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COOKING

Milk and No Cookies

Made with vividly flavored sorbets and unexpected herbs and spices, these milkshakes aren't kid stuff.


(Photos by Jim Scherer) Photos by Jim Scherer
By Adam Ried
September 9, 2007
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With the kids back in school and a minute of your own to relax, how about a suave segue from summer into fall? Milk and cookies will suffice for hungry kids, but before they even step off the school bus, treat yourself to a final bit of summer - a thick, rich, creamy, and surprisingly adult milkshake.

Intensity and imagination give these shakes their adult edge. The intensity comes from a simple substitution: Replace half of the ice cream with sorbet. Ice cream is as much about the dairy as it is about the flavor, while sorbet is flavor all the way. Chocolate sorbet, for instance, delivers a concentrated cocoa punch, and strawberry sorbet comes across with a bright berry flavor that does a milkshake good.

Imagination comes with a reach for the spice rack. A good mocha milkshake already has plenty to recommend it, but tease the tongue with a little cardamom, and the mocha becomes extraordinary, even a little mysterious. Likewise, a chocolate milkshake enters a whole new dimension with the addition of the classic Mexican flavor trio of cinnamon, almond, and chili. These shakes sure aren't child's play.

STRAWBERRY BASIL MILKSHAKE
SERVES 2 (ABOUT 3 CUPS)

The wine in the syrup adds a subtle note of acidity, but you can substitute water for the alcohol.

6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup basil leaves, loosely packed
4 medium scoops strawberry ice cream (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 medium scoops strawberry sorbet (about 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup cold milk
Sliced fresh strawberries, for garnish (optional)

BASIL SYRUP

In a saucepan over medium heat, mix the sugar and wine. Swirl to moisten and then dissolve the sugar. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 3 minutes. Chop the basil. Remove the wine mixture from the heat, add the basil, and stir to immerse it in the liquid. Cover and steep for 30 minutes. Using a sieve, strain the syrup into a bowl, pressing the basil to release the liquid. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 5 days.

MILKSHAKE

In a blender, place the ice cream, sorbet, milk, and 1/4 cup chilled basil syrup, and pulse several times to break up ice cream and sorbet. Puree the mixture until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide between 2 chilled glasses and garnish with strawberry slices, if desired.

MEXICAN CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKE
SERVES 2 (ABOUT 3 CUPS)

4 medium scoops vanilla ice cream (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 medium scoops chocolate sorbet (about 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup cold milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle powder or cayenne, or to taste Red Hots candies, for garnish (optional)

In a blender, place the ice cream, sorbet, milk, cinnamon, almond extract, and chipotle or cayenne, and pulse several times to break up ice cream and sorbet. Puree the mixture until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide between 2 chilled glasses and garnish with a couple of Red Hots candies, if desired.

GINGER CHAI MILKSHAKE
SERVES 2 (ABOUT 3 CUPS)

Vermont-made Blue Moon pear-ginger sorbet is available at Whole Foods.

6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup water
4 1/2- inch-thick slices of fresh ginger, smashed with the broad side of a chef's knife
5 4-inch strips lemon zest
4 medium scoops vanilla ice cream (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 medium scoops pear-ginger sorbet (about 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup chai concentrate Small slivers or chunks of crystallized ginger, for garnish (optional)

GINGER SYRUP

In a saucepan over medium heat, mix the sugar and water. Swirl to fully moisten and then dissolve the sugar. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the ginger and lemon zest, and stir to immerse them in the liquid. Cover the pan and let steep for 30 minutes. Using a sieve, strain the syrup into a small bowl, pressing the ginger and zest to release all of the liquid. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 5 days.

MILKSHAKE

In a blender, place the ice cream, sorbet, chai concentrate, and 1/4 cup chilled ginger syrup, and pulse several times to break up the ice cream and sorbet. Puree the mixture until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide between 2 chilled glasses and garnish with crystallized ginger, if desired.

MOCHA CARDAMOM MILKSHAKE
SERVES 2 (ABOUT 3 CUPS)

Look for instant espresso powder at Italian specialty stores.

4 medium scoops coffee ice cream (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 medium scoops chocolate sorbet (about 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup cold milk
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Chocolate-covered coffee beans, for garnish (optional)

In a blender, place the ice cream, sorbet, milk, espresso powder, and cardamom, and pulse several times, stopping as necessary, to break up ice cream and sorbet. Puree the mixture until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide between 2 chilled glasses and garnish with a couple of chocolate-covered coffee beans, if desired.

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