Ice Cream Cone Makers
The best homemade ice cream is worlds better than any store-bought stuff, so how about serving it in homemade cones, too? We tested two ice cream cone makers, by Chef’s Choice ($49.95) and Smart Planet ($29.99), which look and work just like electric waffle irons. We made up a batch of fresh waffle cones in each and compared their flavor, texture, and shape to our favorite supermarket waffle cones by Joy. To use the makers, you spoon batter (a recipe is provided by the manufacturer) into the center of the preheated, nonstick iron. After about a minute, you remove the browned wafer, quickly roll it around the cone-shaped plastic mold (included), and pinch the tip to prevent leaks. The cone hardens within seconds.
Both machines were fast, easy to use, and made crisp, professional-looking cones that had a much better taste and texture than the store-bought cone. The Chef’s Choice, which features a color-control knob, gave more even browning and didn’t require oiling before each use. The Smart Planet, though its pattern was prettier, produced slightly blotchy cones and required a liberal application of cooking spray or oil before each use or the cones stuck. A channel around the edge of the Chef’s Choice captures excess batter, for easier cleanup; the Smart Planet didn’t have one, so batter spilled down its sides, leaving us trying to scrape baked-on batter out of the latch and hinges. It may have a much lower price, but the Smart Planet machine also seems cheaply constructed, so for ease of use and consistent results, we preferred the Chef’s Choice waffle-cone maker. It’s pricey and certainly not an essential kitchen gadget, but if you want fresh, tasty cones, the Chef’s Choice set makes it quick and easy.
The nonslip grip and narrow, straight blade let testers remove the smallest bones with precision and complete comfort. Perfectly balanced with enough flexibility to maneuver around tight joints. The low price was a bonus.
Hefty in weight, this knife was a solid performer when removing poultry bones, and the handle was easy to grip, even when covered in chicken fat. Piercing silver skin was a challenge since the tip wasn’t sharp enough and the long narrow blade produced slightly jagged cuts.
|Recommended with Reservations|
The sharp tip performed well when removing silver skin, but it was too flexible when maneuvering around poultry joints, leaving testers feeling a lack of control. The heavy handle was slightly unbalanced and became slippery once covered in poultry fat.
Designed to replicate a samurai blade, this expensive knife was a disappointment. It struggled to pierce the silver skin, although long cuts were smooth and even. Minimal flexibility and extreme curve got in the way when maneuvering around joints. The smooth handle was hard to grip and slippery.
The large, cumbersome handle reminded testers of an outdoors knife for fishing and hunting. The blade was too wide to maneuver around joints and it struggled to pierce silver skin. Unlike other knives, this boning knife could only slice in one direction, making intricate cuts around joints difficult.
The blade was so flexible it led to erratic cuttings; testers said the knife was hard to control. The blade was not sturdy enough to maneuver around joints and the lightweight handle felt flimsy and unbalanced.
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