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Frozen Custard

  • d

We am looking for the best frozen custard in the DC metro area. By best I mean very creamy and very dense, with a good vanilla flavor. (The acid test fr frozen custard is vanilla. we can go from there) for points of reference, Gooseberry's in Cary, NC and Katie's in Waco, TX are what we're looking for.

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  1. Have you tried Milwaukee's Best? Locations in Reston and I believe Chantilly may be the o.g.? I'm not an expert at all - barely eat anything sweet - but trying to drop suggestions.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dennis S

      Right near Potomac Mills Mall. In the shopping center as you enter where the Wall Mart, Ikea, Sears Outlet etc is.

    2. the dairy godmother in the del ray section of alexandria.

      1. Dickie's Frozen Custard, 1700 block of Eye St, NW; it's the real deal. For the calorie averse, they also have frozen yogurt. They also make some great sandwiches.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Henry Spencer

          I was there just last week and definitely agree. Nice assortment of toppings - I got the wet walnuts for my vanilla custard. Made a tasty and filling lunch for me. The sandwiches looked great but I wasn't hungry enough to risk stuffing myself by having both.

        2. Almost too far out to be considered the DC metro area, but Jimmie Cone has been my go to place for years. Be prepared to wait in line, however. Always packed.

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          Jimmie Cone
          26420 Ridge Rd, Damascus, MD 20872

          5 Replies
          1. re: chanceindc

            Ah, Jimmy cone in Damascus........Only open during the summer.

            1. re: RobertM

              Jimmy Cone serves soft ice cream not frozen custard.

            2. re: chanceindc

              I forgot to ask: Is the Red Rooster still open?

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              Red Rooster
              10005 Damascus Blvd, Damascus, MD 20872

              1. re: RobertM

                I was shocked, but last time through (about a year ago) they were open, but the food really had taken a dive.

                1. re: RobertM

                  Red Rooster and Jimmy Cone both still there--went there two Sundays ago based on a bunch of recommendations on here. Unimpressed with both. I can see how someone would like the fried chicken, but didn't find it to be anything special. Jimmy Cone was quite the disappointment. We like Dairy Godmother, but it is a once every few months treat as it is so far away.

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                  Red Rooster
                  10005 Damascus Blvd, Damascus, MD 20872

              2. Have you tried Nielsen's on Church Street in Vienna? I can't say that it lives up to your gold standards since I've never been to either of those places, but it's dense and creamy. I prefer it to Frozen Dairy Bar, but FDB is just a mile from my house and Nielsen's is more than 10 miles, so I only go there when I have something else to do in Vienna. .

                6 Replies
                1. re: MikeR

                  I like Nielsen's, too. It has a nice consistency and rich flavor.

                  1. re: chowser

                    I like both Nielsen's and Milwaukee - if I were to choose between the two, I would choose Nielsen's b/c it is creamier and richer-tasting...and they make decent sandwiches too.

                  2. re: MikeR

                    FDB isn't frozen custard; it was back in the day in the original building, but it's soft serve.

                    1. re: Henry Spencer

                      Definitions and explanation please.

                      These days everyone has to buy a commercial mix base. Do you know precisely what they're buying and what it contains (and what it doesn't)?

                      1. re: MikeR

                        Don't want to step on anyone's toes but...

                        Overrun really has nothing to do with the classification of Ice Cream. Technically speaking, Ice Cream is anything over ten percent butterfat. Ice Milk is anything under ten percent butterfat.

                        The main differentiation between Ice Cream and Frozen Custard (besides the use of eggs) is the standard practice of Frozen Custard having a minimum 20% butterfat, as demonstrated by those stalwarts of Frozen Custard such as Kopp's, Ted Drewes, Leon's, Culver's and many others.

                        Overrun comes into play with the manufacture of the product. Batch freezers can churn product with over 100% overrun - meaning that if you place one gallon of product in the batch freezer (by volume), it will produce two gallons (or more) of finished product (by volume). Overrun is the incorporation of air into the mixture for greater yield, lightness and mouthfeel. An easy comparison is to take a pint of Edy's and compare it to Haagen Dazs.

                        Even if you took a premium ice cream, like Haagen Dazs or Ben & Jerry's, then compared it to something like Kopp's, the difference is also quite dramatic. The Kopp's is thicker and creamier because of the product contents.

                        Also, because of the higher butterfat content, specialized Frozen Custard batch freezers have been developed. One of the more famous brands is the Ross line - which was acquired not too long ago by Stoelting, a company considered amongst many operators to make the "Rolls Royce" of the soft serve ice cream freezers.

                        1. re: onocoffee

                          Most frozen cuastard is 10% butterfat. Culver's 13%, Kopp's is 16%. Stoelting made the freezers for Dairy Queen in the '50's. I have no idea if Ross was even around then but the original ElectroFreeze was the standard: was Ross an attempt to recapture that original custard and the freezing process? Unfortunately, I am old enough to remember the seasonal Dairy Queens (and Tastee Freeze) from then and locally, Reindeer on Colesville Road at Second Avenue in Silver Spring, using an ElectroFreeze machine blew them away.

