The Scoop

Size and shape do matter when it comes to ice cream. How else do you explain all the bad ice cream we ate as kids just because it was served in big cylindrical or cube-shaped scoops?

Furthermore, when you’ve perfected your custom Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Blondie Chunk concoction, you don’t want misshapen slabs jammed into a stale, tasteless holder. You want a beautifully rounded boule nestled in a warm, crispy, and chewy homemade cinnamon cone.

Or forgo the cone. A nice alternative to the round scoop is the French quenelle, the elegant handcrafted egg-shaped form found in fine restaurants. The classic technique requires a certain mastery of one or two spoons to shape the quenelle.

What I offer are a great scoop, a wonderful cone maker, and a quenelle-ish alternative.

Zerolon Ice Cream Scoop (Model 1020—2 ounces)
By Zeroll, $22

Never resort to a metal spoon. There are great scoopers out there that make the process effortless, and your end product will look much prettier. The new Zerolon scoop, for instance. Identical to the wonderful Original model, except for its black anodized Teflon coating instead of the classic shiny aluminum finish. Both models contain a sloshy fluid that conducts heat from your hand through the handle to soften ice cream while scooping.

The thick handle provides a comfortable grip, while the sturdy bowl easily rolls ice cream into a beautiful round ball. The scoop releases effortlessly with a touch to a cone or a bowl. It’s both lefty and righty friendly.

The Teflon coating is corrosion resistant, and Zeroll claims the finish will outlast the Original’s—which is no small claim since some of those scoops have been in service for decades.

All Zeroll scoops must be hand washed. The rep said it’s to protect the coating, not because there’s a risk of leakage from the handle. (She added that even if there were, the solution inside is nontoxic.)

WaffleCone Express
By Chef’sChoice, $51.99

The WaffleCone Express makes homemade ice cream cones, working like a standard round waffle maker but producing thinner pastry that can be molded into any shape. This machine is packaged with a simple short-handled cone form around which to shape your hot waffle.

Chef’sChoice also offers good, easy recipes for buttery waffle, delicate wafer, and chocolate cones.

Simply set the Color Control Knob (it’s like a toaster control), and a green light blinks when the machine’s ready. Pour about two tablespoons of batter onto the bottom plate: A trick to waffle making is to pour the batter very slightly above the center to ensure an even spread, because the machines close from back to front. Immediately press the top down to spread the batter completely. After one minute check the color and bake longer as you prefer.

Quickly and carefully remove your hot, thin golden waffle to a clean, dry kitchen towel. Place the cone form across the waffle with the point about a half inch from the edge, so when rolled the bottom of the waffle overlaps and seals the tip. Roll with the towel to protect your hands from the heat. Pinch the tip of the cone lightly to further seal against future melting ice cream drips.

You can also make waffle bowls by draping the hot waffles around overturned bowls.

Oval Squeeze Disher
By Vollrath, $15.75

We’ve called these common household devices ice cream scoops all our lives, but in restaurant supply–speak, they’re known as dishers. The name makes more sense when we realize their widespread use: In cafeterias across America these tools are used to dish up stiff mashed potatoes and savory brown gravy alike.

This disher by Vollrath has an oval bowl, creating not quite a quenelle but a reasonable substitute for those who can’t master the spoons.

It’s heavy-duty, die-cast stainless steel with spring handles that work for both left- and right-handed users. Squeeze the handles to trigger the bowl sweep, which is a thin blade that cleanly scrapes the contents out of the bowl.

The resulting oval scoops wouldn’t survive the withering scrutiny of old-school French chefs, but they add an air of sophistication to all-American Door County tart cherry pie à la mode.

The disher is industrial dishwasher safe.

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