Milkshakes are a refreshing way to beat the heat

Lemonade and iced tea may quench a summer thirst. But only one drink can chill the July and August s

Lemonade and iced tea may quench a summer thirst. But only one drink can chill the July and August sun and freeze the heat index with vanilla, blueberry and peach frost.

Milkshakes give people the shivers at the beach, amusement park and baseball games. People appreciate them for cool, thick textures and varieties of color and flavor.

They’re easy to buy this time of year, milk movers and shakers say, and are always easy to make on the kitchen counter.

Dan Roerig, who has owned Dan’s Miniature Golf Course in Round Lake since 1980, considers milkshakes desserts people drink. He said they refresh on a hot day, rather than drown a deep thirst, with berry, cocoa bean and citrus accents.

The creamy treat has been around since the late 1880s, historians say, when milkshakes were known as alcoholic whiskey drinks. By 1900, booze was out of the mix; chocolate, vanilla and strawberry were in. Years later, they became stars of the menu at malt and ice cream shops.

The Neapolitan styles remain popular. “I would say the chocolate shake is the most common — it’s one of the most common flavors,” Roerig said. “But we do make a mean strawberry shake.”

Ice cream sellers at Stewart’s Shops throughout the Capital Region also know how to shake cool. Spokesman Tom Mailey said chocolate and vanilla are the chain’s most popular ice cream flavors. “And chocolate and vanilla translate to the milkshakes,” he said.

The pursuit of pure cold is easy to figure out.

“It’s a combination of milk, ice cream and your flavor,” Mailey said. “It’s cold and tasty and hard to beat when it’s hot out. Other than a brain freeze, it doesn’t get into the way of the rest of your afternoon.”

Beth Meyer, a spokeswoman for the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council in Syracuse, says milkshakes are popular at home because they can be made quickly.

“You just add milk and your favorite flavor of ice cream to a blender,” she said. “No complicated recipe or measurements are necessary. Want it a little thicker? Add more ice cream. A little thinner? Add a little more milk.”

Meyer suggests using chocolate or strawberry milk for extra flavor. “Or add extra body by throwing a couple of “milk cubes” — milk frozen in ice cube trays — into the blender,” she said.

Roerig said the portable nature of milkshakes adds popularity points. People driving on summer trips can’t buy a sundae or ice cream cone and drive off. But a large paper cup full of whirled and twirled milk and cream fits into a beverage holder, and stays cold across the miles.

Creativity also counts when people decide to shake up their diets.

“You can add just about anything to shakes,” Meyer said. “I’ve actually seen ones where white beans were blended with yogurt, milk and some fruits to add extra protein to the drink. I’ll sometimes mix up leftover cold coffee from the morning with chocolate milk and a scoop of chocolate ice cream for a quick pick-me-up.”

Blending the flavors

Ice cream and milk are naturals when people make their cold cases. Blenders are equally important.

“The cheap ones are OK, but if you want a smooth ‘smoothie,’ one of the higher-power units does the trick,” said Christopher Tanner, a technical specialist in the culinary arts department of Schenectady County Community College and a certified executive chef. “I particularly like the KitchenAid models, as they have a screw-on cap which won’t accidentally explode off the top if you start the blender on too high of a speed.”

Tanner said shakes don’t have to be loaded with calories.

“If people are worried about the calories or fat, nonfat or 1 percent milk are acceptable alternatives,” he said. “Whole milk adds much more body to a milkshake, though.”

When Tanner fills his blender, he uses a two-to-one ratio of ice cream to milk and then adds other flavorings.

“As we get into the summer, fresh fruit is great to add to any milkshake, especially berries like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and my personal favorite, blackberries, which reminds me of picking them when I was a kid up in Schroon Lake at my grandfather’s house,” he said. “I generally will put in half a cup of fruit into a shake. I also like adding liquors like Kahlua, Godiva chocolate liquor, Starbucks coffee liquor. Another great addition is chai tea concentrate or powder.”

Helpful hints

Meyer has other ideas:

— Use chocolate or strawberry flavored milk. Both have all the calcium and protein of unflavored milk.

— Start with cold ingredients, such as chilled milk and fruit.

— Pre-chill glasses by placing them in the freezer.

— If using ice cream or frozen yogurt, first blend the milk with all the fruit, syrups, sauces, and other flavorings and part of the ice cream. Add the remaining ice cream and blend until smooth.

— For extra fizz, slowly add carbonated water after pouring the shakes into the glasses.

— Add a special touch to drinks with fresh fruit garnishes. Use berries, pineapple chunks, or melon wedges. Lime, lemon, or orange peels are also suggested.

— Pour leftover smoothies into plastic Popsicle molds or paper cups with Popsicle sticks, and freeze for a totally different frozen taste sensation.

The following recipes are courtesy the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council. The list includes a bonus — a milkshake “relative” known as a “fizz.”

Peach Float

1 package (10 ounces) frozen sliced peaches, thawed and undrained

1 cup (1/2 pint) peach ice cream, softened

2 cups milk

1⁄8 teaspoon almond extract

4 scoops peach ice cream

Place peaches and liquid in blender container, cover. Purée until smooth. Blend in 1 cup ice cream. Gradually stir in milk and almond extract. Pour into four 10-ounce glasses. Top each with a scoop of ice cream. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Spirited Strawberry Shake

1⁄2 cup mashed ripe strawberries

1 cup (1/2 pint) strawberry ice cream, softened

1 cup milk

1⁄2 teaspoon almond extract

Sweeten strawberries to taste. Place strawberries and ice cream in blender container, cover. Blend until smooth. Gradually add milk and extract, blend until smooth and frothy. Serve immediately in tall chilled glasses.

Serves 2.

Lip-Lickin’ Limeade Milkshake

1 cup milk

1 cup lime sherbet

1⁄4 cup frozen limeade concentrate, not thawed or diluted

Lime slices (optional for garnish)

Place milk, sherbet and limeade concentrate in blender container. Cover and blend until smooth.

Pour into frosted glass; garnish with lime slices, if desired.

Serves 1.

Summer Sunshine Milkshake

2 cups milk

3 scoops lemon sorbet

6 scoops French vanilla ice cream

1 cup lemon yogurt

4 tablespoons lemon gelatin mix

Whipped cream, for garnish

Lemon peel, for garnish

Place milk, sorbet, ice cream, yogurt and gelatin mix in a blender. Blend until milk is smooth and creamy. Pour into a glass. If desired, decorate with whipped cream and a lemon wedge. Sprinkle with grated lemon peel.

Serves 5.

Coffee Milkshake

1 cup vanilla frozen yogurt or vanilla ice cream, divided

1⁄2 cup milk

1 tablespoon chocolate syrup

11⁄2 teaspoons instant coffee granules

Place 1⁄2 cup scoop frozen yogurt or ice cream, milk, chocolate syrup and coffee granules in work bowl of food processor or blender. Process 30 seconds or until smooth. Pour into a tall glass; top with remaining 1⁄2 cup scoop of frozen yogurt.

Serves 1.

Quick Chocolate Fizz

2 cups milk

1⁄2 cup chocolate syrup

1⁄8 teaspoon orange extract

4 scoops vanilla ice cream

2 cups chilled sparkling water

Combine milk, syrup, and extract — divide evenly among four 12-ounce glasses. Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream in each of the four glasses. Fill glass with sparkling water. Stir to blend and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Categories: Life and Arts

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