There isn’t anything much more exciting than receiving an ice cream machine on your doorstep mid-summer. After the ridiculous heat waves we’ve been having here in Winnipeg, Manitoba, it’s been a sigh of relief to have some ice cream to cool down with.
While I was anxious to share with all of you the wonders of this machine, I had some recipe mishaps that had to be dealt first. Now, come September, it might be a little cooler, but let’s get serious. Who doesn’t eat ice cream year round?
The Breville Smart Scoop ice cream machine is a fully automatic machine that blends frozen desserts into sorbet, frozen yogurt, gelato, or harder ice cream varieties. It is truly the most smart and brilliantly designed ice cream machines out there. It was even voted “Best in Market” by Bon Appétit.
After playing around with the Breville Smart Scoop for a couple weeks, I finally came up with two deliciously tried and true recipes. That came with plenty of fails along the way, of course. My first being the major mistake of putting boiling hot ingredients straight into the machine. Not the best idea – the entire ice cream turned into slush!
Alas, the recipes I came up with are just the perfect texture and taste. But before we get into that, I want to talk a little bit about the machine itself!
The Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Machine
The Breville Smart Scoop is one of the first ice cream makers to automatically sense the hardness of the mixture based on your selection. The first thing I noticed when opening up the box was the design. So sleek and modern. So let’s talk a bit about that first.
The machine itself is housed in a brushed, stainless-steel unit. It features a large, lit LED-display with stainless steel pushbuttons above and dial controls below. The digital readout shows exactly which operating mode is selected, and essentially tells you everything you need to know, right there.
The Smart Scoop comes with a built-in compressor, which can bring the ice cream maker down to a temperature of around -40ºC during the pre-cool function.
The machine itself is about 16 inches wide, 11 inches deep and 11 inches high. So if you have a big enough kitchen, you can keep machine on your table. But if you’re like me (who shares the kitchen with two other people), then you likely want to keep it stored elsewhere.
The plastic in the machine that touches the ice cream (like the paddle, lid and ice cream spatula) are all BPA-free, so you don’t need to worry about any plastic compounds leaching into your food.
The anodized, removable mixing bowl holds up to 1 liter of liquid, but I suggest not filling it up all the way. Instead, leave about 1/2 cup empty (so three and a half cups total). The machine aerates the ingredients, so using four cups of liquid in total might jam the machine or cause over-flow.
The Smart Scoop also comes with all of the necessary accessories like a removable paddle, a cleaning brush for the paddle, as well as a spatula.
You can choose from 12 different settings – whether you want extra soft serve ice cream, or extra firm – the machine does it all. It also does textures in-between like the consistency of frozen yogurt and gelato (consistencies that are hard to reach on their own without the intelligent design of the Smart Scoop).
Another awesome feature of this machine is the 3 hour “keep cool” setting – meaning you can go about your day without worrying when the ice cream machine will stop. This was essential for me, as I often forget how many things I have on the go (I also spend a lot of my time working outside in summer – so I don’t want to constantly have to run inside the house to make sure the machine hasn’t stopped).
The buttons on the ice cream maker include:
– Manual timer button
– Pre-cool mode button
– Keep-cool mode button
– Button to change the temperature gauge from Fahrenheit to Celcius
– Button to change the sounds to alert you when the ice cream is ready
– Start/Pause button
– Power button
The machine also comes with a control knob for the “automatic” setting, so that you can choose the desired hardness of the ice cream. Whether you want soft serve, sorbet, frozen yogurt, gelato, or hard ice cream, the machine will mix in the ideal amount of aeration to suit your preference. Turning the dial hard to the right will give you the hardest ice cream, whereas keeping the dial to the far left will result in more soft-serve style ice cream.
In manual mode, you can set the timer manually for 5-180 minutes for any recipe requiring a specific time frame.
The “pre-cool” function can be used in either manual or automatic mode, and is a great alternative to having to stick your ice cream bowl into the freezer beforehand (which many recipes require you to do). The pre-cool function will chill the machine to about -30ºC in 5-10 minutes.
The “keep-cool” function, as described above, allows you to keep the frozen dessert at the optimal temperature and consistency for up to three hours after the machine has stopped churning. In this mode, the compressor and motor will occasionally switch on to test the consistency while holding.
Another thing I really like about this machine is the different noise options for when the ice cream is done. There are two basic rings at different noise levels, a mute, and then three musical tunes that you would typically hear coming from an ice cream truck. I’m a sucker for little things like that, and so I was pleasantly surprised when Breville pulled that off with their ice cream maker.
Using the machine took a little bit of learning to do in the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes quite easy. Aside from my first mistake of adding in hot ingredients and not pre-chilling the container, the subsequent recipes I made turned out with beautifully textured, creamy, crystal-free ice cream.
My favorite function of the machine is the automatic mode, which lets you choose what hardness of ice cream you want, and the style of ice cream that would be produced as an outcome. If you want gelato-texture, you get gelato-texture. If you want hard ice cream, you get hard ice cream.
The ice cream paddle (or “churning blade” as Breville calls it), does a great job at scraping the edge of the bowl, mixing in the freezing cream as it turns. It leaves very minimal amounts of ice cream along the edges of the bowl, so that everything gets churned evenly.
Another feature I found useful about this machine was an audible and display-visual reminder of when you need to add in your mix-ins (ingredients that get added toward the end-stages of churning). Otherwise, I wouldn’t necessarily know when to add them in. By sending a reminder to the user that now’s the time to add anything extra, Breville takes out the guessing game of when to add additional ingredients.
