Plainly the Best Frozen Yogurt

plain frozen yogurt

One year ago, New York frozen yogurt was in a state of emergency. Fake Tasti D-Lite and its clones were in every 10-block radius. The “frozen dessert” chain boasts 100 flavors, but they all taste like soapy whipped air. There’s no excuse, since each serving has as much as 224 calories, instead of the advertised 40. Dude, why don’t you add some cocoa powder (which is virtually fat-free anyway) instead of lactase?

Tasti even replaced the excellent soft-serve at Ben & Jerry’s in Grand Central station. To satisfy my craving, I scoped out at least five delis, which advertised in big letters: “Frozen yogurt.” I always came out disappointed, since their machines were never running.

“Does anyone remember real frozen yogurt?” a Chowhounder lamented on an online message board. I felt the same way. Where was that stuff I ate to celebrate my brother’s birthday and me passing my driver’s license exam?

Early this year an L.A. transplant, Pinkberry, revived real frozen yogurt. It’s so popular out west that people don’t mind paying $68 for a large: $7.50 for the yogurt and the rest in parking tickets (because it’s so crowded). While I’m thankful that Pinkberry changed the culinary landscape, I’m not sure why they got all the credit.

Since the ’70s, Bloomingdale’s Forty Carrots cafe has made much better plain frozen yogurt. Not to be confused with vanilla, it’s refreshingly tart and creamy. “Crapberry” resembles sour ice milk. There’s a difference between tart and sour. Sour is what spoiled food tastes like.

Several bloggers, including 101 Cookbooks, re-created the treat at home with nothing more than plain yogurt and sugar. I used Fage’s 2% Greek yogurt, which is incredibly rich, since the water’s strained out. A 32-ounce tub costs about $4 at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, but it’s not so expensive, considering that you’d need to buy twice as much mediocre yogurt and let it drain for 24 hours to get the same result.

Paired with strawberries, it makes a great berries and cream-type dessert. Add some blueberries too, to get a red, white and blue theme going. Happy fourth!

101 Cookbooks posted the recipe from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. The yogurt gets hard after more than two hours in the freezer, but you can try adding 1 1/2 tablespoons of vodka to the mix.

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  1. radish said,

    i’m going to try adding vodka next time because when I made this, my yogurt also got hard. I wonder how come this happens? Why does store-bough (albeit not-tasty fro-yo) stay creamy and scoopable? I’m not a chemist, but i’m going to have to find out.

    July 4, 2007 at 8:30 am

  2. Just the Facts said,

    Pinkberry is just candy in a cup! The 13-ounce large size has 16 teaspoons of sugar (65 grams). That’s 1/3 cup of sugar in just the yogurt. The 8-ounce medium size has 10 teaspoons of sugar (40 grams) in just the yogurt. Toppings can add more sugar and fat. Pinkberry has yet to release the ingredients in their yogurt so we don’t know what it is. Pinkberry is loaded with sugar and hidden ingredients. Does this sound like a healthy snack or junk food?

    July 20, 2007 at 3:56 pm

  3. Natasha said,

    I love Frogurt! … 🙂

    I used to order it from Wards Ice Cream Co. in Paterson NJ, when I was managing the IBM Palisades Cafeteria years ago! The IBMers loved it – “God forbid” – if we ever run out of it!

    You can always order it from them and use an icecream maker to make your own at home!!

    Did you make your own frozen yogurt, using FAGE, in an icecream/frozen yogurt mashine or you just put it in a container in the freezer?

    February 17, 2008 at 11:22 pm

  4. Jessica "Su Good Sweets" said,

    Natasha, I bet lots of people will call Wards Ice Cream Co. to get Frogurt mix. What a great tip! I made my own frozen yogurt using Fage. If you just put the container in the freezer, it will get rock hard because it needs some sugar.

    February 18, 2008 at 12:36 am

  5. yum said,

    yogurtland or yogurt passion are the best…w/ some tart flavors…and some regular flavors (up to 16 flavs i.e. plain tart [yogurty flavor not vanilla]…other several tarts…then they have strawbery, mango, vanilla, vanilla no sugar added, chocolate, taro, just to name a few)…w/ lots of toppings such as the typical fruits and cheesecake bites, cookie dough, brownie bites, mochi, gummie bears, assorted nuts, crushed graham crackers…etc etc) and it’s self serve…much cheaper than pinkberry at 0.30-0.35 cents an ounce…so you put how much you want of anything and mix and match…etc….yummmy

    June 9, 2008 at 4:59 am

  6. Jessica "Su Good Sweets" said,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I’m not a huge fan of Yogurtland. They’re better than Pinkberry, but the yogurt is too sweet and stiff for me.

    June 9, 2008 at 11:29 pm

  7. Kam said,

    Several months ago a new restaurant opened in Montclair, New Jersey (12 miles west of Manhattan) called "Market." Not only its their food fantastic not to mention organic, but they make their own real frozen yogurt, soft serve. The owner told me its just plain yogurt and fruit juice. Its heaven in a cup. I seriously dream about it. $5 a serving and he tops it with local berries, nuts, or coconut. Since I can’t keep up the habit on a daily basis, Haagen Dazs makes a lowfat frozen yogurt in "Tart" natural which is very good. I am currently looking to replace my broken Krups ice cream maker so I can try to make my own.

    July 13, 2009 at 10:59 pm

  8. Jessica "Su Good Sweets" said,

    Kam, maybe I’ll go all the way to Montclair just for the food. Ha ha. I’ve heard of Haagen Daz’s tart yogurt, but I can’t find it in stores. 🙁 I like their vanilla and raspberry swirl though.

    July 13, 2009 at 11:20 pm

  9. tommmy A said,

    Forty Carrots………….Best froyo on the planet. Rich yet not sweet, smooth and creamy, flavors that really taste good.

    January 19, 2010 at 12:42 am

2 Links to this post

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