The Ice Cream Cone Dilemma
Where I grew up in northern New Jersey, there were two places to go for ice cream: Dairy Queen and Van Dyke’s Ice Cream. Dairy Queen, the local standby was the default choice when we wanted soft serve ice cream after dinner but on weekends or summer afternoons, we would ride our bikes to Van Dyke’s in Ridgewood for rich, creamy, locally made ice cream.
Scooped by hand into impossibly big round balls, the ice cream would be placed on top of a cake or sugar cone. The star of the show was the ice cream – summer cantaloupe, deep chocolate, minty chocolate chip – but the cone was best supporting actor. Within minutes, the ice cream was melting down the sides of the cone and we would be frantically licking the drips to keep the sweet cream from spilling all over our hands. The best bite was the last one: the semi-soft tip at the bottom of the cone – part melted ice cream and part crispy sugar cone and total bliss.
The ice cream cone was invented to enable us to eat ice cream without cups or spoons – a novel idea at the time but through the years cones have become as unique as the ice cream in which they are designed to hold. There are sugar, cake, waffle, wafer, pretzel, and cones coated and covered with chocolate, sprinkles, nuts, and more. Some specialty shops make their own cones (Ben & Jerry’s, Jeni’s, Bruster’s) but supermarkets primarily carry cones made with artificial color, flavor and other additives so enjoying an ice cream cone at home can be challenging. Instead of compromising, I decided to make the cones myself – a surprisingly easy project with the Chef’s Choice Waffle Cone Express.
A small appliance that makes a homemade freshly baked waffle sugar cone in just two minutes, the Chef’s Choice Waffle Cone Express has several important features:
- Green “Ready” and red “Baking” lights to indicate the appliance is ready for use
- A color select dial (1 – 6) to choose the darkness of the cone
- Instant temperature recovery for continuous baking
- A non-stick waffle plate
- An easy-clean overflow channel
- A unique locking latch that guarantees uniform thickness and even baking
- A built-in cord storage compartment lets you conveniently store the cone maker is a space-saving, upright position
- Comes with a cone form to help make rolling uniformly shaped cones easy.
- Includes a recipe book (Gourmet Waffle Cones or Elegant Wafer Cones) and instructions to make the cones.
Chef’s Choice makes two models of the Waffle Cone Express: the 838 ($40-$49, depending on the retailer) and the 838 SE ($60). There are two differences between the machines: the non-stick coating is grey in the 838 and black in the 838 SE; and the top exterior of the 838 machine is flat while the 838 SE is grooved (as illustrated above). Both appliances have the same specs and produce the same cone. That said, the following tips are offered:
- Watch the 1-minute instruction video by Bed, Bath and Beyond: click here.
- Don’t overfill the cone maker (use 1/4 cup of batter per cone).
- After the flat cone is removed, immediately roll the cone using the cone form provided. The cones cool quickly.
- If the cone is not rolled tight enough to close the bottom, pinch and hold the tip of the cone for about 10 seconds while warm to prevent ice cream from dripping out later.
- Purchase the Chef’s Choice Ice Cream Cone Holder to hold the cones in place while cooling and hardening. The cone holder sells for about $20 at www.bedbathandbeyond.com, www.amazon.com, www.6pm.com, www.everythingkitchens.com, and most kitchen and home stores.
- There is a short learning curve to master the machine and rolling the cone. Give yourself some practice time (I rolled a half-dozen before I got the hang of it).
Making homemade waffle cones is simple, quick, and so worth the effort. The aroma is intoxicating, the flavor exceptional, and the texture can be chewy, crunchy, or crispy depending on the recipe. The recipes in the instruction book call for using whole eggs and sugar which produce a chewier waffle cone (egg whites and confectionary sugar make a crispier, crunchy cone). For a rich, buttery crisp waffle cone, I use the following recipe to make 7 cones:
Crisp Waffle Cones
- 3 large egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 3/4 cup of sifted confectionary sugar (sifting is essential)
- 1/2 cup of all-purpose unbleached flour
- 3 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter, slightly cooled or 3 tablespoons Smart Balance oil at room temperature
- Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Add 1/8 of a cup of sifted confectionary sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Using a spatula, fold the rest of the confectionary sugar into the egg whites.
- Blend the salt with the melted cooled butter.
- Add the melted and cooled butter and the flour to the egg white mixture and fold gently until well blended.
- Pre-heat the cone maker and choose the color setting (I use 4.5 which makes a light brown colored cone. Choose 5 – 6 for a darker cone).
- Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the preheated cone maker (there is no need to spray as the surface is non-stick) .
- Close the lid; lock the latch.
- Bake for 90 seconds.
- Quickly remove the flat cone and place onto a clean cloth or white paper towel.
- Place the cone form on the flat cone and roll (see the instruction video or step-by-step directions in the machine manual) keeping the bottom tightly bound in your hands for about 30 seconds. If the cone is rolled tight enough, the bottom does not need to be pinched closed.
- Place the cone in the cone holder (best choice) or a tall narrow glass until cooled and set.
- Fill with your favorite ice cream; add sprinkles, nuts, or the topping of your choice and enjoy.
- To clean unplug the machine. I use a soft toothbrush dampened with water immediately after use. Gently scrub and then wipe off with a paper towel being careful not to burn yourself as the unit is still hot.
To purchase the Chef’s Choice Waffle Cone Express 838 or 838 SE, go to www.amazon.com, bedbathandbeyond.com, www.webstaurantstore.com, or www.6pm.com. Williams-Sonoma (www.williams-sonoma.com) sells the Chef’s Choice Waffle Cone Express and Holder Gift Set for $69, with free shipping using the code “SHIP4FREE.”