If you want that carnival-style shaved ice at home, then you should purchase a shaved ice machine for yourself. These machines can work well to produce a sweet treat, but there are a few tips that you should follow to make sure you are making the most out of the device.
Thaw Your Ice
If you use ice straight out of your freezer and place it directly into the shaved ice machine, then you are likely to end up with small and hard bits of ice in your treat. This makes for a chunky, hard, undesirable treat. To get that airy, fluffy ice that is more like snow than a bunch of ground up ice, you need to temper the ice for a bit first. Tempering means letting the ice block thaw for a short period of time before placing it in the shaved ice machine.
The thawing or tempering process will depend on the size of the ice. For the largest ice blocks, like the type used in the more commercial machines, you will need to let the ice sit out for 15 to 20 minutes. If you have a smaller machine made for residential use, then the ice probably only needs to sit out for about 5 to 10 minutes. Basically, you want to see the ice just starting to melt a bit before placing it in the machine.
Once you temper the ice and run the machine, look to see if you are getting the ice consistency that you want. If ice is still a bit too hard, then consider adjusting the blades so they are closer together. This should give you a finer ice consistency.
Pour Syrup Carefully
Many shaved ice machines come with their own syrups, or you can purchase a few at your local grocery store. While the syrup is fairly simple to use, you need to pour carefully or you may create a mess with inconsistent flavoring across your shaved ice. You want to start by making sure that you are using a total of about one-eighth to one-quarter cup of the syrup for each cone.
When your ice is in your cup, press on the side a small amount to create an open channel around the lip. You want to begin pouring your syrup in this channel and move up to the very top of the snow cone. You want to pour evenly across the cone and then let it sit for about 30 to 60 seconds. This allows the syrup to seep to the bottom of the cone.