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Top kitchen gadgets for summer

Bring back memories with childhood favorites

Nothing brings back those great feelings from childhood like the smell of a hot funnel cake or a sip of a thick milkshake! Here are our favorite gadgets for the kitchen so you can revel in nostalgia.

Cotton Candy

Cotton candy

Nothing seems to satisfy that sweet tooth quite like a big bite of cotton candy. Equal parts sugar and air, eating that big hunk of cotton candy will make you feel like you're back in that ball park, begging your mom and dad to buy you some candy fluff on a stick. One bite and you might even hear the crack of a bat in the distance. What could be better than bringing back that feeling right in your backyard? Grab a cotton candy maker for your home like the Back to Basics cotton candy maker ($28).

Popcorn maker

Popcorn maker

With summer blockbusters making it to DVD faster and faster, you've been throwing more viewing parties at home. The only thing missing is the movie theater popcorn! Before your next get-together (or before you watch another movie at home), pick up the Waring Pro popcorn maker ($100) . It's small enough to fit on your counter or store in a cabinet, and it really makes movie theater popcorn!

ice cream

Ice cream

A sundae from the ice cream parlor was always the ultimate summer evening treat, and no matter how many toppings you buy or how many brands of ice cream you try, you just can't seem to re-create those chilly delights. The trick is the ice cream: If you prefer soft-serve ice cream you'll love the Cuisinart Mix It In soft serve ice cream maker ($100); if you love hand-dipped ice cream, the Aroma 4-quart traditional ice cream maker ($63) is a must.

Milkshake maker

Milkshake maker

A burger and a shake is the ultimate summer afternoon guilty pleasure, but your blender at home is cumbersome to clean and just doesn't make shakes the way you had them as a kid. So toss in the creamiest ice cream, the best toppings and milk mix, and watch them all come together in the Waring Pro professional drink mixer ($149). For a gadget that takes up so little space on your countertop, you'll be amazed at how thick and creamy your milkshake turns out!

Funnel cake

Funnel cake

The tantalizing, comforting smell of funnel cakes instantly takes you back to those summer nights at the fair. To relieve those magic moments, try this kit from Carnival Funnel Cakes ($25), and you can have a hot, fresh funnel cake right in your own backyard -- now all you need are the sounds of the carnival barker and the glowing lights of the midway in the background!

Snow cone maker

Snow cone maker

There's nothing like cooling off on a hot summer day with a snow cone. The perfect snow cone has ice pieces big enough for you to get a little crunch when you bite, yet fine enough to really hold the flavored syrup so all the flavor doesn't sit at the bottom of the cup. The Nostalgia Electrics Retro Series snow cone machine ($80)  shaves the ice to perfection. And it's so easy to use that you won't mind making one after dinner every night.

Pie maker

Pie maker

A hot pie right out of the oven is always the highlight of the backyard barbecue -- but you always hesitate to make your own at home because after one slice, you're done. Now, with the Breville pie maker ($80), you can make a single-serve pie for yourself. When you have people over, you can quickly pop out four at a time, and even switch up the fillings on each one!

Popsicle maker

Popsicle maker

You used to love making popsicles out of your favorite drinks all summer long. Part of the fun was waiting all day for them to freeze; you'd run to the freezer every 10 minutes until they were finally frozen enough for you to enjoy. As an adult you may have tried to make your own, but that novelty of waiting all afternoon to have your popsicle freeze has worn off. The Zoku Quick Pop Maker ($50) will freeze your popsicle in 10 minutes -- just think how many pops you can enjoy in the time it used to take just one to freeze.

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