I think I might be a 16 Handles believer.
I had never even been inside the trendy weigh-it-and-buy-it frozen yogurt chain that now boasts 12 locations (with more on the way) in New York City alone when Sweets editor Carrie asked me to check out the return of their fall flavor American Apple Pie.
Now, don't get the wrong impression. I harbor no ill will towards frozen yogurt; like Carrie, I grew up on Tasti-D-Lite and continue to indulge on hot summer days. I don't see fro-yo as a substitute for rich, dense, calorie-heavy ice cream, but rather as a delightful addition to the pantheon of frozen desserts. My basic indifference to 16 Handles has come from, I believe, a general mistrust of anything too trendy. Need an example? I've never seen The Matrix. How about another? I've never read a single page of a single Harry Potter book.
I wasn't expecting much when I stepped inside the sleek, minimalist storefront of the Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn location. I don't usually go for fruity fro-yo or ice cream flavors, generally preferring to stick close to chocolate- or vanilla-based varieties, and I felt particularly wary about a flavor like apple, which usually tastes synthetic in desserts unless there are some real apples mixed inside. But I dutifully grabbed a paper cup and let 'er rip. I took a spoonful: much to my surprise, the yogurt was damn good. It was sweet but retained a good amount of true yogurt tang; there was a subtle hint of warm cinnamon; and best of all was the texture of the frozen yogurt, which was much denser and creamier than I had been expecting. Sure, the apple flavor wasn't the most authentic, but neither did it taste like a green Jolly Rancher. I ate my fro-yo au naturel, but with the addition of a few spoonfuls of granola, American Apple Pie would taste delightfully like an apple crumble.
So there you have it: I'm a convert. If you need me, I'll be in my living room chowing down on 16 Handles, watching Keanu Reeves somersault through time and space, and flipping through the pages of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, all at the same time.
About the author: Lauren Rothman is a former Serious Eats intern, a freelance catering chef, and an obsessive chronicler of all things culinary. Try the original recipes on her blog, For the Love of Food, and follow her on Twitter @Lochina186.