This week I reached out for a new Caramel Apple Pop Blizzard, available through the end of the year at America's No. 1 roadside ice-cream stand: Dairy Queen.

This is a special Blizzard for apple-harvest time, heading into winter, when blizzards are no longer dessert -- they're the weather report.

Here's the blueprint for a medium (16-ounce) Caramel Apple Pop Blizzard: 12 ounces of DQ's legendary vanilla soft-serve ice cream, a big glop of gooey caramel, green-apple topping, sour-apple flakes and apple candy pieces -- all whirled into a super-thick, creamy treat.

You know the drill: all Blizzards are guaranteed to be thick, so the cashier turns it upside down to prove it. If anything drips or spills, he or she will make you a new one. I've had hundreds of Blizzards. Nary a drip yet.

Total calories: 740. Fat grams: 19. Dietary fiber: 0 grams (this isn't roughage, this is smoothage). Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $2.79 for a medium. Dairy Queen also serves a small cup (12 ounces) for $2.39 and a heavy hitter (21 ounces) for $3.19. To quote my favorite philosopher -- Goldilocks -- the medium size is "just right."

Here's an inventive twist: Each Caramel Apple Pop Blizzard comes with a real Tootsie Pop lollipop that serves as the spoon. This idea needs to catch on at other fast-food chains. Imagine if KFC gave you a free drumstick to eat your mashed potatoes with! Factoid: Tootsie Pop is the world's No. 1 maker of lollipops, cranking out 20 million suckers a day. P.T. Barnum was on to something.

Dairy Queen has 5,800 ice-cream restaurants coast to coast, in all 50 states. And the No. 1 choice in Blizzards is ... Oreo Cookie.

Dairy Queen created the Caramel Apple Pop Blizzard for its "Tween Market" -- kids between 8 and 12 years old. If you have any Tweens in your family, you know that they call the shots, especially when it comes to picking restaurants. Other specially designed Tween desserts have included Bubble Gum and Cotton Candy Blizzards. I have to admit, the Cotton Candy wasn't bad, but it was embarrassing to say: "Uh, it's for my kid. ... Yeah, he's out in the car ... really."

The Caramel Apple Pop Blizzard is green, which is an unusual color for ice cream, except for pistachio and chocolate-chip mint. But with this "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" craze, color has gone wacky, so who caresfi

Sour candy is huge with kids today, and this Blizzard is plenty tart. The caramel is sweet, and the candy bits add texture. With all those apple flakes and candy bits, there really is a fruity flavor and snap. This Blizzard will be a big hit with the back-seat crowd.

My suggestion: Before you pass it back, stick your tongue in there and take a big slurp. Hey, you paid for it, so why notfi You'll be sorry you ordered your boring old vanilla cone. Kids order the darndest things.

The Next Tween Blizzard, forecast for December and January: Yule Flip Peppermint Chip. Happy holidays!

This story appeared in The Daily Herald on page B1.

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