Homemade Dole Whip fills a void in my life

If you’re a long-time follower of this blog, you’re amazing, and also you may remember the Dole Whip Saga. In short: I really, really want to try Dole Whip, a pineapple-flavored soft-serve ice cream treat that can only be found in Dole-sponsored locations, the most prominent ones being Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

It has been over two years since the first installment of the Dole Whip Saga. I am going to be honest with you, dear reader, that things have not gotten much better for me since then.

A few months ago I got a chance to try Taco Bell’s Pineapple Whip, which satisfied the primal desire to taste a pineapple frozen beverage, but brought me no closer to enlightenment. Other than that, the chances of me ever obtaining a Whip have drastically lowered in light of the pandemic. In fact, Walt Disney World is now probably one of the worst places in America that I could go to for any reason, and it will probably remain that way for a long time. Going to Disney would be a moral crime, not only to myself, but to my loved ones and everyone around me. It is unthinkable.

Other things have changed since that fateful July of 2018. I’ve gained a better understanding of what Walt Disney World even is. For some reason when I wrote the original article I was sincerely convinced that the mascot characters talked. I also have a short list of rides I would like to go on (mostly Haunted Mansion), none of which my wife shares my enthusiasm for, because I think my wife would be a lot happier if I did not want to go to Walt Disney World in the first place.

Since I love my wife and do not enjoy causing disdain, I tried to refocus my goals into more realistic ones.

It turned out that the Minnesota State Fair serves Dole Whip! Holy crap! I’ve been to the fair multiple times and I’d never even seen it before. That was very achievable, and that became the new plan. I would go to the Minnesota State Fair, a place I associated otherwise with pain and sweat and resentment, and I was going to enjoy myself. I even started exercising with the hopes that I’d be able to fit on the fair’s admirable selection of rides.

And then, you know, literally everything happened.

I don’t think I used to be this invested in Dole Whip. I wrote two articles about it, sure, but it did not dominate my waking life. Now, the Whip has become not just a mildly interesting foodstuff but an icon of everything that has gone wrong in my life. I was going to get better, damn it. I was going to cram myself onto a Wild Mouse. I was going to eat cheese curds, and deep-fried whatever, and I was going to have myself a goddamn Dole Whip.

So I guess the home stretch of 2020 really is the best time to be making something like homemade Dole Whip. Everything’s fucked, right? The dream is over. Might as well play in the burning wreckage.

Luke, one of our long-term subscribers on Patreon, was the one who sent me a homemade Dole Whip recipe back in June. That was very kind – thanks Luke! But I was naive back then. So naive. So naive that I still thought the zoo would reopen in September. I tucked this recipe away in my mind. It was a fun little novelty, but I thought it would be a substitute after the fact, once I had tried the real thing and wanted to have it at home.

Haha. Ha.

The homemade Dole Whip recipe was published in 2018 by Gemma Stafford of Bigger Bolder Baking. Gemma is apparently a big-name food blogger, and has been rising since 2016, but I am ashamed to admit that I have been out of the game for a few years and this is my first time hearing of her.

The first thing I noticed was that this recipe is incredibly simple. So so simple: 4 parts frozen pineapple chunks to 1 part low fat coconut milk. That’s amazing, and it felt too good to be true. I wondered to myself: “What’s stopping it from just being wet pineapple grits?” But I committed to it anyway, because the attached images are beautiful, and also I was desperate to bring some sort of joy to my sad little life.

I decided I’d get the supplies at Trader Joe’s – if I’ve only got two ingredients, they better both be good. Some shenanigans ensued. The recipe doesn’t specify if the coconut milk is in the can or the carton, so I got the carton because I couldn’t find the can. I later found out that Gemma specifies in the comments that she meant the can, which apparently has a less watered-down flavor. Whoops!

I did have access to a big heavy-duty blender but I really didn’t feel like going through the effort if I didn’t have to, so I used an immersion blender, accepting that I might have to go upstairs anyway.

Just to be clear: if you make big changes like this to an incredibly simple recipe and then blame the recipe for it coming out wrong, you’re a dick. I already know this and was ready to do it over the correct way for the sake of a fair review. But mercifully, frozen pineapple is surprisingly soft, and it worked out just fine. I was actually very pleasantly surprised by how easy it was with the stick blender!

Guys, I’m just gonna skip straight to the punch, the homemade Dole Whip is actually really freaking good. It’s so, so sour. My mental image of the Whip has always been a fairly cloying faux-dairy concoction, but this is so sour, which I appreciate deeply because I apparently enjoy living in a constant state of acid reflux.

It’s vegan, which yes the Dole Whip already is, but a lot of Dole Whip copycat recipes are dairy-based. I am a lactose intolerant woman who never learns a lesson, so my insides were deeply grateful. The coconut milk adds a subtle piña colada flavor, which my insides are also very happy about, as I am an only recently recovering alcoholic.

I wouldn’t really call the texture creamy. This isn’t much of an ice cream as it is a glorified short-lived sorbet, but I actually love that about it. Over the course of 2020 I’ve developed a nasty tendency of emotional eating, and ice cream is my go-to comfort treat. This is a great alternative that addresses the same craving and I like it a lot.

It’s not very sweet on its own, which I was also fine with, but I went ahead and tried some tweaks just for the sake of a complete review. Some comments suggested salt as a flavor enhancer, which worked just fine. Gemma herself recommends honey, which also worked just fine. The two of them combined makes a perfectly sweet treat, and makes up for the slightly watery flavor I got from using carton milk instead of the can. Yay!

So … is it Dole Whip? Well, tons of people in the comments seem thrilled by it. I’m not exactly convinced, because it doesn’t hold a stiff soft-serve swirl and I’d be hesitant to make a float out of it. But it is a very delicious, pineapple-y treat, and isn’t that exactly what I wanted?

Thanks again, Luke. Cool stuff. Haha, because it’s cold.

Next up: I need to see if anyone has recipes for a homemade rollercoaster or homemade childhood hopes and dreams? Also, stay tuned for my article about Paula’s ‘Dale Whip’, an absolute culinary abomination from the before-times.

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