Vanilla Milkshake

Vanilla Milkshake

When we were young and foolish, we scorned anything vanilla, being drawn instead to the sexier, more alluring chocolate. Happily, we have come to appreciate that there is nothing “plain” about this aromatic spice—particularly when it is the primary flavor in a thick, smooth frappé.–Andy Husbands, Chris Hart, and Andrea Pyenson

LC A Milkshake, Er, Frappé Just Like Mom Used To Make Note

A word on the original title of this recipe, which was actually “frappé” and not “milkshake.” We changed it because, quite frankly, frappé can create a little confusion, seeing as depending on whom one asks, the term means any of varying things, from the Greek iced coffee drink that was a precursor to the Frappucino to a partly frozen fruit slushy of sorts. That said, the sorta frappé we’re pretty certain the authors intended is, simply enough, how New Englanders refer to a milkshake.

Now that we’ve established that, it’s story time. When one of us LCers was really quite little—uh, save for her bulging belly—her mom would, on rare occasion, make her a vanilla milkshake. This was no ordinary milkshake. It wasn’t as cloyingly sweet or as chemically tasting as the ones our little LCer ordered from fast-food joints and refused to finish. Nor was it as straw-stoppingly thick as the milkshakes she slurped at diner counters. It was, quite simply, cold and creamy and slushy and vanilla-y and satiating in the most intensely aromatic way. Her mom never measured the ingredients, yet the precise proportions were always perfect—except when our LCer, later in life, tried to create it on her own. Decades passed. Sigh. And then she tried this recipe. Call it a frappé, call it a milkshake, call it what you will. She calls it perfect.

Vanilla Milkshake

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Makes 1 ginormous or 2 modest milkshakes
4.5/5 - 2 reviews
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Pour the milk into a blender. Using just the tip of a sharp paring knife, slice the vanilla bean open lengthwise. Scrape the seeds into the milk by running the back, or dull side, of the knife along the length of the vanilla bean. Add the vanilla extract, followed by the ice cream. Press the blender’s purée setting and blend for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until the mixture is thick and smooth. (If using a mixer, start on the slowest speed and accelerate after a few seconds.)

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    Make it a Wicked Milkshake

    • Add 1 ounce—or, ahem, an even more generous shot—your preferred single-malt Scotch along with the vanilla extract. [Editor’s Note: We think bourbon may also do the trick quite nicely.]

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    Yes, a frappé—or a milkshake, as we call it here in flyover country—is never a bad thing. And I have to agree with the authors, there’s nothing plain about a vanilla frappé, so please, please, please use the very best vanilla ice cream and vanilla extract here so you, too, can experience the moody, floral headiness. This milkshake is delicious in its simplicity and complexity all at the same time. I do like the mention in the directions about starting on the slowest speed and accelerating, which is handy for blenders, too. I think the resulting frappé is thicker and creamier when made that way.

    This was a fabulously intense vanilla frappe. I just loved the taste of this drink. It’s a grown up milkshake I mean, who doesn’t love milkshakes. I actually made this twice—once with the ingredients specified and once it got a little crazy up here and we added a hint of cherry jam. It’s an absolutely wonderful drink. Works really well in a magic bullet if you don’t have a blender. (I have both so I tried it both ways.)

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    1. I’ve always loved vanilla milkshakes. Before I heard that raw eggs were to be avoided, I used to add a raw egg to the mixture to help keep it thick and (I thought) make it healthier. I’d mix the egg with the milk and vanilla first then add the ice cream. I didn’t know about vanilla bean at the time. That would have just put it over the top! An aside…I love those little girl hands with the half peeled, half worn off nail polish! No apologies, no obsessing over how they look in a photo…it was just fun to put it on and day dream about being a hand model while wishing the nails were naturally long and lovely…But then something more fun comes along and it’s off to live life and forget about the hands. As it should be!

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