Choosing the Best Ice Cream Scoop
Getty ImagesNo one really needs the perfect ice cream scoop; we are all capable of digging the hard-frozen stuff out of the carton with whatever tool is at hand. But you only live once. And think of the children. How empowering it would be if they could make their own ice cream cones while you stretch out in a hammock and read a novel?
THE BEST INEXPENSIVE ICE CREAM SCOOPSNormally, I'm not a huge fan of scoops that have movable (i.e., breakable) parts, but the spring-loaded pop-up release on OXO's Steel ice cream scoop ($10.99 from amazon.com) is ingenious. The scoop, which comes with OXO's usual comfy, grippy handle, makes beautiful spheres for cones, unlike the company's elongated "Beak" or "Points" models.
Fante's #16 ice cream and portioning scoop ($13.99 at Fante's Kitchen Wares Shop) is well made and easy on the hand. When shopping for a scoop, by the way, you'll often see them referred to by number -- that represents scoops per quart. A #16 scoop will yield about 16 scoops per quart.
MORE EXPENSIVE ICE CREAM SCOOPSThe Rösle ice cream scoop (about $22 at amazon.com) has an ultra-thin edge that makes carving out pristine, perfect balls of ice cream so enormously satisfying that you want to eat pretty much everything à la mode. Because the Rösle brand is synonymous with German craftsmanship, however, the words "Made in China" on the scoop do come as a bit of a surprise.
None of the ice cream scoops above make me inclined to give up my Zeroll Original (about $20 amazon.com). The streamlined yet solid 1935 classic -- designed by Sherman Kelly, of Toledo, Ohio -- is made of aluminum and contains a self-defrosting fluid that responds to the warmth of your hand, thus softening the ice cream while you scoop. One advantage -- and it was a big one, back during the Great Depression -- is that the scoop rolls, rather than compresses, ice cream into a ball, so that you get more (and bigger-looking) servings per gallon. There's no lever or other moving part that might break, and it's not necessary to rinse the scoop in hot water between dips. The Zeroll somehow manages to fit every hand -- big or little, left or right -- as it were made for it. And that is why you will find this, the official scoop of the Penn State Creamery (Ice Cream U, in other words), in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art -- as well as in the hand of every self-respecting soda jerk in America.
More on Ice Cream and Desserts
- Read Jane Daniels Lear's advice on choosing the best ice cream maker.
- Get a month's worth of ice cream recipes.
- Browse additional recipes for and with ice cream.
- Go to our Baking and Desserts section for more sweet recipes and tips.
- See the results of Slashfood's taste test to find the best store-bought vanilla ice cream.