Saturday, March 29, 2014

Easy Orange Julius On Demand

I remember rare trips to the mall as a child when my parents would treat my brother and I to an Orange Julius. The frothy orange vanilla drink was heaven!

Even now, when I would take my own children to the Dairy Queen / Orange Julius a half mile from the house, I would forgo the ice cream in favor of a freshly blended Orange Julius.

Mr. LH and I had tried various homemade Orange Julius recipes with some success. The recipes called for Dream Whip or vanilla pudding or powdered milk. They were good, but they weren't quite right. Other recipes called for egg white or egg white substitute (I guess to achieve the frothiness like egg nog?). I didn't want to fool around with eggs just for an Orange Julius.

On a trip to Costco one day, we happened upon the VitaMix demonstration.

The demonstrator was making mint chocolate chip ice cream...with spinach (Wow! It was fabulous!) but then she mentioned someone making Orange Julius at home (after all, Orange Julius uses VitaMix blenders, right?). Hello! Orange Julius? That got my attention! I requested the recipe.

I have a VitaMix, passed down to me from my mom. In fact, I have two. Twice now, when my mom upgraded her VitaMix for whatever reason, I got the old (perfectly functional) one. The oldest one I have is all stainless steel and is about 24 years old. They're not pretty, but they were both free and they both work really well. With my new Orange Julius recipe in hand, I pulled out one of the blenders and made a drink.

There are so few ingredients needed for this Orange Julius Recipe, you probably have them all in your kitchen right now! And it's so easy! Seriously! The hardest thing about this recipe is peeling the oranges (which, by the way, we got a case of oranges at Costco before we left)! It has become a Saturday morning ritual but it's so easy, we can make it whenever we want!

Homemade Orange Julius

For possible ingredient substitutions, see "notes" below

2 oranges, peeled and halved
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup half & half
1/2 to 1 cup ice

Place ingredients into the VitaMix blender in order listed. Place lid on blender and blend on high until smooth, then on "variable" for one full minute. (On newer VitaMix models, I believe you would use the "smoothie" setting.) and that's it. Frothy, creamy, orang-y goodness achieved!

- This serves 2. We double it for our family of four.
- You can sub raw sugar, honey, agave, etc but it may alter the finished taste. You will also need to adjust the amount. If I have a batch of very ripe oranges, I cut back on the amount of sugar.
- Although I have not tried it, the VitaMix demonstrator said you can sub coconut milk or almond milk for the half & half.
- I have added a whole peeled banana to a doubled recipe. It was very good but since the banana was really ripe, it had a strong banana flavor.
- You MAY need to use the tamper (that comes with the VitaMix) to get it started.
- If the finished drink is too frothy for you, try running the blender on "high" for a bit. I've found the "variable" setting makes a frothier drink.

I have not tried this in a non-VitaMix blender. If you try it, comment here to let everyone know how it worked out.

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