America's Most Wanted Recipes by Ron Douglas attempts to duplicate the recipes from America's favourite restaurants. In this taste test, participants were required to try one of the recipes from the book and then go the restaurant to try the "real" thing. After doing so, they were asked to blog about their experiences. Sounds like fun, eh?
Once I got the book, I sat down to pick a recipe and restaurant. Despite being from Canada (we don't have all of these restaurants here) I had many to choose from. Should I pick something from Applebees, Olive Garden, Red Lobster or one of the others? Then I saw it: Dairy Queen's Heath Blizzard on page 81. I absolutely love blizzards. The only problem is that we don't have Heath chocolate bars in Canada, at least not here in Manitoba. I knew that the Skor bar is similar and thought about substituting one of those. Then I saw the recipe tip which suggested trying Reese's Peanut Butter Cups instead. OMG! I love those things. I had a plan.
First to DQ. Although I had a Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Blizzard a long time ago, I remembered very little about it. After the first bite, it all came back to me. It was delicious. The only thing I didn't like was that the chocolate pieces were too big. The great thing about chocolate is that it melts in your mouth. However, when the chocolate bits are this big and then freeze, they don't melt all that much. For me, it almost loses its chocolaty goodness. Other than that, I loved it. Creamy, chocolaty (a little), peanut buttery. Yum!
Next the home made version. As much as I love blizzards, there's just no way I could eat two in one day. So I waited a few days to try the recipe at home. It was so easy. A little chopping followed by putting four very easy-to-find ingredients into the blender until it's mixed up and creamy. The books suggests putting the mixture into the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes for a thicker texture. That sounded good, so into the freezer it went.
After a short stint in the freezer my homemade blizzard was ready for tasting. It was great! Creamy vanilla ice cream with all of the flavours of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. It was a little different than what I had in the restaurant, though. I did chop up the chocolate bars into really small pieces because that's the one thing I didn't like about the "real" one; the chocolate pieces were too big. The other difference was the quality of ice cream. As the DQ blizzard melted, it remained very creamy. Mine at home was a little watery. I believe that could be easily remedied with higher quality ice cream. Or better yet, I could make Dairy Queen's Ice Cream on page 82 of this book. Despite this, my homemade blizzard was delicious. In some ways I enjoyed it more than the "real" thing.
Based on this experience, we will be enjoying this recipe (and many others from the book) many times over.
That's it for this taste test. I had planned on doing a few more before today, but life got in the way. Thanks to the wonderful people over at Atria Books (Simon & Schuster) for allowing me to participate. It was a blast.
Stay tuned for my review of the book which I'll do once I try one or two more recipes. I might even conduct another taste test.
In the meantime, if you want more information about the book or to take a peek inside, please visit the Simon & Schuster website.