The Rise of Shaved Ice
Shaved ice is all the rage right now, and a quick search on Yelp will bring up over 2,000 results for Los Angeles alone, many touting traditional flavors such as tropical punch and watermelon, while others go the more adventurous route with taro, bean, and condensed milk combinations. This whimsical treat, once an afterthought on the menus of ice cream trucks and beachside vendors, is getting a stylish revamp, making it trendy and hip again to gaggle-foodies looking to try new things.
With the mercury still scheduled to hover close to 100 degrees despite the commencement of September, I feel it is my civic duty to tell you how to make your own shaved ice at home. That's where the Electric Shaved Ice Machine by Hawaiian Shaved Ice comes in. This wonderful little appliance lets you bring this summer staple into your regular frozen-treat repertoire.
Sleek in its design, the Hawaiian Shaved Ice Machine dismantles easily for cleaning and storing away in the colder months. But let’s not think about putting this away just yet. Not when there is so much fun to be had with it while the weather is still warm and the sun casts long lingering shadows on the hot pavement.
With a 55W motor, this little machine powerfully shaves ice into a fine powdery consistency in seconds. To operate, one simply fills the ice chamber to the brim, pops on the top, and pushes down on the button. Then magic happens: the ice is pushed down in a circular motion against a sharp blade, resulting in a delicious blank icy canvas, soft like freshly fallen snow, ready to be drenched with syrup or added to a variety of desserts.
This machine is so easy to use, my 3 year old can do it!
Included in the box are two 8 oz molds which you fill, freeze, then feed into the machine, and a rubber mat to prevent your bowl or cup from slipping. To be honest, the molds and the mat are not needed, as regular refrigerator ice works quite well, and I feel these cheap little parts are added by the manufacturer to look like you're getting more.
The best feature of the Hawaiian Shaved Ice Machine, and perhaps what sets it apart from many of its kind, is that it shaves regular ice straight from the freezer, so you're not sweatily screwed if you forget to fill and freeze the molds the night before. The blade comes out easily for sharpening or replacing. In addition to this, another positive in the design is that it is quite sturdy – even when packed with odd-sized ice, thrown willy-nilly into the ice chamber, there is little to no shaking from the rest of the machine, rendering the non-slip mat unnecessary.
Like many labor-saver kitchen items such as blenders and mixers, this machine can be a little loud. However, considering that its sole purpose is to crush frozen rocks, I doubt that is a problem that will be fixed any time soon. What it lacks in quiet it makes up for in speed – one 8 oz block of ice or 1 cup of regular cylindrical freezer ice shaves down in about 30 seconds flat!
But I hear what you are saying: This shaved ice machine only does one thing. I understand your concern. Home cooks, especially those living in tiny urban abodes, probably don't think they need a uni-tasker appliance that will take up precious real estate on their counter. Sure you can crush your ice using a blender, or even filling a clean pillow case and attack it with a hammer. But a blender (or the pillow-case method) will never achieve the delicate, melt-in-your-mouth texture that an electric ice shaver will give you. And it’s all about the texture. Ice that is too big will not hold any flavorings and feel crunchy in your mouth, making you have to chew the buggers before swallowing. A shaved ice treat should melt in your mouth with little effort or chewing, and cool you from the inside out.
Some Tips for Using the Electric Shaved Ice Machine by Hawaiian Shaved Ice
1. For best results, leave the ice out to sweat slightly prior to shaving -- 1 minute on the counter should do it. This guarantees that your shaved ice is fluffy and shaves a lot faster and easier.
2. The last ½ inch of ice does not get shaved due to the motor not being able to reach down as deep. Once done, remove the remaining ice nubs out or set a bowl to catch the melted ice while you're enjoying your frozen treat.
3. Don’t bother ordering the extra molds from the manufacturer. Cheap dollar-store storage containers work just as well here.
4. Go crazy with the flavors and textures. Add chopped fruit, marshmallow fluff, tapioca pearls, or your favorite liquor for your refreshing summer treat.
If you’re looking for a departure from cloyingly sweet and heavy ice creams, this little machine has your name all over it.
Simple Recipe for Easy Snow Cone Syrup
Just to get you started on the road to refreshment, here is a simple recipe for making your own shaved ice syrup at home. Purchased snow cone syrup is just fine, but save yourself a few bucks by making it at home for pennies!
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 package of your favorite drink mix (Crystal Light and Kool Aid are favorites at our house)
In a small saucepan combine the sugar, water, and powdered drink mix and bring to a boil. Whisk or stir to dissolve the sugar and make sure the powder is incorporated.
Boil for two minutes. The syrup will be slightly thick.
Allow to cool before using.
Shown here: Rainbow Shaved Ice using Kool Aid syrups in tropical, cherry, and pineapple.
Stay tuned for more recipes to go with the Hawaiian Shaved Ice Machine.
Would you like to have your product reviewed by one of PJ Lifestyle's contributors? Contact the editor at DaveSwindlePJM@gmail.com.