Recently, I had the chance to work with CSN Stores and review a kitchen product. CSN Stores is an online retailer with over 200 online stores! They have everything you might need for your kitchen, office, backyard, and almost anywhere else you can think of. They have such a variety of products, they are likely to have whatever it is you're looking for. Something I enjoy is that each product has an area for people to submit reviews, so before you purchase you can see what others have to say about it.
The product up for review in my kitchen was the Cuisipro Batter Dispenser. Selling for only $30, it's an affordable addition to your army of kitchen gadgets. And since it can help for anything from pancakes, waffles, crepes, brownies, cake batter, and other liquidy batters, it's not one of those uni-taskers thats going to collect dust until the one day of the year you need it.
I tried it out on two tasks: making "cupcakes," or brownies baked in cupcake liners, and pancakes. How did it fare?
1. Ease of Prep: Disassembling the product to fill it with batter was a breeze. I found that it came open and went back together again very easily. But since it can't stand on its own upside down, it is a little difficult to fill it with one hand while holding it with the other hand. I had to have my fiance put the batter in while I held it. We gave this category: 3 out of 5 stars.
2. Ease of Use: It has three different settings, so you can select the amount of batter that is released with each squeeze of the handle. Instructions say to pull the handle firmly and quickly, which was a trick to get right. I first tried it out on the brownies and definitely did NOT get the speed of handle pulling right. Each brownie came out dramatically different in size:
Next time I tried out the Batter Dispenser, I pulled the handle much more quickly... and what happened? Batter shot-gunned out of the gadget and splattered all over. Guess I pulled a little too hard!:
But, with a little bit of practice, it gets easier to get more consistent in speed and firmness of pulling the trigger. Look at my improvement!!:
For this category, we gave it: 3 out of 5 stars now, & maybe 4 with more practice. So we'll give it 3.5.
3. Practicality: I didn't have any problem with the spout dripping while I was using it. Especially during cupcake making, you go quickly from one cupcake liner to the next, so there isn't much down time for the gadget. However, during pancake making there is wait time between laying down the batter and the pancakes cooking and getting removed from the griddle to make room for more batter. So I did have a problem with what to do with the gadget in between pancakes. I tried laying it down upright - with the spout side down.. and batter leaked everything. I tried laying it on its side, and I found batter all over my counter within a couple of seconds. The only solution I found was to hold the batter dispenser in my hands upside down so the spout it face up. Kind of a nuisance to have to hold it the entire time. The fiance said the dispenser should have a holster or a stand of some sort so the cook doesn't have the hold it for the entire pancake prep time. 2 out of 5 stars.
4. Versatility: The batter dispenser can handle a variety of batters, as long as it is on the liquidy side. Pancakes, waffles, cake batter, brownie batter, blondie batter - are all fair game. What's really great is that it works with mix-ins, too. Those chocolate chips, blueberries, and nuts that you want to put into your goodies will all fit through the spout with no problem. I tried this out to make sure this was true, and the walnuts in my brownies came through the spout with ease. 4 out of 5 stars.
5. Capacity: The batter container can hold up to 2 cups of batter at a time. To make 16 brownie cupcakes, I had to refill only once. I made a small batch of 8 pancakes, and I had to refill the container once. I had the fiance manning the griddle, so he could watch the pancakes while I reloaded. So, for small baking projects it has a good capacity. But for larger batches, it might become a nuisance to have to keep refilling with batter. 3 out of 5 stars.
6. Ease of Cleaning: All of the parts come apart very easily, and there are no annoying little spots for batter to get stuck. It is very easy to rinse clean, and it is even dishwasher friendly. 5 out of 5 stars.
7. Price: The batter dispenser currently has a $30 price tag at CSN stores. It isn't cheap, but it also isn't an outrageous price for a product that can help with a variety of different cooking projects. 3 out of 5 stars.
CONCLUSION: With practice, I think it can really make cupcake making easier. It'll help avoid the drips on the pan between cupcakes, and since you're going from cupcake liner to cupcake liner fairly quickly, you don't have to worry about where to put it in between uses. However, I probably wouldn't take it out for pancakes, unless I had a bunch of people over and I needed to make a good amount of pancakes. For the $30 price tag, I think I'd ask for it for a gift, but probably not by it for myself. Overall, it gets a 3.35 out of 5 stars (the average of its scores in the above categories). If you'd like to purchase this item, visit CSN stores by clicking here.
Has anyone else ever used this product? I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!