Hot news: Just found out that apparently, tomorrow, February 6th, is International Ice Cream for Breakfast Day. That's all the excuse I needed to try out a recipe from my new Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes cookbook. Adam Reid, the kitchen equipment specialist from the PBS show, America's Test Kitchen, gives us this "guide to milkshake modernization." Reid does for milkshakes what David Lebovitz did for ice cream in my favorite ice cream book, The Perfect Scoop, providing easy-to-replicate but imaginative flavors that invigorate the taste buds.
Reid covers all the basics and offers many variations on classics like chocolate and coffee combinations for those who want their old favorites, but he takes you much further with combinations like vanilla, honey and sesame; vanilla rum and salted cashew; Mexican chocolate with chipotle and almond; chocolate Guiness, Vietnamese coffee, strawberry basil; blackberry lavender; avocado coconut and lime; peach with brandy and nutmeg; minted cucumber lemon... I could go on and on.
Since tomorrow is ice cream for breakfast day, I wanted to try a shake that combined breakfast flavors in a shake. I narrowed down the contenders to two: toasted oatmeal and brown sugar or maple bacon. I know, bacon is the it girl of food fashion these days, but something about the toasted oats and brown sugar sounded so comforting. So I'll try the bacon shake next time.
I love toasting old-fashioned steel cut oats before cooking them. It really brings out the flavor of the oats and makes them much nuttier. Reid's recipe used a pinch of ground cloves to flavor the shake. I'm not a huge fan of cloves, so I switched to cinnamon. Use what you like. Nutmeg might be good too. And with all the cedar flowing through the air around here, I wasn't looking to add to my nasal challenges anymore, so I made a mostly (except for a teeny bit of butter) nondairy version subbing vanilla almond milk for the milk, and nondairy ice cream (I used vanilla Nada Moo), for the traditional vanilla ice cream.
Results: It was creamy and luscious and by far the best oatmeal anything I've ever tasted. I only made a half recipe version for myself and really regretted that after I finished the photos and had a taste. Wow. I wasn't prepared for it to be that good. It was fun and unexpected and most-of-all, addictive.
This might be fun to serve at a brunch in little shot glasses before the meal. Reid suggests a variation using Scotch and some honey to further elevate the heavenliness of this concoction. That could be even more fun for a special brunch.
Toasted Oatmeal and Brown Sugar Shake
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup thick cut or steel cut oats
2/3 cup + 1/2 cup cold milk (or soy, rice, or almond milk)
2/3 cup water
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
pinch of cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg
8 small scoops vanilla ice cream, softened slightly
First, make your oats...
Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add the oats, stirring continuously, and cook for 5-6 minutes until golden brown. You'll smell their nutty fragrance.
Standing back a bit (it will sputter!), pour in 2/3 cup milk, 2/3 cup water and salt. Bring up to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low and simmer until oats have softened and liquid has been absorbed, about 15-18 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Let cool until room temperature. (I speeded this up by scraping the oats into a small bowl and putting it in the fridge for a few minutes.)
(If you wanted to make this ahead, you could have the oats cooked and in the fridge until you're ready to mix the shake together and serve.)
In a blender, combine 1/2 cup of the cooked oats, 1/2 cup of milk, brown sugar, and your spice of choice, and blend for at least a minute, until oats are completely smooth. Add in the ice cream and pulse to break it up initially. Then blend full speed until well combined.
Pour into cold glasses and serve immediately.
Makes about 3 1/2 cups.
Adapted from Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes by Adam Reid.