It's Reader Request week, and I'm looking forward to the posts we have scheduled. You asked, we answered. With all the great ideas you guys sent in, I had a tough time choosing just one. But one reader's suggestion sparked my interest the most—DIY versions of famous restaurant recipes! Call me crazy, but the one I settled on is the pleasantly cool and icy cocoa shake known as the Wendy's frosty.
You all have probably figured out by now how much I love recreating recipes. I'm often most inspired by what I eat out, so this assignment was going be a cinch. Only problem was, with so many famed restaurant recipes to pick from, how was I ever going to decide? Thank goodness fate stepped in.
Last weekend I was honored to attend my fiance's family reunion in Dothan, Alabama. Now if you've never been to a Southern family reunion, then you don't know what you're missing. Talk about enough food to feed an army! The patriarchs had been up all night smoking pounds and pounds of pork butts, and the women handled everything else. The sides included baked beans, potato salad, dixie caviar, and so much more; it was truly a sight to behold. Everyone was free to graze the buffet at their leisure, in between uber-competitive rounds of horseshoes and golf (the host built a six-hole course smack in the middle of his corn field, complete with a water hazard.) Man, I love being from the South!
The Alabama heat (and perhaps the booze) kept the crowd hungry, so the sound of ice cream churners cranking up was like music to our ears. Always doing my research, I followed the familiar whirring to the garage, where a few men were at work with an assortment of old-school machines. Scattered around one of the ice cream makers was a pile of discarded ingredients, including a jug of chocolate milk, a carton of cool whip, and a can of sweetened condensed milk. The gentleman, a professional fisherman, informed me he'd been making this recipe on his charters for years. Let's just say I knew it wasn't going to be bad.
Sure enough, the damn stuff tasted just like a Wendy's Frosty. Probably even better, but what do I know. And the bonus? I came away knowing exactly what to write about. I've dressed up the original recipe a little bit, but not too much—I didn't want to take away from what makes it special. As I enjoyed a batch of this ice cream after lunch last week, I couldn't help but go back to that reunion, where it's not about fancy ingredients or intricate recipes. It's about sharing a good meal with great people, all made with love.
Now if only there had been fries...
Homemade Chocolate Frosty
Makes 1 quart
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup (4 ounces) chocolate syrup
1 (7 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whisk together the milk, chocolate syrup, and condensed milk, and refrigerate until chilled, at least one hour. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream and vanilla until soft peaks just begin to form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Pour the chocolate milk mixture into the bowl of the ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers instructions (about 15 - 20 minutes in my Cuisinart). Once the ice cream is thick, turn the maker off, remove the paddle, and fold in the chilled whipped cream until it is completely incorporated.
Serve immediately, or transfer to a covered, freezer-safe container and freeze. (If freezing, let ice cream soften a few minutes before serving; you want it to be the consistency of a milkshake.)
Related: Snack Recipe: Homemade Cracker Jack
(Images: Nealey Dozier)