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Make Snacks and Treats in Your Own Kitchen

Ice Cream Maker By Hamilton Beach

Courtesy of Hamilton Beach

If you want to make unique flavors of ice cream, try using an ice cream maker to surprise and tantalize your taste buds.

Ice Cream Makers

Ice cream makers can usually be divided into two categories: ones with bowls you have to freeze on your own, and ones with self-contained freezing units. The latter will be more expensive, while the former simply require a bit more planning, as you'll need to freeze the bowl before making your ice cream, and then freeze the mixture.

There are manual ice cream makers that require you to mix the ingredients by hand. There are also electric ice cream makers that allow you to basically add the ingredients and then push a button to create the mixture.

Ice cream makers typically make between 1 and 2 quarts, and range from $50 to $300.


Electric Popcorn Poppers

Courtesy of Presto


Popcorn Poppers

These simple devices use heated air to increase the temperature of corn kernels until they pop, producing popcorn. While many people opt for microwave popcorn, heated air poppers allow you to season and flavor your popcorn as you like it. They also require little to no cooking oil to work, so you can make popcorn that is healthier than microwave popcorn, which is usually packaged with cooking oils and salts.

There are two common shapes of electric popcorn poppers: a unit that looks like a tower, and a unit that is shaped like a dome. The tower-shaped unit requires a bowl to be placed under the spot where the popcorn dispenses, while the dome-shaped units have a lid that keeps the popcorn contained. Most electric poppers cost between $20 and $40.


Panasonic Bread Maker

Courtesy of Panasonic


Bread Makers

These handy items simplify the bread-making process by eliminating the need to create your own dough. Most bread makers allow you to use a pre-made bread mix, and some allow you to add yeast yourself, which gives you control over the rise of the bread. More expensive bread makers will give you more control over what you can add to the dough (such as cranberries or raisins) and the crispiness of the crust. Finally, many bread makers offer three different loaf sizes from which to choose. Expect to pay between $100 and $200 for bread makers.


A waffle maker.
Waffle Makers

Similar to sandwich presses, waffle makers have both top and bottom heating surfaces. This allows for a fast, even cooking process. Waffle makers have a distinct look, as the heating surfaces have a raised grid pattern, allowing the mixture you pour in it to take a waffle shape.

Waffle makers can vary in size. Belgian-style waffle makers are bigger since Belgian waffles are larger and thicker than an average waffle. Other waffle makers might allow you to make triangular-shaped waffles. Some have heating surfaces that are non-stick, making it easier to remove the finished waffle from the waffler. Prices for waffle makers range from $50 to $200.