There are two basic types of ice cream makers - the frozen canister and the one that uses ice and rock salt.
The frozen canister type (like we are currently using) has a thick bowl that sits on a motor which you remove and freeze. The bowl is filled with a gel that freezes and thaws as it makes the ice cream. There are some great advantages to this type of ice cream maker. It is often cheaper than it's counterpart, it's quiet and you can use it to make a variety of frozen treats from slushies to ice cream. The disadvantages are you have to re-freeze the canister after every use so only 1 recipe at a time and it doesn't make the best ice cream (but I am working on that).
The type that uses rock salt and ice often has a thin canister for the ice cream that sits in a bucket like structure which is all secured by the motor on the top. You pour a mixture of ice and rock salt around the ice cream canister and turn it on. The advantage is it makes nearly perfect ice cream without having to freeze the ice cream before eating. It's rather low tech. The disadvantages are it's more expensive and horribly noisy. The noise kept us from making ice cream as much as we would have.
I am playing with recipes and I have to say with a little experimenting I think you can get a really good ice cream out of the gel canister maker. I'm hoping because that's what we are using. With these, you need a seperate container to store the ice cream. I find that the Ziplock containers with the twist lids are perfect.
Our first ice cream we made was an almond milk - this is really simple and tasty. This version will make more of an ice milk than an ice cream but for those who can't do dairy it's wonderful.
Almond milk ice cream
3 cups vanilla almond milk
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
Mix together in large measuring cup and carefully pour into ice cream maker. Let stir in make for 25-30 minutes (or to manufacturer instructions). Pour into covered container and freeze overnight.
We did make a dairy version last night with some modifications that look promising so I can't wait to share them with you when I have them more perfected.