Just recently purchased a kitchen aid stand mixer (hooray!), would like to begin making ice cream and was wondering whether or not the stand mixer attachment does a good job? Should I just go whole-hog and get a standalone maker?
Yes, it works well and has a relatively large capacity. A tad overpriced, as you can get a comprable stand alone machine for about the same or less (often with an extra bowl), but the power and the large paddle effectively churn as it freezes and gets stiffer.
I have a KA ice cream attachment, and while I love it about 90% of the time, it does not produce an immediately edible ice cream. Every ice cream and sorbet I have made has had to go in the freezer. So, "good job" depends on your expected result. If you want to be able to eat the ice cream you make as soon as possible, you probably want a stand-alone maker.
I think it depends on how you like your ice cream. I have both the attachment and a separate ice cream maker. I thought the attachment was great until I made ice cream with the ice cream maker (which was given to me as a gift). The ice cream from the attachment was very light and airy, it tasted great for sure (it was ice cream!) but it wasn't dense and smooth like Haagen Daas, my ice cream standard bearer. It must be said that the stand alone mixer produce also in not as dense as the Haagen Daas, but it's closer.
The mixer I have is this one:
I have it and love it. Plus it doesn't take the extra space on the counter that a standalone machine does. I store the bowl in the freezer and save a bunch of space plus have it ready for making icecream on a whim. Sometimes I just pour greek yougurt and thawed frozen berries and freeze that with it- yum!
LOVE IT ! Most, if not all, of the "freeze-the-bowl" then churn ice cream makers (which are the more reasonably priced ones) will only turn out "soft-serve" consistency immediately. The ice cream/gelato/sorbet must then be aged (frozen) for a couple of hours to get to a harder consistency. The only ones that will give you that firm, freezer texture are the pricey ones that have refrigeration contained in the unit, and don't need you to freeze the bowl independently.
The plus for the KA is price (50 bucks or so is a steal), size and ease of storage. The only downside I've found is the texture, but with planning ahead (i.e. make your ice cream in the morning, then put in a Tupperware and freeze) that's not an issue, and finding room to stash the bowl *IN* the freezer. ut that's just me, my freezer is out of control...
Frankly, the latter is the only issue that keeps me from using the thing on a regular basis. If I had room, it would live permanently in the freezer, and you're always ready to go. It's a great gadget.
I love my KA attachment, but am learning as I go. With some recipes the ice cream is best just as it is churned, with others a few hours from the freezer later, and with some even longer. It makes good sense to me to have one!