Before I forget, congratulations go to Cheryl F. The (in this case especially!) Lucky Ladybug! She won the Energizer Smart Charger giveaway. More to come soon!
In the interest of full disclosure, I was sent a snow cone maker. I received no compensation, and all opinions expressed are my own.
CSN has over 200 online stores that range from items like cooking to furniture to mailboxes and everything in between. Let's just say that trying to decide on an item to review was a challenge!
I was sent a retro snow cone maker to try out. Given that my only other experience with a snow cone maker was my Snoopy Snow Cone machine (and yes, we do use it), I was excited to have something that would be a little... faster.
I received my snow cone machine quickly, and then Chicago proceeded to make it weather where a snow cone was simply not an option. It's finally warmed up, and I was able to take advantage of my new toy.
Taking it out of the box, I loved seeing the instructions saying that there was no assembly required and that I merely needed to clean it slightly before first use (as I would with any new product that would be touching food).
It was a gorgeous color, and the retro feel was perfect. It's a red metal that doesn't feel cheap - even though this is only $28.95 . Even better? Someone was thinking and put four suction cups on the bottom of it so that it is impossible to slide around as you're preparing your treat. I was definitely pleased with that addition.
It comes with a nifty little plastic cone that is designed to hold the paper cone for the snow cone (how many times can I use the word "cone" in a single sentence?) while the ice is being ground, which I thought was a nifty addition to the machine.
This was where my first problem came in, however. I had nowhere to place the plastic cone. The picture on the box showed a holder attached to the snow cone maker that would support the plastic cone, but mine did not have one. I reread the instructions to make sure I wasn't missing anything, but no luck. My husband tried to figure it out, too, but we were apparently missing a part.
It took me a full day to finally discover that the part was a plastic piece that was tucked underneath the machine and had to be unattached and then - carefully - reattached on the front side. It took me a few tries to get it to stand up, as the support mechanism kept wanting to fall over. In my mind, that should have been in the instructions.
The fact that this was a fairly flimsy piece of plastic that would presumably be part of the display of the machine going forward was mildly disappointing, but I moved past it. We placed the cone into its holder and proceeded to make snow cones.
Well, once we waited for our ice to soften. Apparently any ice that is not clear is too hard to be chopped by the snow cone maker - and I don't frequently see ice coming from a freezer that isn't opaque. My husband tried when the ice had sat out for a few minutes, and sure enough, it jammed the machine. Once we waited long enough for the ice to come to temperature, we were able to grind our ice for the snow cones.
After the first snow cone, we removed the plastic cone and its holder. The ice didn't actually come out of the machine in a nice spray and land in the plastic cone. Instead, it flew outside the cone, as well. Holding a small bowl close to the ice dispenser part worked much better - and our ice was going into a small bowl anyway, so that just saved us a step (and I was able to remove the flimsy plastic part that I didn't like).
I will say that the effort required for this was much less than my Snoopy Snow Cone maker. You simply place the ice in the receptacle, place the lid on and turn the lid to start the motor (good safety that you can't turn on the motor without the lid being latched into place!). It grinds the ice very quickly, and it's a snap to clean up.
The ice did grind larger than I'd hoped it would... more granule-y than what my Snoopy one made, but that's not a big deal. I think I was the only person in my family who noticed it. The wee ones had a blast with their snow cone machine, and we've used it already a few times - and definitely will use it more as the weather continues to warm.
We know now to let the ice sit out while we're eating dinner (two large drinking glasses makes enough ice for 4-6 people) and to not use the fancy snow cone plastic holder. Snoopy has been relegated to decoration and nostalgia now. And to infrequent fun for the wee ones.
Want one of your own or to see what else CSN has to offer? Check out the snow cone machine here and the CSN family of sites here. I know I definitely have a few items that I'm keeping my eye on!