This post is PART TWO. If you haven’t read PART ONE: “Smoothies That DON’T Suck” yet, read that first.
(For clarification, I’m going to refer to what I call “dessert smoothies” as “milkshakes,” even though they aren’t true milkshakes, since they’re made with fruit instead of ice cream).
Milkshake-smoothies need basically the same four components:
- Main fruits/flavors
- Bonus Flavor (the component formerly known as “Tang”)
There’s one difference – instead of “3. Tang”, you need “3. Bonus Flavor”. The bonus flavor could be something like peanut butter in a chocolate-banana smoothie, or caramel in a mocha frappe. When in doubt, use vanilla as the bonus flavor, because that will instantly make it taste dessert-y.
Some key differences for milkshakes vs. smoothies are the ratios and the flavors:
Milkshakes should be even thicker and colder than smoothies. This means using almost all frozen ingredients (the ratio should be more like ¾ frozen to ¼ non-frozen), or using ALL solids and just using ice as the “liquid” (for example, using half of the blender of non-frozen bananas and the other half ice, plus bonus flavors/components like cocoa, sweetener, vanilla, etc). If you use non-frozen fruits AND ice AND milk, that would be too much liquid and result in the milkshake being too watery and not cold enough. Always add a little less liquid to begin with until you get the hang of the proper ratios by sight. You can always add more milk if it’s too frozen to blend.
They need to taste like an ice cream dessert. The way to do this is by adding something creamy as your liquid like cream/milk, coconut milk, almond milk, or even ice cream. If you don’t want to add milk you can make it creamy by having a base of frozen bananas. Make sure the bananas are as ripe as possible when you freeze them (peeled)! The riper, the sweeter. Also, you should almost always add vanilla. The creaminess of the frozen banana base and the milk mixed with the vanilla extract are the key difference that takes it from smoothie to milkshake. Milkshakes should be even sweeter than smoothies, so you will definitely always need to add some kind of sugar. Never add juice as the liquid if it’s a milkshake-smoothie; that only goes well in fruity smoothies.
For both of these, you really need to use frozen bananas, unless you’re only adding a little bit of banana and adding ice cream, or milk with LOTS of ice. If you want your smoothie to have that thick milkshake consistency, using frozen fruit is the way to do that. Using ice to give you that frozen texture won’t work as well because ice gives you more of that grainy, slushy-type texture instead of the creaminess that blended frozen fruit gives.
I didn’t include exact amounts of ingredients, because it’s highly dependent on whether you use frozen or fresh fruit, etc. What matters most is the RATIOS. If you have all four components (1. Main base flavor(s), 2. Sweetness, 3. Bonus Flavor(s), and 4. Coldness) and you have the proper ratios of frozen vs. non-frozen and liquids vs. solids (3/4 : 1/4 for both) then you can make any kind of milkshake with the right consistency. It’s even more important here to get your ratios right, because it’s tricky to get your milkshake to have that thick and frozen texture that you want. It will likely require trial and error, but it’s worth it.
If you have any tips for making a great milkshake, please share in the comments below so we can all improve our skills!