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so many ways about it

Recipe: orange creamsicle frozen yogurt two ways

There is a short window of time in late spring when: 1) the road to the trailhead is closed to cars, but clear of snow 2) the trail is completely under snow and 3) the snow is firm enough to hoof it on foot. I live for this window because it’s when we do the bike-hike-ski, a triumvirate of springtime mountain activities. And it was HOT. 60°F at 10,000 feet with the sun roasting us from above (so more like broiling). There are always ways to get your ski on, it’s just a matter of how determined you are to get it. And we are not the only ones out there.

[Many of you inquired after the sunblock I had tested and liked. It is TerraSport SPF 30 which is not only non-greasy, rubs in well, non-sticky, and waterproof for 80 minutes, but it rates well on the Environmental Working Group site, which I trust. We are also in the process of testing Vanicream for sensitive skin.]

biking up to the trailhead

stashing the bikes in the trees

hiking up to the basin

skiing out

switching from skis to bikes (what a junk show)

ready to ride out

I love the snow, really love it. When we paused in the shade to fuel up and throw on some long-sleeve shirts (the sun at high altitude can be really harsh), I happily dropped my pack and plopped my butt in the snow. FELT GREAT. I know why Kaweah used to roll around in snow patches on summer hikes. I do it too. But at our house, the snow is a mere memory from a few weeks ago. The earliest wildflowers are starting to show their color in the yard and the hummingbirds are zipping about in super-aggro mode. Where is the relief from the sun? It’s in my freezer and it’s easy to make, so you can have relief in your freezer too. I’m talking about orange creamsicle frozen yogurt. Remember those orange creamsicle pops from the 70s, the decade that tried to kill us all with fake colors and flavors? It was so excellent, I made two versions.

smooth version: vanilla extract, grand marnier, oranges, sugar, plain yogurt

grate the orange zest

juice the oranges

The first orange creamsicle fro yo is the blended version. It is the easiest to make and tastes exactly like those orange creamsicle pops. I use Noosa’s full fat plain yogurt because it is creamy, smooth, and delicious. You can use Greek yogurt or whatever you like, but I find Noosa to be superior in flavor and texture. Non-fat yogurt leaves a gritty film in my mouth, so I don’t use it in my frozen yogurts anymore.

ready to go

place the sugar and zest in a blender

pulverize them until fine

After you blender the sugar and zest together, everything else goes into the blender for a spin. Chill the yogurt in the refrigerator (my Vitamix warms it up a little when I blender it) before churning it in your ice cream maker. Once it comes out of the ice cream machine, pop it in the freezer and you’re done. See? Easy peasy. We’ll call that version #1.

pour in the orange juice and the yogurt

add the grand marnier

blended and chilled


Version #1 has fantastic orange flavor with just the right amount of tartness and sweetness. Flecks of orange zest dot each scoop and if you close your eyes, you are transported back to your ice cream truck days of youth. But I wasn’t completely satisfied. For some reason, I had it in my head that I wanted a swirl version. So I went back for a second round.

vanilla extract, oranges, sugar, more sugar, plain yogurt, grand marnier

stir the sugar into the yogurt

add vanilla

The ingredients are practically the same, they are just processed a little differently. This version of orange creamsicle frozen yogurt involves a few more steps and a few more dirty dishes. The frozen yogurt base is just plain yogurt, sugar, and vanilla extract. Stir those together and let it chill in the refrigerator while you make the swirl.

combine some sugar, orange juice, and orange zest in a saucepan

simmer to half the volume

stir in the grand marnier when the reduction has cooled

The swirl is merely sweetened, reduced orange juice. You could conceivably use orange juice concentrate, but I find that fresh and homemade is superior in taste and quality AND you know exactly what went into it. Simmer the juice, zest, and sugar down to half its original volume, more or less. Give it some time to cool before stirring in the Grand Marnier and then pop it in the refrigerator to chill completely. When you are ready, churn the yogurt base.

churned yogurt base – like a soft serve consistency

layer half the orange reduction over half of the frozen yogurt and repeat

scooping after freezing

I usually put ice cream or other scoopable frozen treats in a cylindrical container, but for swirls, it helps to freeze them in wide and shallow containers or dishes. In this case, we want to be able to layer the orange swirl with the frozen yogurt so that a scoop will get a nice mix of the two. How does version #2 taste? It’s fantastic. I like it slightly better than version #1 because the yogurt base is super creamy and smooth, yet punctuated with this tart ribbon of intensely orange flavor. That said, version #1 reminds me more of the original orange creamsicle. You can’t go wrong with either one, but my advice is to make both and enjoy!

creamy orangey delights

mo fro yo

Orange Creamsicle Frozen Yogurt Two Ways
[print recipe]
based on orange creamsicle ice cream from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

smooth and blended version
grated zest of 3 oranges (preferably organic)
2/3 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 1/2 cups plain whole milk yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsps Grand Marnier

swirl version
3 cups plain whole milk yogurt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups orange juice
grated zest of 3 oranges (preferably organic)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp Grand Marnier

Make the smooth and blended version: Place the grated orange zest and sugar in a blender and pulverize until very fine. Add the orange juice, yogurt, vanilla extract, and Grand Marnier. Blend until the sugar is dissolved. Chill the mixture and churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze the yogurt. Makes 1 quart.

