I have always wondered why the ice cream from Dairy Queen is so silky smooth and stays firm when other ice creams have long since started to drip down the cone and run all over my hand. Never in a million years would I have guessed it is because there is gelatin added to the rich ice cream base. I was a little skeptical when I found this recipe and even more so when I saw how the mixture had set up after I chilled it, (the thought of jello-like blobs in the ice cream wasn’t appealing), but I love Dairy Queen soft serve vanilla and that was enough to keep me going. The Dairy Queen that still seems to be a part of small town life everywhere is just a few blocks from my house so I can treat myself any time, but it’s so much more fun to make this at home. My grandkids instantly recognized the taste and thought I was a very smart grandma for knowing how to make one of their favorites at home. Now if I could just figure out how to make one of their swirl cones. The only change I made to the Copycat recipe was to add the pulp from one half a vanilla bean to the mixture before it went into the ice cream freezer. I love this ice cream with a bowl of fresh sliced strawberries. As it melts it becomes the most delicious sauce and absorbs along with the berry juices into the cake or biscuits I use in my shortcake.
- 2 envelopes Knox gelatin
- ½ cup cold water
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used ½ vanilla bean and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups whipping cream
- Soak gelatin in cold water
- Heat milk, but do not boil.
- Remove from heat and add gelatin, sugar, vanilla and salt.
- Cool and add cream.
- Chill 5 to 8 hours.
- Pour into a 4 to 6 quart ice cream freezer can.
- Process according to manufacturer's directions.
- Scoop into a container, cover well, and freeze several hours or overnight. Like most ice creams the flavor improves with aging.
Dairy Queen has been a part of my life since my earliest memories. My mother used to often herd her 3 little girls to the nearest ice cream shop for one of our favorite treats way back in the late 40’s when she could put my two younger sisters in a stroller. And it was a favorite after school spot for my friends and me in high school even though there wasn’t any place to be seated inside. The few picnic tables in the parking lot were a more than adequate place to hang out and enjoy our after school snacks.
If you are “of a certain age”. lived in Portland in the 1950’s and ’60’s and wanted a place more upscale and action packed you would have moved on up the street to what has become one of Portland’s most famous landmarks – Yaw’s Top Notch Drive In in the Hollywood District. My high school was 3 blocks away and Yaw’s was where we could find many of our friends after school and on the weekends. Yaw’s was the classic Happy Days era eatery and if you wanted to eat in your car the food was delivered by young women wearing roller skates.
My mouth waters when I read this old menu that we used to agonize over every time we went to Yaw’s. I never had much money so my usual selections were a toasted hamburger bun (.10) with honey (NC) and a cherry coke (.15). That set me back a quarter which, in those days, could actually buy something that was significant. A hamburger (one of the best in town) was .50, give or take a few cents, and if you were really hungry you would splurge on a complete ham dinner for .65. A slice of the best pie you will ever eat – .15! Take notice that you won’t get any service if you order something less than a dime! Hahahaaa…there is something to be said for the old days.
Back to the ice cream… If you enjoy DQ vanilla as much as I do I hope you will try this recipe. Next time I will try to cut back on the calories a little bit and either substitute half-and-half for the cream or just use whole milk for all the liquid. The gelatin should maintain the creamy consistency. I thawed and refroze the ice cream several times while writing this post and no crystals formed at it refroze. Fresh strawberries would be wonderful added to the freezer for the last several minutes of churning. I’m thinking a filling for a chocolate roll or ice cream sandwiches here too. My Waring Mixer and my ice cream freezer are now sitting on my kitchen counter and I feel that summer is officially here. I bought my mixer about 30 years ago in a local restaurant supply house and its been making thick, creamy shakes ever since. My only problem with this recipe is that I can’t leave the ice cream alone.