Honest to God, I thought she said "doe lips."
My editor was suggesting that I write about how several corporations, in recent years, have begun publishing the recipes for some of their most iconic dishes.
DoubleTree by Hilton has released the recipe for the chocolate chip cookie that workers there give you when you check in. The Cheesecake Factory has parted with the recipe for its popular Chinese Chicken Salad. Disney has published the recipe for its doe lips.
Doe lips? That can't be right. The most famous doe in the Disney universe is Bambi's mother, and it is unthinkable that Disneyland would use her lips to make some sort of sugary snack.
"Dole Whip," my editor repeated.
Oh. Dole Whip. So I decided to write a story — this story — about signature corporate recipes in part to find out what Dole Whip is.
These are not knockoff recipes, in which ordinary people try with varying degrees of success to re-create a favorite recipe from a fast-food joint or theme park. These are the actual recipes used by the actual restaurants and hotels that serve them.
They are even scaled down to home-cook proportions by the corporations themselves. What you see here is, at least theoretically, what you get there.
I started with the Dole Whip, largely out of curiosity. Apparently, it's hugely popular at the Disney parks, but I have never been to a Disney park. I've never been that happy.
I can see why people love the Dole Whip so much, especially in such hot-weather areas as Orlando, Florida, and Anaheim, California. It is a delightful treat, cool and especially refreshing.
And with only three ingredients, it is also easy to make. All you do is blend together some frozen pineapple, some pineapple juice and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
What you get resembles soft-serve ice cream, with the flavor of pineapple. It's sort of part soft-serve, part slushy, all Disney delicious.
At the Disney parks, a small cup of the stuff goes for five bucks.
I stayed with the good folks at Disney to re-create another of their wildly popular dishes, churro tots. Churros are stiff, uniquely shaped, cinnamon doughnuts popular throughout Central America as well as Spain and Portugal, where they originated. The Disney parks sell more than 5 million of them every year.
The recipe Disney has published is for what they call churro tots — a smaller, bite-size version of the treats. And because doughnuts don't already have enough calories, especially doughnuts with a high surface-to-interior ratio, they then serve them with a chocolate dipping sauce.
The tots are great by themselves, but they are even better with chocolate. Then again, pretty much everything is better with chocolate.
To my surprise, the churros begin with a pte a choux dough — it's the type of dough that bakes up with a big pocket of air in the middle; it's used for eclairs and cream puffs. When you fry it, though, it clearly turns into a churro.
Pate a choux doughs take a couple of steps more to make than some other pastry doughs, but they are quite easy and forgiving. Once you've made the dough, you have to pipe it out with a pastry bag and fry it; then roll it in a cinnamon-sugar mixture and, of course, make a chocolate sauce.
It takes a fair amount of energy to make them, but when you are done you have churro tots and a chocolate sauce. Trust me, it's worth it.
I thought I'd next try something that at least sounded healthful, the Chinese Chicken Salad from the Cheesecake Factory.
It starts innocently enough, with a mixture of lettuces and cabbage, plus bean sprouts, green onions and sliced poached chicken. But then you add crispy (fried) rice noodles, crispy (fried) wonton wrappers, a hill of toasted almonds and far too much sesame-plum dressing.
About that sesame-plum dressing: The recipe says it is available in "fine food markets." I'm guessing the store where I shop is not fine enough. They didn't carry it. So I bought a bottle of Asian Ginger-Sesame dressing and used about half the amount that was recommended, and that worked fine.
Other than the dressing, the recipe tastes just like it does at the Cheesecake Factory, with a multiplicity of flavors all erupting at once — but somehow all in perfect harmony.
I turned next to Chick-fil-A and its recipe for its very popular but discontinued coleslaw.
Before they stopped selling it (in favor of a trendy kale salad with dried cherries and nuts), Chick-fil-A released the recipe, so its many fans could continue to make it at home.
It is a standard — and excellent — recipe for Southern coleslaw, though with a bit of a twist. Some coleslaw recipes call for Dijon mustard and some do not, but the Chick-fil-A recipe gets its bite from dry mustard.
And that makes all the difference. The sharp mustard overtone is the perfect foil for the creamy and sweet-sour combination that comes from a mixture of mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar.
I next took a recipe for guacamole from Chipotle. The brilliance of this dish is its simplicity; there are no extraneous flavors to get in the way of the purity of the guacamole.
It doesn't have tomatoes. It doesn't even have garlic.
All it requires are ripe avocados, lime juice, cilantro, red onion, jalapeno and salt.
Mash it all together and you have a guacamole that is both noble and notable. Also, it is totally addictive.
Finally, I made the chocolate chip cookies from DoubleTree. These are buttery cookies, absolutely packed with chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.
A couple of things make the cookies stand out. One is that, while they are mostly made from flour, they have also have a bit of oats in them for a bit of a heartier chew. And the other unexpected ingredient is just a hint of lemon juice.
It is a minuscule amount of lemon juice, a ludicrously small amount. The recipe calls only for a quarter-teaspoon of the juice for 26 large cookies. Frankly, I doubt it makes any difference at all.
As written, the recipe calls for the cookies to be baked at 300 degrees for 20 to 23 minutes. That didn't work for me. I got close to 30 minutes, and they still were not ready. So I bumped up the temperature to a more reasonable 350 degrees, and they turned out fine.
No, better than fine. They were excellent. They are just the sort of thing you want handed to you when you check into a hotel.