                          The original Frozen Dairy Bar on route 50 used a similar EletroFreeze machine as Carl's in Fredericksburg still does. But Reindeer was richer than Dairy Queen. Honestly, Dairy queen was not a big deal then. Icons like the original Kohr Bros. stand in Seaside Heights and the Alaska Stand on the lower end of the Boarrdwalk in Ocean City were better. But we're talking about the '50's. When there was no Bay Bridge and to get to Ocean City you had to take a ferry across the Chesapeake Bay. And nobody in the D. C. area had even heard of Seaside Heights, NJ let alone have tasted Kohr Bros. Today, the Seaside Heights Kohr Bros. has nothing in common with any of its outposts (as of a year ago it still used the same machine it did in the '40's) and Reindeer is a memory that almost nobody on here has ever heard of. Carl's is still there. And just as good. Using it's original EletroFreeze machine.

                          Kopp's is better. Better than Ted Drewes or Abbott's or Anderson's or Leon's who make their original machines and a handful of others around the U. S. This is a place that I have driven the 150 miles roundtrip from Chicago to just to have frozen custard. Well, maybe a hamburger, too. Three or four times.

                          Sorry to be disagreeable but Kopp's was and is far richer than any other frozen custard including the local Neilsen's (out of Salt Lake City whose owner once worked for Kopp's) which I believe is the best in the D. C. area. Michael's in Madison is pretty good, too.

                          For me the real question is who else has Milwaukee's Leon's made machines for?

                  3. Dairy Godmother in the Del Mar section of Alexandria makes some very good custard. This is the real stuff and they will mix it in with a homemade fruit cobbler when available.

                    1 Reply
                    1. Kline's in Manassas is good, if you are out that way.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: ktmoomau

                        Isn't Kline's soft ice cream (IC) rather than frozen custard (FC)? Frozen custard, while it resembles ice cream in some respects, includes eggs as well as the other ingredients which IC does not. IC also is not as dense as FC. FC also is served warmer than IC. In this area, Rita's (a chain) serves FC as well as Italian ices. In addition, there are the other FC places mentioned above (Dairy Godmother, Milwaukee FC, Nielsen's, and DIckies) plus the Frozen Dairy Bar (Falls Church), Vienna FC, and Carmen's Italian Ice in Rockville.

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                        Carmen's Italian Ice
                        1115 Nelson St, Rockville, MD 20850

                        1. re: skipper

                          All their signs say custard, and it tasted to me like custard.

                          1. re: skipper

                            Thanks for mentioning Carmen's Italian Ice -- I never had tried it before so we went today. I'm no FC expert, but I thought it was yummy (also sampled some ices that were tasty). Good to know it's there!

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                            Carmen's Italian Ice
                            1115 Nelson St, Rockville, MD 20850

                            1. re: wookyluvr

                              Okay, at the risk of showing myself to be a complete idiot... we went to Carmen's for FC twice this past week and then we stopped by Jimmie Cone (which I guess is softserve ice cream?) today and I have absolutely no clue what the difference is between FC and SSIC. We liked them both. Jimmie Cone has maybe more vanilla flavor... I'd have to try them side by side. Either way, they're both tasty!

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                              Jimmie Cone
                              26420 Ridge Rd, Damascus, MD 20872

                            2. re: skipper

                              Back when I was on an ice cream making kick, I had several recipes that included eggs, and in fact the procedure called for making a custard base by cooking the egg yolks with milk or cream. I'd think that the inclusion of egg is not in itself the qualifier for "frozen custard." To me (as an eater, not a cook) the difference between ice cream and frozen custard was that frozen custard was, well, like eating frozen custard. Ice cream is always harder, but even if left to soften, still doesn't have the creamy consistency of frozen custard. Probably has something to do with the amount of air in the soup (density) before it freezes.

                              I've always thought of "soft serve" as light ice cream (all milk, no cream, no eggs) that wasn't allowed to freeze solid, probably a result of higher temperature while cooling. Frozen custard has always tasted richer to me than ice cream or soft serve. But I suspect that the richness is from the eggs and the consistency, since "super premium" ice cream (17%+ butterfat content) has more fat than frozen custard.

                              1. re: MikeR

                                As to FC, using a process called overrun, air is blended into the mixture of ingredients until its volume increases by approximately 20%. By comparison, ice cream may have an overrun as large as 100%, meaning half of the final product is composed of air. The high percentage of butterfat and egg yolk gives frozen custard a thick, creamy texture and a smoother consistency than ice cream. Frozen custard can be served at –8°C (18°F), warmer than the –12°C (10°F) at which ice cream is served, in order to make a soft serve product.

                                Another difference between commercially produced frozen custard and commercial ice cream is the way the custard is frozen. The mix enters a refrigerated tube and, as it freezes, blades scrape the product cream off the barrel walls. The now frozen custard is discharged directly into containers from which it can be served. The speed with which the product leaves the barrel minimizes the amount of air in the product but more importantly ensures that the ice crystals formed are very small.

                          2. BR has the best real custard around. Small family business, nice people. Great rotation of flavors to compliment the old standby's. Thai Bistro is next door. Great for lunch/dinner with a great custard afterwords rounds out the meal.

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                            Br Frozen Custard & Sweets
                            4125 Merchant Plz, Woodbridge, VA 22192