecake and custard. However, when I told them that we'd be making our own ice cream, they were pretty incredulous to begin with ! The ChillFactor Ice Cream Magic Tray allows you to do just that though.
Inside the box, you get a workstation that includes everything you need (although it would have been good to have a few small plastic bowls and spoons included).
The main element - the Ice Cream Magic Tray - needs to be prepared a few hours in advance. (We did ours the day before.) You make a solution of water and salt and use it to fill the tray before placing it in the freezer.
Once it has frozen solid and has frost on the metal part of the tray (which the Madhouse kids already found amazing !), you can start making your ice cream mix. The instructions call for "thick cream" which is a bit ambiguous - does it mean crème fraîche, double cream, whipping cream, marscapone, something American that we don't have in the UK...? I had a look online and discovered that it means double cream or whipping cream. That's all you need, along with any flavours you might want to use - you can add vanilla or peppermint essence, strawberry syrup or a little fruit puree. The Madhouse kids opted for - you'll never guess ! - Vimto squash, to make Vimto flavoured ice cream ! It was very nice actually so maybe there's a marketing idea in there ! We mixed up our flavours in a big bowl before realising that we were supposed to use the enclosed plastic jug.
After mixing the cream and squash (or whatever flavours you are using), you pour it into the frozen tray and use the scraper to move it around on the tray.
The bottom part will freeze and eventually, as you keep scraping it off and replacing it with liquid cream, the whole thing will turn into a ball with the texture of soft scoop ice cream.
The Madhouse kids were absolutely fascinated with the concept and thought it was hilarious that ice cream really was made with ice and cream ! They both wanted to have a go at making their own ice cream - it does take quite a bit of elbow grease though so you'll need an adult to help out when they get tired.
The remaining utensils and compartments in the work station are for crushing nuts and chopping soft fruit to go on your ice cream.
Having followed the instructions, we'd used 250ml of double cream, which was enough to fill the tray three times. This was enough for a fairly big bowlful but as it took a while to make and it was a hot day, the first scoops were pretty much melted by the time the final lot was added. With hindsight, it would be better to put the bowl in the freezer between batches until you're ready to eat.
I did say I could pour the melted bit back into the tray to refreeze it and make firmer ice cream, but the Madhouse kids were too impatient to eat it and didn't mind it being a bit runny !
They thought it tasted fab and have already come up with a list of other flavours that they want to try - we're debating giving it a go with Nutella next and they also mentioned chopping up sweets to add to the mixture. I love the fact that you can create a totally natural ice cream with zero additives or added sugar, making it a healthier option that most store-bought varieties.
I thought it would be a fun gadget that would create about a spoonful of ice cream so I was impressed to see that it made enough to feed three excited kids and that we could have made even more if we'd wanted. You do need to plan ahead but if you keep the ice cream tray in the freezer and replace it after each use, you'll be ready to use it whenever you want. It will definitely be used a lot over the summer and, as you can create ice cream in seconds, you could even pull it out at the end of a meal or during a play date to produce instant fresh ice cream to wow your guests with !
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £19.99
for more information : www.character-online.co.uk
Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.