Did you know that Dairy Queen is celebrating its 80th anniversary? Yes, the beloved fast-food chain has been serving up its signature soft serve concoctions for the past 80 years and counting! In celebration, it’s offering 80-cent blizzard deals – buy one blizzard at its regular price and get the second one, either of equal or lesser price, at just 80 cents.
Now, that’s a buy one, take one deal that we’re happy to take, even when it means getting more calories for the day! The BOGO deal applies to the 15 flavors.
You may be eating your fill of Dairy Queen’s soft serve-based Blizzard yet you may not know where it comes from. While we may take certain things for granted, it’s a good idea to know where your food came from – and soft serve ice cream is one of them. At the very least, you will know why it’s considered as the queen of ice cream.
It Has Conflicting Origin Stories
Soft serve may be a modern invention but the matter of who actually invented it is up for discussion. In one story, the Carvel brand founder Tom Carvel sold melting ice cream in Hartsdale, New York on Memorial Day weekend in 1934. He did so from his ice cream truck after one of its tires became flat and he had to pull into a parking lot.
Within a couple of days, he sold his entire ice cream supply and concluded that soft frozen desserts are a great business idea. He developed a soft serve formula and super-low temperature ice cream machines for it, and by 1936, he opened his first store serving the soft ice cream.
But in another story, Dairy Queens claims that it’s the inventor of soft serve. In 1938, J. F. and Alex McCullough created their soft serve formula near Moline, Illinois. In August 4, 1936, they sold their soft serve in Sherb Noble’s stores in Kankakee, Illinois and served more than 1,600 servings within two hours.
So, which one’s true? We may not know exactly but we’re thankful that soft serve was invented. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be enjoying the sinful concoctions that Dairy Queen continues to churn out, pun intended.
It’s Full of Air
That’s meant as a figure of speech, of course!
Emphasis must be made that soft serve and ice cream are both frozen dairy desserts and, thus, they share similarities in terms of ingredients. But soft serve, as its name implies, has as softer texture as well as a less dense, less crystal-like mouth-feel. Plus, it melts faster than regular ice cream so it should be eaten – licked, if you will – faster lest it ends up as a sticky puddle in the cup or in your fingers.
Soft serve can be made into regular ice cream, too. The difference lies in the percentage of air in these frozen dairy desserts.
After the ingredients of ice cream are combined, an ice cream machine freezes part of the water and introduces air into the now-frozen mixture. At this point, it’s known as soft serve when it’s pumped out of the machine and poured into a cone or cup. But if it’s placed into a tub and placed in a freezer, then it’s regular ice cream.
Technically speaking, ice cream has 30% to 60% air and it’s necessary for it to have air. Without air, in fact, it can be called an ice cube that can crack your teeth.
But air isn’t the only difference between soft serve and ice cream. In ice cream, the fat globules (the liquid particles of fat) are spread nearly evenly throughout the mixture of ingredients and air bubbles. The even distribution means ice cream has a creamier texture.
But in a soft serve, the higher percentage of air means that there’s less room for dairy fat. You may rejoice in the fact that soft serve has less fat content than ice cream given the same amount, say, a cup. Many ice cream products have between 10% and 18% fat content while soft serve has between 3% and 6%.
But it isn’t license to indulge in cup after cup of Blizzard either – soft serve is still a sugary treat that, when taken together with the toppings, can result in a sugar crash.
There’s also a difference in temperature between ice cream and soft serve. The latter is significantly warmer than the former – soft serve is 21°F while ice cream is at 10°F, more or less.
In a study, consumers are more likely to choose soft serve over ice cream – 7 out of 10 times. We aren’t surprised because soft serve can be enjoyed immediately – no need to wait for the mixture to become soft enough to scoop – and doesn’t cause brain freeze and numb gums. There’s something good to be said about instant gratification!