Make a Blizzard at home

July 14, 2009 (CHICAGO) That's what goes into a Blizzard, one of Dairy Queen's- best-selling ice cream treats. A Blizzard is more than a shake and not quite a sundae.

You can enjoy one any time at your local DQ, but if you can also make them at home, if you know some of the tricks of the trade. Kevin Hitzeman shows us how to create Blizzards, so they're close in taste and consistency to those you'll find at DQ. Kevin, who owns two DQ stores in Northwest Indiana, also offers some DQ trivia:

DQ's Top Ten most requested "everyday" flavors:
1) Oreo

2) Reese's Peanut Butter Cup

3) Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

4) Butterfinger

5) Strawberry CheeseQuake

6) Snickers

7) Heath

8) M&M

9) Banana Cream Pie

10) Chocolate Xtreme

DQ's Top 5 Blizzard of the Month Flavors:
1) Girl Scout Thin Mint

2) Brownie Batter

3) Reese's Peanut Butter Cup

4) Strawberry Cheesequake

5) M&M Monster Cookie

History of the Blizzard®

A Blizzard-like product was in the DQ® system since the early 1950s. But it was a very loose affiliation of franchisees back then and the idea struggled. At that time it was a shake with less milk. They tried no milk at all...just soft serve and fruit topping. Though customers liked it, it was extra work and the shake was too thick. Franchisees got tired of burning out mixers, so it just faded away.

Fast forward 35 years and we began seeing independent ice cream shops that were mixing slabs of hard ice cream with candy. In St. Louis, one of our entrepreneurs added milk and blended everything together (spring of 1984). The idea traveled to Minneapolis and we knew it was a very big idea and we could market it nationally.

We needed to determine how thick the product needed to be, whether we would add milk (we decided no milk) or add candy...we originally decided no candy. A name? We tried the Concrete Blizzard. It didn't perform well with consumers. We pulled the product and started over again.

After two DQ franchisees developed a high-powered mixer, we looked at the product once more and determined that by adding branded candy we would have instant equity at no charge. We approached Heath, who bought a candy crusher and supplied DQ stores with bags of Heath bar bits. Soon, their Illinois plant went to capacity, crushing Heath candy bars 24 hours a day.

Oreo® originally told us we were crazy. Mars® said they would never alter their product (M&Ms). However, Hydrox® cookies said "yes."

By the end of 1985, Oreo and Mars changed their minds and signed up but none of them wanted to crush the product, so our operators did it themselves. However, that was too labor intensive. We accidentally created a cottage industry of candy and cookie crushers.

Though the product was introduced to franchisees at our 1984 DQ convention in Hawaii, it went into brief test market in the winter of 1984-85 and was officially launched in the spring of 1985. It was available in 10, 16 and 24 ounce cups. It was served upside-down with a spoon on the side.

The Blizzard Flavor Treat became an overnight sensation.

On May 2, 1985 the DQ system launched a network TV campaign for the Blizzard treat, combining the power of TV, the brand equity of Oreo, Mars and the like and the allure of DQ soft serve. We sold more than 75 million Blizzard Flavor Treats that first year.

Fun Facts about the Blizzard Flavor Treat

  • Since its introduction in 1985, more than 75 Blizzard flavors have been introduced by the Dairy Queen® system.
  • Most popular flavors: Oreo Cookie, Chocolate Chip cookie dough; M&Ms; Reese's Peanut Butter Cups; Butterfinger.
  • The largest Blizzard ever made: July 1, 1999 in Chicopee, Mass. The DQ operator made the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest frozen blended treat. The product was: 22 feet high and 7 feet in diameter. It took 1,070 lbs of Oreo cookies to make and weighed 7,000 lbs.
  • In August, 2002, a man coined "the DQ Blizzard Guy" completed his goal of eating a Blizzard flavor treat in every state with a visit to a Dairy Queen restaurant in Alaska for his 50th Blizzard treat.

    QUESTION: Who was the famous basketball owner that served Blizzard® Treats to customers at a Dairy Queen® restaurant?
    ANSWER: Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks

    QUESTION: What is Mark Cuban's Favorite Blizzard flavor treat? M
    ANSWER: Butterfinger

    QUESTION: What is the main topping in a Yukon Cruncher® Blizzard flavor treat?
    ANSWER: Rice Krispies Treats Pieces

    QUESTION: Who was the host on the first commercials featuring the Blizzard in 1985?
    ANSWER: Dick Clark

    QUESTION: When did the Dairy Queen system first trademark the name Blizzard?
    ANSWER: 1952. Although there have been several trademarks filed since then for various Blizzard design purposes, this was the first one registered.

    QUESTION: What flavor of Blizzard treat did Jack Nicholson order at a Dairy Queen restaurant in the movie "About Schmidt?"
    ANSWER: A medium Blizzard with vanilla soft serve, Reese's Pieces and Cookie Dough.

    QUESTION: What is the trademarked slogan used to describe a Blizzard flavor treat?
    ANSWER: Upsidedownright Thick®

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