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"It's so beautifully arranged on the the plate – you know someone's fingers have been all over it." – Julia Child

Who can resist a frosty glass filled with a thick, creamy, drinkable dessert? The milkshake, whether it be paired alongside a diner burger or used as an alternative for French fries to dip into (if you haven’t tried this technique, do so immediately), is iconic, nostalgic, and most of all delicious. A basic vanilla or chocolate version is perfect in its simplicity but additions can add some pizzazz and, well, shake things up a bit!

Colorful and patterned straws, fun-shaped vessels like curvy mason jars, and edible garnishes like our incredibly easy doughnuts are a few things you can use to take your frosty treat to picture-perfect heights.

Flavor additions are totally up to you and you can go anywhere from freeze-dried strawberries and made-from-scratch fruit syrups to pantry basics like sprinkles and crushed cookies. As far as the actual shake goes, we prefer an ice cream base. The fat content, flavor, and churning method will be different from one brand to another, so the addition of milk to thin it out just enough to make drinkable through a straw will vary.

Here are some basics we follow to make a standard shake:

– Place a glass in the freezer to chill for about 15 minutes.

– Start with about 2 cups of slightly softened ice cream of your choice and 1/3 cup whole milk, then pulse in a blender to combine. If you’re adding runny ingredients like chocolate syrup, include them here as they will affect the drink’s thickness. Add more ice cream or milk a small amount at a time, pulsing between additions, until the desired texture is achieved. You can incorporate solids like cookie bits, chocolate pieces, or brownie chunks now, pulsing really briefly to just distribute them. You can stir them in, too.

– Pour your shake into the prepared glass and drink immediately.

– To make a multi-color, multi-layered drink all you need is a little patience and a clear, flat space in your freezer. If there’s room for a baking sheet or a cutting board in there, great!  You can cut down on prep time by purchasing a few different flavors of fruit sorbets, softening them a bit, and pulsing them with a splash of water until pourable. You can also purée frozen fruits of your choice in blender to make your own smoothie bases – think cherries, raspberries, mangos, and pineapple bits. Feel free to add fruit juices and even banana slices or yogurt (if you don’t mind a creamier look) to your blends.

– Start with ½ cup of one flavor and 2 tablespoons water, blend, and pour into a glass. You might need to decrease or increase the amount depending on the volume capacity of your glass and how thick you want your layers to be. Place the glass in the freezer and allow this first layer to set; the goal is to have it be firm enough that it won’t get all mixed up with the next flavor when you pour it in. Repeat the blending, pouring, and freezing steps until your glass is full and ready to drink.

– Don’t make this too far in advance because liquids expand when they freeze and the last thing you want is for your glass to shatter!

– To decorate the interiors and rims of your glasses: For the swirly looking pink splatter, you’ll need a chilled glass and a few tablespoons of homemade fruit syrup, chocolate or caramel syrups, or a diluted berry jam. Tilt the chilled glass, add a spoonful of the syrup, and swirl to coat the interior. Return the glass to the freezer for 15 minutes to set your design.

– For sprinkles in the interior or the rim of a glass, use a clean pastry brush (don’t use the same one you use for basting your BBQ ribs on the grill!) to coat the glass with corn syrup or very light honey. If you’re feeling extra crafty, use a thinner, flat-headed paint brush to create a pattern like a swirl inside the glass. Add sprinkles of your choice, cover the glass, and shake to distribute. Pour out the excess sprinkles and save for topping the shake or for another use. Chill the glass in the freezer for 15 minutes to set before pouring in your shake.

Note: Depending on the color and type of the sprinkles, the design is likely to streak and blend into the drink as it sets.

Happy sipping!

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