Heavenly shakes

When the mercury rises, some find a milk shake even more tempting than ice cream.

milkshake 311 (photo credit: Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/MCT)
milkshake 311
(photo credit: Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/MCT)
The other day there was a heat wave and so my husband pampered me by making not one, but two milk shakes. One was double- chocolate, made with chocolate soy milk and chocolate ice cream, and the other was fresh melon with light vanilla ice cream.
Actually, not all milk shakes contain ice cream.
According to Jean Anderson and Elaine Hanna, authors of The New Doubleday Cookbook, a milk shake is a blend of milk whipped with flavoring ingredients, such as mashed bananas, pureed berries or chocolate syrup. Others call such a beverage a smoothie. If you blend in ice cream, it’s called a frosted milk shake, wrote Anderson and Hanna. In some areas, a milk shake made with ice cream is called a frappe.
Whatever you call them, few drinks are more enticing on a steamy summer day. When the mercury rises, some find a milk shake even more tempting than ice cream. The sweet, thick, rich drink helps to quench thirst and to replenish the much-needed liquids craved by the body in hot weather.
Turning ice cream into a drink has another practical advantage – it makes the ice cream go further, so that you end up with a larger, more filling dessert from a scoop or two of ice cream.
Although bananas and strawberries are classic choices, especially when preparing fruit-flavored milk shakes for children, we like shakes made with all sorts of fruit. Making a milk shake is a good way to use overripe peaches and pears, which contribute a sweet fruity flavor, while their less-than-perfect texture is not noticeable. We’ve made tasty shakes using persimmons from our tree, figs, dates and all sorts of melons.
Cooked fruit is good too, like apple compote, applesauce or poached apricots. For parve shakes, soy milk or rice milk are fine.
“The electric blender whips up shakes best,” wrote Anderson and Hanna, “but a rotary or portable electric mixer works fairly well.” Some use a hand blender but if you do, be careful not to let the drink splatter. They recommend evaporated milk for a richer flavor, and fruit preserves for sweetening fruit shakes. As garnishes, they prefer grated or shaved chocolate for chocolate shakes, and a dusting of ground cinnamon, cinnamonsugar, nutmeg or instant cocoa mix for other flavors.
At many ice cream parlors you can have your milk shake topped with whipped cream.
At a Thai restaurant I had a delicious coconut smoothie made with fresh coconut blended with cream, milk, sugar syrup and crushed ice. The drink was as luscious, thick and cold as a milk shake made with ice cream.
I sampled an equally rich durian milk shake at a Vietnamese café in Little Saigon in Orange County, California. Known as the “stinky fruit,” custard-textured durian would not be everyone’s top pick for a milk shake flavor, but I loved it. The owner told me that a shake combining durian and avocado is especially popular among his customers. He also made passion fruit shakes and papaya smoothies garnished with tiny litchi jellies. At other Vietnamese restaurants I’ve had both avocado shakes and coffee shakes enriched with sweetened condensed milk and blended with crushed ice.
Whenever almond shake is featured at my favorite Indian eatery, I order it. Indian cooks make this refreshing, thick beverage from ground blanched almonds, milk and sugar, and flavor it with cardamom seeds and saffron. I also like their iced mango shake, which is typically made from mango with milk, yogurt, sugar and crushed ice. The yogurt gives it a special flavor that harmonizes with the mango. Some make this Indian shake with ice cream as well.
These kinds of milk shakes are much loved in lands with hot climates. In the Philippines, wrote Karen Hulene Bartell in Fine Filipino Food, “fruit frappes and shakes made of green and ripe mango, papaya, melon and avocado are refreshing on the hottest of days.” Her melon frappe is made of melon cubes blended with honey, milk and crushed ice, and then garnished with melon balls threaded on wooden skewers.
To make a Caribbean shake called a batido, Norman Van Aken, author of The Great Exotic Fruit Book, combines coconut milk with papaya, mango, pineapple, bananas, lime juice, sugar, light rum and ice cubes in a blender. Served in tall, chilled glasses, the rich beverage is garnished with slices of the fruit.
Such spirited beverages are popular party drinks.
Matthew Klein, author of The Joy of Ice Cream, makes an adult milk shake called milk punch by blending milk with vanilla ice cream and brandy and flavoring the beverage with nutmeg. His banana daiquiri is a blend of bananas, rum and ice cream with a little lime juice, decorated with banana and lime slices. Strawberry daiquiri is made the same way, with strawberries instead of bananas, and strawberry ice cream. I find Klein’s pina colada, which is blended from crushed pineapple, pineapple juice, light rum, coconut cream and vanilla ice cream, even more appealing than the classic sweet rum cocktail of the same name.
For this adult milk shake, creamy, brandied iced coffee is combined with scoops of chocolate ice cream. As you drink it with a straw, the ice cream gradually blends into the rich, flavorful coffee.
Instead of adding the ice cream in scoops to each glass, you can mix it into the drink in a blender.
2 Tbsp. sugar 1 cup hot strong brewed black coffee (see Note below) 50 gr. to 60 gr. semisweet chocolate, chopped 3 Tbsp. room-temperature water 2 Tbsp. hot water 2 cups cold milk 1⁄4 cup whipping cream 6 Tbsp. brandy 4 scoops of chocolate ice cream about 2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (optional) Dissolve sugar in hot coffee and cool to room temperature.
Combine chocolate and room-temperature water in a small bowl set over hot, not simmering, water over low heat. Leave until chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Stir until smooth.
Remove from pan of water and whisk in 2 tablespoons hot water. Cool to body temperature.
Blend chocolate mixture and coffee in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add milk, cream and brandy and blend for 30 seconds.
To serve, put a scoop of chocolate ice cream into each of 4 glasses. Pour brandied coffee mixture over them. Sprinkle with cocoa, if desired. Serve immediately, with straws.
Makes 4 servings.
Note: If you don’t have brewed coffee, mix 1 cup hot water with 2 teaspoons instant coffee.
Use mangoes, milk and vanilla yogurt to make a luscious milk shake or a lighter one. For the lighter shake, you freeze the diced mango first. The frozen mango pieces play the role of ice cubes, thickening the shake. You can do the same with diced melon, peaches, nectarines, strawberries or bananas.
2 cups diced mango 1 cup milk 1 cup vanilla yogurt 2 to 4 Tbsp. sugar or honey, or to taste 1 cup cold water (for the light shake) 4 scoops of soft vanilla ice cream (for the richer shake) To make a light mango milk shake, freeze the diced mango in a shallow container for 1 or 2 hours, or overnight if you prefer. In a blender combine the frozen mango pieces with the milk, yogurt, sugar and water. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately, in chilled glasses.
To make a richer shake, refrigerate the mango slices for about 15 minutes. Combine mango pieces in blender with milk, yogurt and sugar.
Add ice cream and whirl in machine until ice cream is blended in. Serve immediately, in chilled glasses.
Makes 4 servings.
Faye Levy is the author of the awardwinning book Chocolate Sensations.