As this is my first time using an ice cream machine, I don’t really have much complaints. You do need a decent ice cream recipe to start with (such as the one I have formulated below), but aside from that, the rest of it is pretty straight forward. Breville covers pretty much everything you need in an ice cream machine, making it highly sought-after, with plenty of 5-star reviews on Amazon.
Clean-up is incredibly simple with the Smart Scoop, because it has a removable bucket that can be cleaned with soapy water. The ice cream bucket is not dishwasher safe so it must be washed by hand. All the other parts (like the lid, paddle and spatula) can be put in the dishwasher on the top rack. If you want to hand-wash the paddle, it comes with a cleaning brush to insert in the hard-to-wash areas like the inside of the paddle.
Always make sure the ice cream bucket is completely dried before placing it back in the machine.
My Video Review
Take a look at my video review for a comprehensive review of the Breville Smart Scoop ice cream machine.
When I first got the Smart Scoop, I was quite amazed. It looked sleek and relatively easy to use. I messed up on my first ice cream trial, but I also didn’t do enough research to fully understand what I was doing. So here are a few useful tips I’ve learned along the way, and some extra tips you might need in your ice cream-making ventures.
1. Don’t Add Hot Ingredients
The first thing I did wrong was add an extremely hot ice cream base to the ice cream bowl. This meant that the machine took a very long time to cool down and start making actual ice cream. The result? Really slushy ice cream full of ice crystals – not the creamy ice cream you get in store.
Always make sure the liquid you’re adding to the ice cream bowl before churning is chilled in the refrigerator beforehand.
2. Always Pre-Cool Before Using
Whether you’re using the Smart Scoop or another machine, always pre-cool the ice cream bowl before using. Having a pre-cooled Smart Scoop machine (or ice cream bowl, no matter what machine you’re using) is essential for getting an ice cream recipe that really works.
3. Avoid Messy Overflow
This is another mistake I did the first time I used the machine. I added waaaaay too much liquid, and it was a major mess. Use no more than 3 1/2 cups of ice cream base as per the directions for the Smart Scoop ice cream maker.
4. Multiple Batches
The great thing about this machine is that you can make multiple batches back to back. If possible, do your prep work the day before and leave it all in the fridge overnight so it is ready to churn in the morning. Just make sure to dry the ice cream bowl in-between, which brings me to point five.
5. Dry The Ice Cream Bowl
Make sure you completely dry the ice cream bowl of the Smart Scoop, otherwise, if it goes in wet and you’re ready to take out the bowl at the end of the session, it will stick to the insides of the machine and it will take awhile before you can get it out.
6. Want Harder Ice Cream?
If you want much harder ice cream that you can scoop out with an ice cream scoop, make sure you put it into a long pan of sorts (I use a glass-lock container). Put it in the freezer for 30 minutes to a couple hours to get the perfect scoopable ice cream.
The manual of the Smart Scoop also has some really handy tips about ice cream making that I highly suggest you read before using the machine!
More Information: https://www.breville.com/us/en/products/ice-cream/bci600.html
Strawberry Coconut Ice Cream Recipe
– 1 can full fat coconut milk
– 1 can coconut cream
– 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
– 1 tablespoon tapioca flour
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 2 cups frozen, thawed and crushed strawberries
1. Set the Smart Scoop ice cream machine to “pre-cool” before you intend on using it. If you don’t have a Smart Scoop, make sure the ice cream machine bowl is frozen beforehand, at least 24 hours before use. It should be frozen solid before using.
2. Put both cans of coconut milk into a saucepan, setting aside 1/2 cup of coconut milk. The layers might have separated inside the cans, so you can use a spoon to scoop out the thicker coconut layer.
3. Add the cane sugar and salt.
4. Warm the coconut milk, cane sugar, and salt over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar and salt have completely dissolved (about 1-2 minutes).
5. Whisk the tapioca flour into the reserved coconut milk until totally dissolved (about 10 seconds).
6. Gently whisk the tapioca mixture into the warmed coconut milk, and increase the heat to medium. You want to cook this on a gentle simmer until the base has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon – about 6 minutes or so. Do not let this come to a boil – you want to continuously whisk and prevent boiling.
7. Pour this mixture into a bowl and let it sit on the table until it comes to room temperature. Before sticking it in the refrigerator, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface so that the top of the mixture doesn’t form a skin. Keep this in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours, or overnight.
8. If your mixture forms a hard coconut layer on top, I personally advise taking it off and using it for other recipes. You can whip it up and make a coconut “cool whip” to be used on pumpkin pie and such. I find that if I only chill for about 4 hours, this layer doesn’t form as readily as it does overnight. If you take the top layer off after an overnight of chilling, the resulting ice cream will have a lower fat content (which some people might prefer).
9. Pour this mixture into a pre-cooled Smart Scoop machine and if you’re using the automatic method, set it to about medium hardness. Press “start” and let it churn for about 20-30 minutes. It might take longer depending on the temperature differences in the house.
10. When the machine reads “add mix-ins,” you will want to add the crushed strawberries, and then it will churn for a little while longer until ready.
11. Scrape the ice cream into a freezer container and press a piece of parchment or saran wrap across the surface to prevent ice crystals from forming along the top. Seal the container, and freeze for at least 4 hours.
12. Let the ice cream warm up a bit on the counter before serving. Coconut ice cream melts a little quicker than milk-based ice creams, so don’t wait too long! Any left-over ice cream can be stored for up to two months.
Disclaimer: All views and opinions are my own. This particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer. However, the manufacturer did give me the product for testing and review purposes.