Make the swirl version: Stir the yogurt, sugar, and vanilla extract together until the sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate until ready to use. Place the orange juice, orange zest, and 1/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Stir until it comes to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer (stirring occasionally) until the volume is reduced by half (you should have a little more than 1 cup of liquid). Remove from heat and let cool. Stir the Grand Marnier into the orange juice mixture and let it chill in the refrigerator. When the orange juice mixture is completely chilled, take the yogurt out of the refrigerator and churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Layer half of the churned yogurt in a shallow baking dish or tupperware. Pour half of the orange juice mixture over the yogurt. Layer the rest of the yogurt on top, then finish with the rest of the orange juice mixture. Feel free to run a knife or spoon around in the yogurt to help it swirl (but it isn’t necessary). Freeze. Makes a little more than a quart.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

strawberry frozen yogurt watermelon frozen yogurt single-ingredient ice cream candied orange peels

18 nibbles at “so many ways about it”

  1. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    Such a refreshing flavour! Yum!

  2. Kristin says:

    Ok, I am laughing right now because, just last night, as my kids were slurping down rootbeer floats, my daughter started talking about orange creamsicles & how nasty they are. She did acknowledge that she’d only ever had one from the ice cream truck, and that might not be the best example of one. I guess we’ll have to give these a try, especially since she liked the roasted strawberry ice cream when she was pretty sure she wouldn’t!

  3. Colleen says:

    NOM- Noosa is nectar!

  4. Eva @ Eva Bakes says:

    I loved orange creamsicles as a child (and still do, actually). I agree that Noosa’s yogurts are superior to Greek yogurt, but wouldn’t you know that I can’t find any of the plain ones around me? I know it’s a new product for them, but I can only find the flavored ones. Guess I can substitute with the honey one for the time being.

  5. ursula says:

    Jen, you are amazing. bike, ski, hike. hot at 60 degrees. you go girl. i do have one potentially stupid question. do you know what happens if i skip the step with the ice cream maker and go straight from the blender to the freezer? (i don’t have an ice cream maker and don’t think i want one!)

  6. jenyu says:

    Katrina – it’s really lovely on a hot day!

    Kristin – I think she should defer to your wisdom :)

    Colleen – right?!

    Eva – yes, before Noosa came out with their plain flavor (only in the past few months, I think), I had to use the honey flavor. That worked well for me, just reduce the sugar as needed.

    ursula – not stupid at all. The reason for an ice cream machine is to get a smooth texture that is also more scoopable. The churning during freezing prevents large crystals from forming. Keeping them small means it’s going to be more creamy than icy. What you can do to sort of simulate (but not really) is to pour the yogurt into a container and put that in the freezer. Every 15 minutes or so, go and stir it up, breaking up any icy chunks that form. Keep doing that – it will take a few hours at least, until it’s more or less a soft-serve consistency. Then you can let it freeze all the way. See if that works?

  7. Vicky says:

    Looks amazing!!!!

    You guys are amazing for hiking/biking/skiing! I ski up in Tahoe at around the same elevation and I’m POOPED after awhile; can’t imagine having energy to cook afterwards! How’s Kaweah doing?

  8. Barb says:

    I love your blog and want to thank you so much for sharing all of you’re wonderful recipes, your beautiful photos, your precious, sweet Kaweah and all your adventures with us – it’s wonderful. (and thanks, too, for the info on the sunscreen :-) .)

  9. CoffeeGrounded says:

    This post is dangerous to my waistline, and at eleven in the evening, it’s criminal! You are so right. We can’t make just one version, we simple must indulge ourselves and try them both. I guess I can hoe the garden, pull weeds and work the compost to burn a few calories. Then walk the dog a three miler and come back and vacuum and dust the chalet, er….house. Or maybe I can share?

    That last statement is mighty iffy.


    (Hugs and sweet kisses to Miss. K)

  10. Anna says:

    Looks amazing as always! Thanks for sharing these summer treats. Its a blast reading your stories and seeing such wonderful images :)

  11. Melanie Evans says:

    Interesting note about Vanicream. I didn’t know it had a sunscreen in it. I got it when I had some weird, red “gloving” on my hands during chemo. It’s a really great moisturizer.

  12. JJ says:

    Wow, both of these versions look delicious! In the swirled version, I noticed that you put in some zest in the pot to reduce with the orange juice, but omitted it in the recipe- did the zest have an adverse effect? Also, do you think one could also pour the orange juice mixture in the ice cream maker after the yogurt has been frozen to create the swirl effect? Thanks so much for sharing!

    Oh, btw, do you have a particular types of containers you like to use for storing homemade ice cream? Thank you!

  13. Maggie says:

    skiing and biking in the same day??? I would be ALL over that! :)

  14. jenyu says:

    Vicky – Kaweah is hanging in there, living the good life in Crested Butte right now. Thanks for asking :)

    Barb – awww, thank you xo

    CoffeeGrounded – :)

    Anna – thank you for stopping by! So glad you enjoy the posts.

    Melanie – Oh, it doesn’t. This is specifically their sport sunscreen made by Vanicream, but not the lotion itself.

    JJ – thank you for catching that!! I usually write my posts late at night and… omission of ingredients can happen. I’ve fixed it now :) If you pour the orange mixture into the ice cream maker, it doesn’t take long before it’s blended in. So I just layer them in the container. When layering for swirl effects, I try to use wide tupperware or baking dishes. If it’s a blended ice cream, I put them in 1 quart cylindrical screw-top containers.

    Maggie – it happens all the time!

  15. Bites from other Blogs - The Recipe Daily says:

    […] its flavor, like my Creamsicle Cupcakes. Use Real Butter has another idea for creamsicle fans: Orange Creamsicle Frozen Yogurt. This recipe is presented in two ways, with the ice cream and orange elements blended together and […]

  16. 2014 Summer Adventure List | Dirt & Noise says:

    […] Make homemade ice cream and my friend Jen’s orange creamsicle frozen yogurt […]

  17. YN says:

    Hi Jen, Love your blogs. Very inspiring! Cheers from Edmonton Canada!

  18. 149 Cool Treats to Help Beat the Summer Heat - Frugal Mom Eh! says:

    […] Orange creamsicle frozen yogurt […]

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