I still remember the first time I tried Dippin' Dots ice cream. I was a 9-year-old brat, at the mall with my parents, when I suddenly became intrigued by the colorful little cart by the food court. Despite the hefty price tag, my parents still bought me a cup ( I must have gotten a "A" on my last test or something). Little ice cream balls that melt in your mouth? If you tried them as a kid, like I did, you know exactly the euphoria that came with the first cold bite. Unforgettable.
While we see Dippin' Dots all over the place, from sporting arenas to amusement parks, the origins of these frozen treats are pretty bizarre, as they were not even meant to be ice cream.
Dippin' Dots were invented in 1988 by microbiologist Curt Jones, who was originally trying to figure out a way to feed cows more efficiently.
One of Jones's experiments involved freezing cow feed at 350 degrees below zero, turning the cow food into little pellets.
Taking that same concept, Jones froze ice cream with liquid nitrogen, which turned them into the little Dippin' Dot beads we've become familiar with. The dots freezing temperature is so cold, that grocery store freezers can't even store them, that's why we only see Dippin' Dots at special locations.
After creating the dots, Jones found that natural heat within the mouth melted the ice cream pellets, making their consumption a little more pleasing.
The dots caught on. The feed? Not so much.
In a way, we can thank cows for Dippin' Dots. Well, cows, and a scientist's curious love for making ice cream.