Dairy Queen Blizzard · GF (about 1 quart)
I originally shared this recipe for my column on Serious Eats. If you’d like more details and photos, check out my article, In the Hall of the Dairy Queen.
When it comes to the Blizzard, Oreo is hands down my favorite flavor. But if you have another variety you’d like to see me tackle, tweet me up @thebravetart.
The nature of a Copy Cat recipe is that it takes a lot of subtle factors to re-create a taste we all know and love; if you substitute or deviate from the recipe, it just won’t turn out the same. But because I hate when people tell me what to do without telling me why I’ll explain some of the basic points behind this recipe.
Pint for pint, compared to my Classic Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, this recipe has half the eggs, twice the sugar and double the dairy.
That being the case, using the crappiest milk and cream you can find makes a big difference. I’m shocked to say it, but as I found during my vanilla ice cream Blind Taste Test, real milk and real cream taste too good. Too good for a DQ Blizzard anyway.
The same is true of eggs. If they’re free range and organic, they will contribute a pale yellow color and custardy flavor; yummy, but nothing like DQ Soft Serve. You want the most anemic eggs you can find.
Next: Tahitian vanilla is a must. Madagascar vanilla has too robust, too rich a flavor. Tahitian, on the other hand, has a light and floral note that’s perfect. You can read more about the whys and hows of Tahitian vs Madagascar vanilla in commercial products here
I use Frangelico in the recipe, which might seem really weird, but it really works to mimic whatever strange, artificial flavorings go into DQ Soft Serve. It contributes just enough of a chemically nutty flavor that the end result is spot on Dairy Queen. It also serves a vital role in keeping the soft in soft serve. You don’t have to invest in a huge bottle, just buy one of the tiny single serve shots at a liquor store. It’s worth it, I promise.
Blizzard Base 8 oz whole milk 12 oz cream 1 Tahitian vanilla bean, split and scraped; seeds reserved for another use 1 1/2 ounces egg yolks (from between 2-3 eggs, depending on size) 7 ounces sugar 1/2 tsp kosher salt 1 ounce Frangelico
In a medium pot, bring the milk and cream to a boil together with the vanilla bean. When the mixture begins to simmer, shut off the heat and cover with a lid. Steep for one hour, or as long as 24; if you plan to steep it for longer than 4 hours, stash the pot in the refrigerator.
When your chosen steep time has elapsed, return the dairy mixture to a simmer. Meanwhile whisk the sugar gradually into the yolks in a medium bowl. It’s a lot of sugar, so if you dump it in all at once, it might not fully incorporate. But whisk in a little at a time and you won’t have a problem. Whisk in the salt too.
Once the dairy begins to simmer, fish out the vanilla bean and use a spatula to scrape out all of the heavily flavored cream from inside the pod. That stuff is liquid gold, make sure not to lose a drop. It’s easier to scrape out the vanilla pod while it’s still warm (hence bringing the mix to a simmer) because when cold, the vanilla-goo congeals and sticks more resolutely to the bean.
Now, whisk some of the hot dairy mixture into the egg yolks, one ladle-full at a time, until the egg mixture is quite warm. Then whisk the egg mixture into the pot of cream and turn the heat to medium or medium low, depending on your comfort level. Stir constantly, making sure to scrape all along the bottom of the pot while to avoid allowing any of the mixture to curdle.
Normally, ice cream recipes entreat you to cook until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, but with this recipe, that will never happen. Just not enough eggs. So use a thermometer and cook until it reaches 140.
Immediately shut off the heat and strain the custard through a sieve and into a large bowl. Stir in the Frangelico.
Cool in an ice bath and refrigerate overnight. Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.