Sometimes on a hot summer night, the only thing that sounds good is a chocolate milkshake eaten with a long-handled spoon, in front of the air-conditioner. When it’s just too hot for grilled steaks or fresh garden tomatoes, zucchinis, watermelons, ribs or fresh basil pesto, the staples of summer cuisine, you can take refuge in the exquisite cold creaminess of ice cream.
Although there are many ways to avail yourself of a commercially made chocolate milkshake, Shubert’s comes to mind as top of the charts, you may want to take charge of the process and create your own at home. It will satisfy your D.I.Y. instincts and save you a drive around town in the heat.
Know that there are two types of chocolate milk shakes. One made with chocolate ice cream, and a vastly superior one made with vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup and milk. The two flavors are miles apart according to Emma Laperruque in her July 6 Food 52 article, For the Best Chocolate Milkshake, Make a Black and White: “the flavor is totally different than when you start with chocolate ice cream, and, in my opinion, way better. Vanilla ice cream brings balance and contrast, like cream cheese swirled into chocolate cake, or chocolate cookies sandwiched with buttercream. It also makes room for retro additions, like malt powder, which turns anything it touches into gold.”
Making your own chocolate syrup – more D.I.Y. satisfaction – gives you more control over sweetness “and it’s the sort of staple that makes your fridge feel special. Keep it around for weeks. Stir into hot coffee. Drizzle on gelato. Set out with strawberries.” Laperruque makes her syrup with ultra-strong coffee instead of water, less sugar than you’d imagine, and a healthy pinch of salt. “The result takes itself very seriously, but swoons at the sight of sweet, milky vanilla ice cream. If you want to D.I.Y. here, too, look for the recipe below. For bonus points, freeze your glasses before serving until they’re almost too cold to hold.
Black & White Milkshake by Emma Laperruque
Makes: 1 1/4 cup syrup + 2 milkshakes
For the chocolate syrup
1 cup coffee, any temperature
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine the coffee and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar, then whisk in the cocoa powder and salt. Whisk until completely smooth and thick enough to completely coat your spoon—this should only take a few minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Chill completely before using for the milkshakes.
For the black & white milkshakes
1/4 cup whole milk, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup, plus more for drizzling
1-pint vanilla ice cream
1 pinch kosher salt
Before you’re ready to get started, stick the glasses you’ll be using in the freezer. (Or don’t, but it’ll help keep that shake extra frosty.)
Add the milk, chocolate syrup, ice cream, 2 Tablespoons of malted milk powder if you like, and salt to a blender. Blend just until smooth.
Drizzle a bit of chocolate syrup in the bottom of the glasses. Add some milkshake. Drizzle some chocolate syrup. Add some milkshake. Repeat this until you’ve used all the milkshake.
Although Laperruque recommends drinking with a straw, I prefer to go slow with a long-handled ice tea spoon. The pleasure of this magnificent milkshake lasts longer, and it gives you a chance to realize you’re really quite full and well-chilled.
Vanilla Ice Cream
Makes: about 6 cups ice cream – Prep time: 6 hours 15 min
For the ice cream
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- cups very cold heavy cream
Make the ice cream. Add the sweetened condensed milk and salt to a large bowl. In another bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. (You could also do this in a standing mixer.) Add a blob of whipped cream to the sweetened condensed milk and stir to loosen it up. Add some more whipped cream and gently fold to incorporate. Keep doing this until you’ve added all the whipped cream—erring on the side of under- versus over-mixing, which would lead to dense ice cream. Pour into a loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap, and stick in the freezer. Freeze for at least 6 hours or up to several weeks.
The idea of no-churn, no custard homemade ice cream, like the recipe above, is intriguing. I didn’t have the ingredients on-hand to try the vanilla recipe, but I tried this no-churn lemon ice cream recipe by Dori Sanders, 84 year-old peach farmer, novelist and cookbook author instead.
The idea came to Sanders as she was trying to re-create a recipe from her childhood and couldn’t make it work in an electric churn. “As you stir together the handful of ingredients, the acid in lemon juice magically thickens the cream, without whipping or churning. Sugar both balances out the pucker of the lemon and keeps the ice cream from freezing too hard.”
What all this means is Sanders’ recipe might be both the easiest no-churn ice cream yet, and also one of the smoothest and creamiest. “On a hot, hot, hot, hot summer day, it is the most refreshing ice cream,” Sanders says. “Anyone can make it.”
Dori Sanders No-Churn Fresh Lemon Ice Cream
Makes: 3 cups Prep time: 10 minutes, Cool time: 3 plus hours
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
(use regular Eureka lemons rather than Meyer for acidity)
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
Whisk together the lemon zest and juice, the sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
Whisk together the cream and milk in a measuring cup and gradually pour into the lemon and sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk until the sugar dissolves—you won’t hear or feel it scraping against the bottom of the bowl anymore, about 2 minutes.
Pour the mixture into an 8-inch square metal baking pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and freeze until the mixture is solid around the edges and mushy in the middle, 2 to 3 hours. Stir well, cover again with foil, and continue to freeze until completely firm, about an hour more. Once firm, scoop into chilled bowls to serve. It is everything Dori promised: smooth, creamy and effortless with a refreshing lemon zing from the zest and juice. I dare you to try it!
While I was imagining Dori Sander’s Lemon ice cream at my desk, along comes Sue Ward with this great little recipe for frozen Summer Lime Pie:
Summer Lime Pie by Sue Ward
2 cups lime sherbet
2 cups lemon sorbet
2 cups Vanilla yogurt – plain, not Greek
1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
Lime for garnish
Store-bought graham cracker pie crust
1 pint whipping cream
Let sherbet and sorbet sit out a bit to slightly soften. Combine sherbet, sorbet, yogurt, lime juice and lime zest in a bowl, mix well, then spread in the pre-made graham cracker crust.
Put the pie back in the freezer until it’s firm again. When ready to serve, top with freshly whipped whip cream and thin slices of lime or curls of lime zest. Simple, refreshing, yummy.
Stay cool, my friends and move the gin to the refrigerator – the hottest is yet to come.