Throwing a ball around outside and enjoying a refreshing ice cream are both signs that summer is here. But what if you could combine them? This is the idea behind the Soft Shell Portable Ice Cream Maker from YayLabs. Using the kinetic energy of rolling, passing or generally playing with a ball to mix ingredients, you can be enjoying your own homemade Mr Whippys within 20 minutes.
The £30/$35 ice cream maker is essentially a hollow ball divided into two chambers, one for putting a combo of cream, sugar and the flavouring of your choice in, and another a mix of ice and rock salt (which reduces the freezing point). The ice chamber actually surrounds the compartment containing the ingredients and chills them. Each chamber is accessible by airtight lids at either end of the ball with handles that double as stands to keep your ball upright, once you’re ready to serve.
The amount of ice and chilled ingredients required make the Soft Shell Portable Ice Cream Maker does make it difficult to use at the beach (unless you have a very good cool box with you), it’s a fun way to make ice cream at a back garden barbecue. Having tried using it a few times, we eventually got the ice cream consistency we wanted, but be prepared to experiment with the amount of ice, ingredients and shaking to get it right.
The ball can also be used to make frozen yoghurt or fruit sorbet, you just have to adjust the amount of time you spend shaking it. Pro tip: if you planning on using light ingredients, such as reduced fat or soy milk, shake it for longer (up to 40 minutes) but much more slowly. If you’re using heavier ingredients, such as double cream, shake it for the normal amount of time, but much more vigorously.
How to use the Soft Shell Portable Ice Cream Maker
01 Freezing at below zero
Rock salt is added to reduce the freezing point of the ice. This stops it melting too early and causes the ingredients to freeze more evenly, and, in turn, offers the classic ice cream texture we know and love.
02 Mix the two parts
When you move the ball around, the ice and salt naturally move in a random motion and mix with your ingredients. It is airtight, so the ice will capture the ingredients and form a clean, sand-free mixture.
03 Stir and shake
You need to stop after ten minutes to stir the mixture to ensure consistency. At this point you roll it for another ten minutes to complete the mixing process which will ultimately create a familiar treat.